Ira Township Adopts New Interactive Zoning Ordinance

Ira Township Adopts New Interactive Zoning Ordinance

Ira Township is the first municipality in St. Clair County to have a Clearzoning Ordinance   Ira Township, Michigan – The Ira Township Board has adopted a new zoning ordinance. The ordinance was prepared with the assistance of Clearzoning, Inc., the Township’s planning consultant, over the course of six months. The Clearzoning team completely re-organized the Township’s existing Zoning Ordinance into a new seven-article structure, with simplified language and illustrations that make spatial and locational standards easy to understand. In addition to amended provisions and a re-organized structure, the Clearzoning format is designed to be accessible on the web and fully interactive. The electronic document is formatted with linked menus on all pages, as well as linked definitions and references to other sections of the ordinance that enable users to quickly and easily navigate the document without having to go through the ordinance page by page. The document is fully searchable, making it easy to find provisions relevant to the project at hand. The Township sees many advantages to the electronic format, including the ease with which the Ordinance can be updated, as well as the ability for the Township to simply post the document on its website, instead of using a separate code-hosting service. Township Clerk, Crystal Sovey, looks forward to sharing the new ordinance with the public, “The new zoning ordinance is very user friendly and easy to navigate.” The Ordinance can be shared via download from the Township’s website as well as sent through email, meaning the Township has a cost-effective alternative to providing paper copies of the Ordinance to the public. However, in addition to...

The Planning Commissioner’s Guide to Zoning Ordinance Amendments

The Winter 2015 issue of Michigan Planner features the article “The Planning Commissioner’s Guide to Zoning Ordinance Amendments,” written by Clearzoning’s Rod Arroyo and Joe Tangari. The article provides insight into best practices that municipal governments can use improve the process of keep a local zoning code up-to-date and relevant in terms of reflecting local character and trends. One of the tools mentioned is the use of a zoning ordinance health assessment. This practice involves conducting a review of a community’s existing zoning code to 1) compare its effectiveness in implementing master plan goals, 2) identify compliance with recent changes in state or federal legislation, 3) review the code in light of recent zoning board of appeals cases, 4) identify changes to reflect the evolution of planning and zoning best practices, and much more. Click on the graphic in the upper right to download a pdf copy of the full article. To learn more about the Clearzoning format – which transforms local zoning codes into user-friendly, digital documents – visit our Clearzoning service page....

Redevelopment Best Practices – 2015 MLGMA Session

  Clearzoning is pleased to have been invited to speak at the 2015 Winter Summit for the Michigan Local Government Management Association (MLGMA). This is a great organization dedicated to the professional development of local government administrators. To paraphrase Pete Auger, the president of MLGMA (and the City of Novi, Michigan’s manager), city managers are often the key “behind the scenes” individuals who keep local government moving. At Clearzoning, we want to help Pete and other city managers keep local government moving – in a forward direction. Today’s city managers can use planning, zoning, and technology tools to encourage quality economic development, manage limited financial and human resources, ensure fair and transparent decision making, and provide excellent customer service. Today at the Winter Institute, we shared lessons about how an updated Zoning Ordinance and development review procedures can help a city achieve these goals.  By implementing best practices for redevelopment to provide clear, easy-to understand, and current zoning standards along with streamlined, well documented site plan policies, city managers can help ensure a smooth and predictable experience for developers as well as city staff, officials, and residents. Our session slideshow is available below along with a series of articles aimed at helping communities be “development...

New Zoning Format Can Help Cities and Other Municipalities Enhance Customer Service and Promote Economic Development

New Zoning Format Can Help Cities and Other Municipalities Enhance Customer Service and Promote Economic Development Zoning codes have come under fire over the last 25 years for many reasons ranging from the resulting development patterns they create (mandating sprawl) to the confusing language (legalese) used in these documents.   This can lead to a host of negative impacts for a municipality.  Some impact day-to-day operations and others last for generations to come. Zoning codes can be enhanced by better graphics, formatting, and hyperlinking.  Municipalities are looking for better zoning formats, online zoning codes, fillable zoning forms, and interactive zoning maps. The use of graphics is one of the first places to start.  Regulations that are depicted graphically are generally easier to understand and more effective.  This is particularly true for business owners and citizens that are not familiar with common zoning and development terms.  It can also assist staff and Planning Commission members developing a better understanding of what the zoning text is intended to accomplish. The formatting of most zoning codes has not changed since the time they were first adopted.  The outline structure is often confusing, and users are forced to jump from section to section just to find basic information.  For example, the lists of permitted and special land uses are often found within the district pages.  The building setback, height, and other bulk and density requirements are often found in a separate schedule of regulations.  This basic information can be accessed at a glance by combining it on a single or two-page spread. Changes in technology also make it possible to get answers to...

Food Trucks – New Planning Presentations in October

Clearzoning President Rod Arroyo will be speaking twice in October on the topic of planning challenges and opportunities related to mobile food vending.  On October 3, he will address the North Carolina Planning Conference in Raleigh.  The following Thursday, October 9, Rod will be speaking at the Grand Hotel as part of the Michigan Chapter of APA’s annual conference. For more information, Rod Arroyo and Jill Bahm authored a Zoning Practice issue on this topic for the American Planning Association (September 2013 – Vol. 30, No.9).  A summary of the presentation is provided via the links below: Food Truck Handout from Clearzoning Powerpoint Presentation – Food Trucks...

Watertown Township in Clinton County, Michigan Adopts New Zoning Code Based on Clearzoning Format

Watertown Township’s Zoning Ordinance Has Improved Format Using Clearzoning We are pleased to announce that Watertown Township in Clinton County, Michigan is our newest Clearzoning community. Watertown is the first municipality in Clinton Township to enhance its zoning code by adding the online functionality, new organization, and graphic enhancements from Clearzoning....