Zoning Practice

Zoning Practice helps guide you as you write and administer smart development codes.

Zoning Practice coverIt's a fact. The zoning problem you're struggling with today has probably already been solved by somebody else. But how can you find out what's working without spending a lot of your valuable time?

Zoning Practice isn't just an interesting read. It's a toolbox chock full of information geared to inform and inspire, and to implement by planners for the purpose of smarter land-use practice.


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Current Issues

August 2015

Effective Zoning Methods for Implementing Plans

Ideally, planning is done to establish a local vision and course of action prior to undertaking zoning amendments aimed at implementing the plan. However, this linear model should not imply that planners disregard zoning during the planning process, or consider it an afterthought. Instead, planners should use the planning process as a way of setting the stage for zoning amendments. Too often, there is a disconnect between a community's vision (i.e., its plan), its rules for development (i.e., its zoning ordinance), and the development that is proposed and built. This article introduces several considerations that can help planners prepare zoning amendments to better bridge the gap between community vision and the realized built environment.

Author Douglas Hammel, AICP, is a senior associate with Houseal Lavigne Associates, where he manages projects that span the range of urban planning, design, land use, zoning, and community development. His recent work leverages his 15 years of professional experience in architecture, urban design, land use, and transportation planning to help communities bridge the gap between a vision and regulations that result in a desired end.

July 2015

Effective Zoning Counter Customer Service

While it is true that zoning regulations carry the weight of law, this does not negate the idea that residents, property owners, and business persons are looking for and deserve high-quality customer service. In most localities, zoning regulations are not self-explanatory. This requires staff to spend time with customers, which can increase the challenges (and stress) faced by departments whose staffs have been reduced. Creating great customer service at the zoning counter takes time, perseverance, and a good working relationship among staff.

This article sets out an approach to getting there through understanding what customer service means in your organization, defining new expectations, providing staff members the tools and training to meet those expectations, and sharing some dos and don'ts as a place to start.

Author Michael Blue, FAICP, is a principal with Teska Associates of Evanston, Illinois, a firm providing public- and private-sector clients with services related to planning, landscape architecture, site design, economic development, and community engagement. Author Graham Billingsley, FAICP, is a partner with the Orion Planning Group, a small national planning and design firm. Before founding Orion, he was land use director for Boulder County, Colorado, a position he held for 18 years.

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Zoning Practice Back Issues
American Planning Association
205 N Michigan Ave
Suite 1200
Chicago, IL 60601

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Share Your Expertise!

The editors of Zoning Practice welcome proposals from outside contributors, including those who may be writing for the publication for the first time. Contributors need not be professional planners, but they should have superior knowledge of a subject of substantial potential interest to Zoning Practice subscribers. We are especially eager to hear from potential authors with expertise on the following topics:

• Using development regulations to manage noise in mixed-use districts

• Visitability and housing for the aging

• Regulating short-term rentals

• Using zoning to promote walkable, mixed-use districts

• Zoning for healthy communities

• Hydraulic fracturing (aka "fracking") and land-use regulation

Make a proposal

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