8 Steps to an Effective Code Transition

Zoning Practice — January 2023

By Derrick Rhys Wilson


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A development code comprises regulations that manage a city, town, or county's land development practices by determining permissible development patterns and land uses within the local government's jurisdictional limits. However, as time passes, these regulations can become out of step with market conditions or community goals, producing unfavorable development outcomes.

Transitioning from an old code to a new code can be an overwhelming process. With endless possibilities of what could be, aggressive timelines, polarized political circumstances, tight budgets, and competing community interests, it is understandable why municipalities do not update their codes as frequently as they should. These factors can pose barriers to any code transition, making it a challenging, contentious, and lengthy, but ultimately rewarding, process.

This issue of Zoning Practice summarizes when and why it may be necessary for a city, town, or county to replace an existing development code. It provides an overview of the code-transition process, offering a brief instructional guide on how to organize and complete each step.


Page Count
Date Published
Jan. 1, 2023
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

About the Author

Derrick Rhys Wilson