Mayor Chris Beutler today said a proposed format change to the City's zoning code will help developers and individuals by making the code less confusing, more consistent and easier to interpret. He said the organization of codes by "use groups" also will make the process more efficient and will reduce the need for amendments to the code.
"The use group format represents the first major update of the City zoning ordinance in the last 30 years," Beutler said. "Whenever we can make a process more citizen-friendly or more business-friendly, we send the message that we have our priorities straight, that we understand the value of time to the entrepreneurs who are building our community and the neighborhood leaders who are improving the City's quality of life."
Since 1979, the ordinance has been amended more than 530 times, and the Mayor said that can lead to significant staff time spent on interpretation as well as delays to the public.
The Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission has participated in several workshops on the changes, and the Planning Department has met twice with neighborhood representatives. The Planning Commission will have a public hearing on the changes at a future meeting, and the changes would require approval by the City Council and County Board.
The new format would organize the existing 270 land uses into 14 use groups:
"We want to emphasize that use groups is a format change, not a new type or method of zoning," said Marvin Krout, Planning Director. "By making the list all-encompassing, we reduce the possibility that a use isn't listed. We also have an issue today with too many similar uses being treated very differently. Organizing by user groups promotes the equal treatment of these similar uses."
Although the proposed changes are mainly related to the code format, Krout said the reorganization has led to a few proposed changes in where and how some uses are allowed. These include the areas of contractor services, health care facilities, services stations and auto body repair. The term "urban garden" also has been added to the zoning code.
More information on the use groups proposal is available at planning.lincoln.ne.gov or by contacting Christy Eichorn in the Planning Department at 401-441-7603.