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

May 2015

Lessons for In-House Zoning Revisions

A comprehensive zoning revision can be a contentious, lengthy, and expensive process. While there are many consultants across the country who specialize in updating zoning codes, there are numerous benefits to staff-led revisions. Staff members have intimate knowledge of a community, including an understanding of which issues are driving the zoning reform, what changes will be palatable to the community, and what already works or does not work in the existing zoning ordinance. These are things that hired consultants would need to take time to learn and understand.

This article uses lessons learned from specific in-house revision processes to highlight a series of recommendations for communities considering staff-led comprehensive zoning amendments.

Author Somer Cross is a research attorney at the law firm of Miller, Miller and Canby, preparing land-use applications before various county and city boards and monitoring various jurisdictions' land-use legislation. Prior to that, she worked for Rockville, Maryland, as a staff planner drafting and facilitating their zoning ordinance revision.

April 2015

Leveraging Affordable Housing Through Upzoning

Cities and suburbs are finding new ways to enlist private developers as partners in addressing local affordability challenges. As communities relax height, density, and other zoning restrictions to meet rising demand for urban living, a growing number of localities are adopting policies that link "upzoning" with the inclusion of affordable housing.

This article profiles five localities that have adopted affordable housing incentives or requirements in upzoned areas and explores how market context, zoning context, and policy design may affect the success of inclusionary upzoning policies in areas of the country where inclusionary housing has not yet been implemented.

Author Robert Hickey is a senior research associate with the National Housing Conference and the Center for Housing Policy, where he focuses on inclusionary housing and other land-use and policy strategies that foster inclusive, mixed income communities. Hickey's research has been featured in the New York Times, Slate Magazine, CNN.com, the Huffington Post, and TheAtlantic.com. He holds a master's degree in city and regional planning from the University of California–Berkeley.

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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

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