Testing the Zoning Ordinance

Zoning Practice — November 2017

By Christopher Jennette, AICP


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Ordinance testing refers to putting regulations through their paces, ensuring that planners and zoning professionals fully understand the consequences and impacts of what they are proposing, drafting, discussing, and ultimately adopting. Testing can take a variety of forms, from presenting “proof of concept” draft districts that allow us to gauge the level of support for general approaches, to completing complex GIS analyses.

Assessing the impacts of zoning regulations before they are enacted is invaluable in ensuring that an updated or revised ordinance will suit the community it is designed to serve. The overarching benefit that testing can provide is the opportunity to evaluate any proposed regulations or approaches in action before they are formally adopted and enacted as part of a new zoning ordinance.

The testing process allows a variety of stakeholders — staff, elected officials, the development community, and the public at large — to get a much clearer understanding of the techniques being employed and the anticipated results of the technical zoning language that is being proposed.


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Date Published
Nov. 1, 2017
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American Planning Association

About the Author

Christopher Jennette, AICP
Chris Jennette, AICP, ASLA is a trained landscape architect, planner, and urban designer. As a Senior Associate with Camiros, Chris has worked with communities across the country on a broad range of project types--from downtown plans, neighborhood revitalization plans, and comprehensive plans, to commercial corridors and parks master plans. This breadth of experience in both planning and design informs his approach to tackling a community's complex regulatory challenges.