30-Year Zoning Ordinance Updated and Modernized
By Amy Schweitzer – Building, Planning and Development
Over the past two years, Building, Planning and Development (BPD) has worked with the Plan Commission to revise the city’s zoning and subdivision control ordinances and create a new Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). The UDO becomes effective on March 18, 2019.
While there have been updates to these ordinances over the years, this version is the first comprehensive update in 30 years. Most of the regulations dated back to 1989. A lot has changed since then—not only in our city, but in the ways property is developed.
New Zoning Districts
While the new UDO has about the same number of zoning districts, the districts now better accommodate various types of development. For example, under the old ordinance, a small in-town residential lot was required to follow the same regulations as a suburban lot. While these two properties have very different features and characteristics, the zoning ordinance treated them the same. The new UDO has a Traditional Residential District with standards that are more appropriate for the physical limitations of smaller in-town lots. Additionally, the UDO has several single-family residential districts to address neighborhoods of different scale and density.
Another change involves multiple family districts. The old ordinance had only one district for multiple family dwellings, which often posed a problem when a smaller multiple family development was proposed. If the property was rezoned to accommodate that smaller multiple family development, there was a risk of a much larger apartment complex being built where it did not necessarily make sense. The new UDO has two multiple-family residential districts: one that is neighborhood scale and a second that is for apartment complexes in commercial areas.
The UDO also has an Institutional District to accommodate properties like churches, schools, hospitals, and small offices, etc. These institutions are critical components of communities and make ideal transitions between residential and commercial areas. The previous ordinance did not permit some of these uses in any district without an approval from the Board of Zoning Appeals.
More User-Friendly Ordinance Document
In addition to updating the regulations, BPD modernized the format of the document. The new UDO document is compartmentalized so the basic regulations for a district are located on a two-page layout for that district. Each two-page layout outlines permitted uses, special exceptions, setbacks, heights, lot coverages as well as where to find more detailed regulations about fences, sheds, etc. The new format is similar to what other Indiana communities use.
The intent of the new UDO is two-fold. First, it is designed to accommodate the existing built environment in Auburn. Secondly, it is forward-focused in that we want to make sure the regulations ensure redevelopment and new development occur in a way that best serves the community at large. We hear over and over from people in the community about how much they love Auburn’s classic nature. This new UDO is designed to preserve and protect Auburn for future generations, while also accommodating various forms of growth and development.
The new UDO is a big step forward, but hopefully just the first of many. Our next big project is facilitating the development of a new Comprehensive Plan. The city’s current Comprehensive Plan also dates back to the late 1980s, so we are excited to engage the public in this process.
Find the new zoning map and other information at www.tinyurl.com/AuburnUDO-ZoningMap