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Planning and Sustainability

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What is the difference between the Comprehensive Plan Map and zoning?

Both depict how land can be used and developed over time, using a set of “designations” and “zones” (shown as colors on the maps). Both show broad categories of uses, such as residential, mixed use, industrial, employment and open space. They also convey information about the scale of future development (the type and size of buildings). 

The Comprehensive Plan Map is about the future…
The Comprehensive Plan Map depicts a long-term vision of how and where the city will grow and change over the next 20 years to accommodate expected population and job growth.

The Zoning Map is about what is allowed today…
Decisions about Comprehensive Plan designations directly guide subsequent decisions about zoning. The City’s Zoning Map tells us how land can be used and what can be built on any given property today. Zones are more specific than the Comprehensive Plan designations and come with a set of rules (included in the City’s Zoning Code) that clarify what uses are allowed (e.g., residences, businesses, manufacturing), and how buildings may be developed or changed (e.g., maximum heights and required setbacks from property lines).

The Comp Plan Map and the Zoning Map are like a leader and a follower. The plan map is the leading map and the zone map is the following map. The zone map can “catch up” to the plan map, but it can’t go past it.

The plan map is a long-range map saying what will be allowed 20 years from now, while the zone map says what is allowed now. For most properties in the city, what is allowed now and what will be allowed 20 years from now are essentially the same.