The Effect of Zoning Systems on Plan Implementation

Zoning Practice — August 2018

By Lane Kendig


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From its inception, code drafters intended zoning to be a principal tool for comprehensive plan implementation. While all zoning codes share some features, there are four conceptually distinct zoning systems: Euclidian, conditional, performance, and form based. Each system has at least one unique feature and represents a different approach to comprehensive plan implementation.

This issue of Zoning Practice describes the defining characteristics of each zoning system and evaluates how these characteristics affect plan implementation. Through this analysis, it summarizes the strengths and weaknesses of each system as they relate to common plan goals, such as land-use consistency, housing choice and affordability, and environmental protection.


Page Count
Date Published
Aug. 1, 2018
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American Planning Association

About the Author

Lane Kendig
Lane Kendig is the founder of Kendig Keast Collaborative a national planning firm. Prior to that he worked in Bucks County, PA and was county planning director in Lake County, IL. He has practiced planning for over 45 years across the United States working for large and small cities, counties, and developers. He is the author of “Performance Zoning” (APA 1980) and the Island Press books “Community Character” and “Planning with Community Character” 2010. He has authored three PAS reports for APA, as well as writing numerous articles. He is an expert in comprehensive planning, land use regulations, and environmental protection. Mr. Kendig has not only written plans and codes, but reviewed thousands of site plans and designed developments ranging from small residential to super regional shopping centers.