The Planning Commission makes recommendations to the City Council on proposed amendments to the Zoning Ordinance. Amendments to the ordinance must be approved by City Council because only they have the authority to change municipal laws.
District Change Amendments
Landowners have the right to petition the city for a change in the zoning of their property. The city can also initiate a change in zoning. The commission recommends approval or disapproval of the request to City Council.
The Zoning Ordinance is not intended to be a static document and often needs to be amended. The Planning Commission recommends ordinance text changes to City Council.
Planned United Developments
The Planning Commission makes recommendations to the City Council on Planned Unit Developments, which allow the city to set aside ordinance regulations in light of other considerations. The establishment of a Planned Unit Development is considered an amendment to the ordinance. Several types of Planned Unit Developments are allowed under the city’s Zoning Ordinance.
Planned Unit Development Districts
The commission makes recommendations to the City Council on Planned Unit Development District proposals, which allow for a mix of land uses that would not otherwise be permitted under the zoning ordinance.
Planned Unit Residential Developments
The Planning Commission makes recommendations to the City Council on Planned Unit Residential Development proposals, which allows the city to set aside dimensional ordinance regulations such as building setbacks in light of other considerations.
Planned Building Group Shopping Centers
The commission makes recommendations to the City Council on Planned Building Group Shopping Center proposals, which allow for the development of large commercial developments with many tenants.
Other Project Zoning Reviews
The city’s Zoning Ordinance provides the Planning Commission with the final authority on several other types of zoning reviews that often govern project proposals:
Conditional Use Permits
Land uses which require a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) in certain zoning districts allow the Planning Commission to exercise additional control over those developments in order to ensure that it will have a minimal impact on adjacent and other nearby properties.
Site Plan Reviews
Land uses that require a Site Plan Review also allow the Planning Commission the opportunity to affect development proposals in order to ensure that it will have a minimal impact on neighboring land.
Class A Nonconforming Use Designations
Land uses that existed before current zoning regulations went into effect are designated as nonconforming uses and are allowed to continue. The zoning ordinance permits the PC to allow for a change in the type of nonconforming use as long as the proposed change lessens the effect of the nonconformity on neighboring properties.
Alley & Street Vacations
Streets and alleys that are closed still exist legally and can be reopened. The vacation of alleys and streets expunges their rights-of-way legally. The vacated right-of-way is then divided along its center line and returned to the adjacent properties from which it was appropriated. The commission recommends approval or disapproval of proposed vacations to the City Council.