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Zoning Ordinances from Other Municipalities Written by TPUDC, the City's Zoning Consultant

Basic Elements of Zoning

Drawing depicting common zoning terms, as shown from a birds eye view of a Lot. Terms used: Lot Line, Lot Coverage, Public Realm (which includes Civic Spaces and Thoroughfares), Private Frontage, and Parking, Loading, and Service Area.

Drawing depicting common zoning terms, as shown from a street-view of a Lot. Terms used: Building Massing and Placement, Private Frontage, Civic Space (which is part of the Public Realm), and Signage.

The character of a place results from its various built elements. These elements are regulated by the zoning code and include the following:

Lot: A parcel of privately owned land. Zoning regulates the size of private lots, which impacts the scale of a place and its walkability.

Lot Coverage: The portion of a Lot which may be covered by buildings or impervious surfaces. Zoning has standards which limit the footprint of a building and assist in stormwater management. The portion of a Lot covered by a Building has an effect on the character of a place. A place has a more urban character if its Lots have a higher percentage of their area devoted to the footprint of a Building.

Use: The way in which land is used impacts its character. Zoning codes regulate what uses are allowed.

Public Realm: The places from which the public experiences a place. Zoning regulates street trees, sidewalks, vehicular lanes, and civic spaces. The arrangement and dimensions of these elements affect the perceived and actual intensity of a place.

Private Frontage: The portion of a Lot between the front Lot line and the front façade of the Building. The Private Frontage is the part of a place which is experienced by pedestrians. There are a number of Private Frontage types, some of which are more rural in character and others which are more urban. Zoning codes can regulate this by specifying which types are allowed in an area.

Building Massing: The height, width, and depth of a Building. These elements are regulated by zoning to assure that the scale of a building is appropriate to its Lot and the context of its place. Areas of more intense character have buildings with larger massing.

Building Placement: The way in which a Building is situated on its Lot. This zoning standard includes the distance between a Building and its Lot lines, also called setbacks. Places with Buildings set further away from their Lot lines have a less intense character than those set closer to those lines.

Building Type: The classification of a Building based on its physical form and use. Certain Building Types are appropriate in certain contexts, and a diversity of Building Types affects the character of a place.

Parking, Loading & Service: Placement and requirements for these elements impact character. At the extremes, the amount of parking called for by a zoning code can either overwhelm an area with parking or cut off an area from visitation by drivers. In either case it impacts the character of a place. Location of parking, loading and service areas and equipment also have an important bearing on character.

Signage: Signs play an important role in defining the character of a place. Some types which may be more appropriate in suburban settings may not be appropriate in human-scaled, walkable places. Standards for each sign type are also important to assure that signage does not detract from the character of a place.