Zoning and subdivision regulations Update

Envision Montgomery 2040, the City’s comprehensive plan, identifies as a key recommendation an update of the zoning ordinance and subdivision regulations. The city is now undertaking this effort to align Montgomery’s zoning ordinance and subdivision regulations with its future vision for development.

What is a zoning ordinance?

A zoning ordinance is the adopted law of a city that regulates land use, growth, and development. It defines distinct zoning districts that apply to property and generally governs the purpose, location, and size of development in each district. A zoning ordinance also includes provisions for the development proposal review process and for standards regulating parking, signage, building design, and resource protection.

What are subdivision regulations?

Subdivision regulations are the adopted law of a city that regulates how individual properties can be subdivided or split. It defines characteristics for lot size, lot configuration, street right-of-way widths, access, and other similar regulations for properties. These regulations complement the zoning ordinance requirements for future development.

Why rewrite the zoning ordinance and subdivision regulations?

While Montgomery has pursued zoning updates to specific areas, such as the SmartCode for downtown, the last major update to the zoning ordinance was in 1985. The regulations are cumbersome and no longer reflects the best practices of modern planning and zoning techniques. The purpose of the rewrite is to address such issues and develop new regulations that reflect the policy direction set forth in the new comprehensive plan. The result of the project will be a new set of regulations that are modernized, easier to use, and better aligned with the city’s future vision and development goals.

The comprehensive rewrite of the zoning ordinance and subdivision regulations is a significant undertaking that began in May 2022 and will continue into the first half of 2024. There will be multiple opportunities for public input and feedback at key stages in the process. The graphic below depicts the timeline for the update.

How does the zoning ordinance relate to the comprehensive plan and future land use map?

The comprehensive plan is a policy guide that identifies goals and actions to guide future development and redevelopment in the city. It addresses a long-range vision for development, housing, environment, economic development, transportation, community facilities and services, and other related topics. It acts as a guidebook for decision-makers and is not a legally binding document. The Future Land Use Map within the comprehensive plan depicts the general character and land use that is appropriate throughout the city and its planning jurisdiction, and is used to inform City Council as it makes decisions about potential zoning changes.

The zoning map, zoning ordinance, and subdivision regulations are legal documents that define the land uses and the development characteristics allowed on a specific property within the city today. They also include the legally binding regulations that implement policies in the comprehensive plan.

How long will the project take?

The comprehensive rewrite of the zoning ordinance and subdivision regulations will take about two years to complete.

Who is managing the project?

The project is being conducted under the direction of the City’s Planning Department, with assistance from Clarion Associates and Planning NEXT.

Where can I get copies of the current regulations?

The Existing Documents tab provides links to the current zoning ordinance, subdivision regulations, and the downtown SmartCode.

Where can I find draft documents?

The Project Documents tab will include all draft materials that will be released during the project, including the presentation from the kickoff meeting held with Planning Commission on May 26, 2022.

How can I get involved?

Sign up for the project mailing list on the right side of this page to receive emails about upcoming events, the release of draft work products, and opportunities to comment on the drafts. This website also will be updated regularly to announce opportunities to review documents and provide your input.

The City’s existing zoning ordinance and subdivision regulations were last updated in 1985. The Downtown SmartCode was most recently updated in 2019 and adopted in 2007. Links to the current regulations are provided on the right.

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