Innovative Zoning Brings Jobs to Community

Governor Rick Snyder along with representatives from Pinnacle Foods celebrated the grand opening of the multi-million dollar, 5,000 sq. ft. expansion of the Imlay City Vlasic pickle plant.  The plant and its related infrastructure in Imlay Township will be making pickles as well as packaging and distributing products.  Today’s celebration marks an important occasion not only for Pinnacle, but also for the economic growth of the Imlay City and Township community.  The expansion will result in 29 new jobs, bringing total full-time positions to 300, plus 700 additional seasonal jobs. During his speech, Governor Snyder highlighted the importance of team work among local officials in assisting Pinnacle Foods with its expansion.  The Governor remarked, “I want to compliment the local officials and the partnership that went on here.  From the County, to the City, to the Township, to economic development organizations, you’re to be complimented.  It’s a great success!” Planning for this project has been in the works since August of 2012.  Imlay Township worked closely with Pinnacle Foods, the Township’s largest employer, to ensure an expedited and smooth rezoning and site plan approval process for the expansion.  A key related infrastructure area for the plant is located in the Township’s new, Enterprise Business District.  According to David Birchler, CEO of Clearzoning, Inc. and the Township’s planning consultant for the past 35 years said, “Imlay Township created its new Enterprise Business district in order to support the growth of existing businesses as well as attracting new companies to the Imlay area.  The innovative zoning district is designed to allow a broad mix of office, retail, and manufacturing uses, with...

Zoning Codes Need Health Check-Ups Too

Zoning check-ups can lead to a better way to zone People need health check-ups from time to time, and so do zoning codes.  Just like you take time to talk with your doctor about your health and how things are working, it’s important to take the time to review zoning ordinances for outdated terms and definitions, identify inconsistencies or conflicting text, and consider how to address planning trends and demographic shifts. Clearzoning staff recently completed a health check up for the City of Blacksburg, Virginia and found their code to generally be in good shape. Many definitions are current and reflect needs of today’s residents and business owners, including itinerant vendor, life care facility, and personal improvement services. District intent statements are descriptive in terms of the types of uses permitted and desired and suggest the form and amenities development should include. Provisions that encourage home occupations include standards that protect neighbors while still encouraging self-employed or start up businesses. Provisions for manufactured home developments use current language and consider mixing uses Many primarily residential districts allow some type of mix of uses that allows residents the opportunity to find basic goods/services close to home, which has the potential to reduce vehicular traffic within the City. Regulations provided in the Creek Valley Overlay and Floodplain Overlay district address impact of development on stormwater management and water quality. Parking provisions address many uses and are generally presented in a consistent manner; the recognition of mass transit’s impact on parking needs is important. In general, we would recommend consolidating as many of the duplicative standards as possible to make the ordinance shorter and easier...

City of Farmington Hills Transforms Ordinance

On January 28, 2013, the City of Farmington Hills adopted a new clearzoning ordinance. The process started in April and involved “taking apart” the old Zoning Ordinance and reorganizing the regulations into a more user-friendly format. The February 3 Observer & Eccentric news reports more about this exciting change for the City of Farmington...

Ruston Louisiana Adopts New Clearzoning Ordinance

Clearzoning is pleased to announce the adoption of a new Zoning Ordinance by the city of Ruston, LA., located in Lincoln Parish. Clearzoning assisted the City with the development of a new zoning code aimed at revitalizing the city’s downtown and increasing connectivity with surrounding areas, preserving existing suburban neighborhoods, and encouraging business development through a faster, easier zoning process.  Clearzoning President Rodney Arroyo made the announcement on November 26, 2012. Arroyo and Clearzoning Principal Planner Jill Bahm met with stakeholders and worked closely with the Ruston city staff, led by Planning Administrator Pat Doane, to clarify confusing zoning language, update code provisions, and streamline the development review process. New “form-based” provisions were also included, aimed at revitalizing the historic downtown areas as recommended in the City’s Ruston 21 Comprehensive Plan. The new zoning ordinance identifies specific building forms and land uses that make the core districts more pedestrian-friendly as well as encourages connectivity between downtown and Louisiana Tech University’s developing Tech Village area. “Our old code was created in 1959 and many things were out of date and inconsistent with the city’s vision for the future,” noted Doane. “The new code really has the city’s future in mind and is filled with helpful illustrations and is designed to work online, making it easier for people to find answers to basic zoning questions.”  One of the most important changes to the code is that it makes business development predictable and easy by replacing conditional uses with uses by right in the appropriate zones.  Now a business can just look at the code and know if the use is allowed...