Zoning Overlays

Project Background

Zoning overlays are a regulatory tool jurisdictions may use to create a special zoning district, placed over existing base zoning. An overlay district generally identifies special provisions in addition to those in the underlying base zone, which may regulate or incentivize a specific type of development or resource protection. In the city, we have used overlays for a variety of purposes including protection of particular uses or resources, heightened design standards for particular neighborhoods, or allowances associated with specific uses.

During the course of the 2015 Comprehensive Plan update, staff reviewed existing land use and zoning overlays with the Planning Commission. At that time, there were a handful of overlays designated on each map, with some overlap between the two. Some background and policy language existed in the Comp Plan for land use overlays, and code standards exist for the zoning overlays, but the description, criteria for designation, and development standards for each overlay were inconsistent. Planning Commission direction was to remove any overlays from the future land use map, consolidate on to the zoning map, and develop necessary policy and code language for each overlay. This was identified as an implementation item following completion of the 2015 Comp Plan update.

The linked table identifies each overlay and their associated existing standards and recommended action; the overlays are summarized as follows:

  • Four overlays (Agriculture, Open Space, Open Space/Ag, and Village Node) were removed from the Future Land Use map as part of the 2015 Comp Plan update;
  • Six overlays (Agriculture, Shaw-East Pioneer, Fair Parking, River Road-Design Review, Flood Plain A Zone, and Flood Plain X500 Zone) currently exist on the Zoning map and have regulating code; and
  • Two overlays (Downtown and Design Review) exist in code but have no applicable map designations.

This project includes the following components relative to each overlay:

  • Determine relevance and applicability of overlay;
  • Identify appropriate locations; designate on zoning map;
  • Draft Comp Plan policy direction and criteria for designation;
  • Draft zoning code, likely including a purpose statement, allowable uses, and property development and performance standards.

Since October, 2016, the Planning Commission has been specifically reviewing the Agriculture and Flood Plain Overlays. On August 23, 2017, Planning Commission held a public hearing on proposed code text and zoning map amendments relative to each overlay, as well as a map correction related to the River Road/Mixed Use – Design Review Overlay. They recommended approval of the staff proposed changes, with an amendment to the minimum site size required for application of the Agriculture Overlay. This recommendation will be forwarded to City Council in November, 2017.