Proposed Zoning Code Amendments at a Glance



The Planning Department is bringing forward proposed amendments to the Zoning Ordinance (Title 17 of the Municipal Code). Staff from various city departments involved in the development review process suggested areas of the Zoning Code that needed clarification and changes to ensure internal consistency and reduce potential impacts of development on neighboring properties.


On June 6, 2017, the City Council adopted a Work Plan for the Planning Department that included general Zoning Code Amendments as one of the priority projects for the department. Following the direction from City Council, workshops were conducted with the Planning Commission to work on the Zoning Code amendments. Planning staff and the Planning Commission held workshops on the Zoning Code Amendments on July 11, 2017, August 22, 2017, and on November 28, 2017. The Planning Commission held a public hearing on the proposed Zoning Code amendments on February 13, 2018. Prior to the hearing, staff met with NIBCA and CDA Realtors Association to hear their concerns and suggestions. At the public hearing on February 13, the Planning Commission heard comments from an NIBCA representative and directed staff to amend the code to address NIBCA’s concerns as well as incorporate recommendations from the City Engineer, and directed staff to bring forward the proposed amendments with the additional changes to the City Council for approval. The proposed Zoning Code amendments that will be going forward to the City Council for consideration are outlined below.

PUBLIC HEARING: City Council, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 6:00PM

Proposed Zoning Code Amendments at a glance:


  • Egress Windows:
  • Current code allows for a two and one-half foot (2 ½’) setback distance from the side property line to the egress window well.
  • Proposed code will allow for a two foot (2’) setback distance from the side property line to the egress window well to address safety concerns for egress from a basement on existing residential structures and for future residential development.
  • Setbacks Accessory Buildings:
  • Current code allows for a zero foot (0’) setback distance in residential zones for detached accessory structures, but requires a minimum five-foot setback if a roof slopes toward property line.
  • Proposed code “All accessory structures shall be set back from neighboring properties at least five (5) feet. The setback may be reduced to three (3) feet if the structure’s roof does not slope toward the neighboring property. A three (3) foot setback is permitted at alleys.”        
  • Shipping Containers:
  • Current code does not address shipping containers as an accessory storage building.
  • Proposed code will prohibit shipping containers as storage buildings accessory to residential uses, commercial zones where residential is the principal use, C-17L, Downtown Core (DC) and all infill zoning districts.
  • Shipping containers would be permitted as accessory structures in C-17, LM, and M zoning Districts with some safety improvements and a building permit.
  • Parking for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s):
  • Current code does not require an off street parking space for ADU’s.

  • Proposed code will require one off street parking space for an ADU, consistent with the new Short-Term Rental (STR) Ordinance.

  • Ribbon Driveways:
  • Current code does not allow ribbon driveways to serve single family dwellings.

  • Proposed code will allow, as an option for homeowners, to install a ribbon driveway to serve their residential single family dwelling; provided that landscaping is planted and maintained in between the ribbons.

  • Driveway Paving:
  • Current code lists pavement options as asphalt, concrete, Portland cement concrete or concrete paver blocks.

  • Proposed code expands list of pavement options to include permeable pavers, grasscrete, or grassgrid, or similar material as approved by the City Engineer.


  • Hardship:
  • Current code does require older nonconforming homes to be rebuilt to the current code if it was damaged or destroyed over 50 percent.
  • Proposed code will allow for any single family home destroyed over 50 percent to be rebuilt over its old foundation or footprint so long as the replacement house is built to the same square footage and height of the previous structure, provided it is not in the right-of-way or over any property line. It includes a requirement for an inspection by the City Building Official or designee if the foundation is to be replaced due to the condition or quality of the original foundation.
  • Fill & Berming:
  • Current code does not address the building up and raising of a lot by bringing in fill or dirt.
  • Proposed code will not allow for berming, filling, and the raising of a lot, but defers to the Hillside Ordinance for hillside lots. However, filling can be done on lower lots so long as the filling is not greater than the adjoining lots


  • Maximum Number of Residential Units Per Lot:
  • Current code is not clear on the number of allowed dwelling units on a lot in a residential zoning district.
  • Proposed code will allow a maximum of two dwelling units on a lot in a residential zoning district.
  • Construction Permits for 120 Square Foot Accessory Uses in Residential Zones:
  • Current code requires a Building Permit for structures 200 square feet or larger.
  • Proposed code will require a Building/Site Plan Permit for accessory structures equal to or larger than 120 square feet.
  • Projection Above Maximum Height:
  • Current code allows for certain items to project above the maximum height of structures.              


  • Proposed code will eliminate certain items that can project above height such as an elevator, and stairway housings, tanks, ventilating fans or similar equipment required to operate and maintain the building, fire or parapet walls, but will continue to allow skylights (if they are flush mount), spires, flagpoles, chimneys, radio or television aerials, masts or antennas


  • ADU’s In Basements
  • Current code does not specifically allow an ADU in a basement of a single family dwelling.
  • Proposed code will allow an ADU in a basement of a single family dwelling.
  • NC Maximum Height For Accessory Structures
  • Current code does not call out building height requirements for accessory structures in the Neighborhood Commercial (NC) Zoning District.
  • Proposed code allows for a maximum building height of eighteen feet (18’) for accessory structures in the Neighborhood Commercial (NC) Zoning District.
  • Caretakers Residence:
  • Current code does not have code requirements for a Caretakers Unit.
  • Proposed code has requirements for a Caretakers Unit such as: parking, maximum size of 1400 SF, setbacks, occupancy, and maximum building height.
  • Other Housekeeping Items:
  • Current code needs amendments in several areas to fix inconsistencies and streamline the noticing provisions consistent with State Statutes.
  • Proposed code amendments will address these issues.



To see the full code amendments, please CLICK HERE.


The City Council will hold a public hearing on March 20, 2018 on the proposed code amendments.


If you have any questions, please contact Mike Behary (Planner) at or by calling (208) 769-2271.