Charlottesville Tomorrow reports that, for several reasons, few members of the public have involved themselves in the current discussion about potential zoning changes. Nuts. Those who are elected and appointed to represent the public can’t do this alone (nor should they).
“What is the zoning here” is a frequent question I am asked by my buyer clients. It matters.
Step one should be … advertise the meeting.
Step two – people need to go to the meetings.
Theoretically, the primary purpose of zoning is to segregate uses that are thought to be incompatible. In practice, zoning is used to prevent new development from interfering with existing residents or businesses and to preserve the “character” of a community. Zoning is commonly controlled by local governments such as counties or municipalities, though the nature of the zoning regime may be determined or limited by state or national planning authorities or through enabling legislation.
Zoning may include regulation of the kinds of activities which will be acceptable on particular lots (such as open space, residential, agricultural, commercial or industrial), the densities at which those activities can be performed (from low-density housing such as single family homes to high-density such as high-rise apartment buildings), the height of buildings, the amount of space structures may occupy, the location of a building on the lot (setbacks), the proportions of the types of space on a lot, such as how much landscaped space, impervious surface, traffic lanes, and parking must be provided. In Germany, zoning usually includes building design, very specific greenspace and compensation regulations. The details of how individual planning systems incorporate zoning into their regulatory regimes varies though the intention is always similar.
From Charlottesville Tomorrow: (bolding mine)
â€œI am a little disappointed there has not been more interest,â€ said Commissioner Genevieve Keller in an interview. â€œPeople often don’t pay attention until there is something next door to them and then they call the city to complain.â€
Peter Hedlund, representing the Fry’s Spring Neighborhood Association, said it was difficult to review the documents on the city’s Web site and that the notice of the meeting was late. When the meeting began, it still had not been advertised on the city’s own site.
In a small conference room with four of seven commissioners present, Hedlund took the opportunity to ask detailed questions about the implications for accessory apartments. The workshop format allowed city staff and commissioners to answer questions and receive detailed feedback.