Mission Statement

Our Mission
We are a non-partisan, citizen-based network mobilized to promote the revitalization of our community by learning and building upon the best practices of other successful community models. We hope to inspire fellow residents, local businesses and our elected officials by partnering with them to creatively seek new solutions through Arts-Based Community Development and Creative Placemaking.

Ways to improve Zoning

Reading list of articles with best practices to improve zoning
https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/common_problems_we_observe_in_local_zoning_part_1

  • Parking: There should be standards in the design for parking so a certain proportion of the parking lot is a pervious surface. This might be for the part of the parking lot for overflow on the busiest days. Also provisions for bicycle parking, and for sharing parking lots between different land uses.
  • Deadlines: Time is money. A developer will shy away from a community that takes too long to make decisions or will try to avoid an approval process that takes a longer amount of time. Consider including in the zoning ordinance deadlines for making decisions. Amend zoning to require a 65 day (or shorter) deadline for final action on special use permits (with the 65-day timeline starting when the application is formally found complete), a 35 day (or shorter) deadline for completing site plan reviews, and a requirement for the average length of time to act on zoning permits to be three days. Always include a means to extend the deadline when both the applicant and zoning jurisdiction mutually agree to do so.
  • Home occupations: Define home occupation as an activity that does not have any external evidence of its existence except for a small sign and parking for a few cars. Then make home occupations an automatic part of any dwelling, not needing approval or a permit in all zoning districts. This minimizes red tape and provides a very accommodating environment for entrepreneurs – some of which might grow (into a new location) and may foster a successful growing business and source of jobs in your community. Have other standards for a more intense and noticeable “home business,” “home enterprise,” or “home industry” that might be allowed as a permitted use (use by right) or special use in certain zoning districts.
  • Placemaking: If your zoning jurisdiction has not already, it should be updating its master plan to include placemaking strategies, goals, and objectives. That should be turned into specific new provisions of the zoning ordinance to foster placemaking. In urban environments, Placemaking can include complete streets, neighborhoods, urban street design, fa├žade design requirements, and more. For rural areas, it includes identifying and capitalizing on special and unique areas and is an important reinforcement of a regional economy.

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