Development & Zoning Processes
In a nutshell, zoning controls the development of property by controlling two aspects of land use. First, the uses permitted within a given zoning district are identified, and second, the amount of building that may be developed on a parcel of land is regulated. Every parcel in Springfield has a zoning classification.
In general, zoning is divided into three major classifications – Residential, Commercial, and Industrial. Height, lot coverage, setbacks from right-of-way and adjacent properties are specified. The zoning ordinance also specifies the amount of parking required for each use and the size and number of signs permitted. Rezoning is a change in the zoning classification of a property.
In addition to zoning classifications, the development of some parcels are also governed by special procedures and planned districts.
The zoning district defines the types of land uses or development that are allowed within that district. Within each district, standards such as building setbacks, minimum lot area requirements, parking needs, and sign provisions are specified.
The nine-member Planning and Zoning Commission holds public hearings and makes recommendations on zoning issues. P&Z Commission members are appointed by City Council and serve without compensation. The members hold office for three-year terms and may be reappointed for a maximum of two terms.
The City’s Zoning Ordinance and Comprehensive Plan guides the decisions of the Planning and Zoning Commission.
The steps involved in the public hearing and rezoning process are listed below, or click here for a flowchart representation:
- Application is submitted to the Department of Planning and Development’s Development Review Office and reviewed for accuracy and completeness.
- A neighborhood meeting is held at least 21 days before a proposal goes before the Planning and Zoning Commission. All residents and organized neighborhood associations within 500 feet are to be notified by mail at least 10 days in advance. The attendance list, comments and questions from the neighborhood meeting are included with the documents that go to the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council.
- Public hearing date is set (at least 15 days prior to the public hearing).
- Signs are posed on the property. This may be the first information surrounding residents have regarding the pending change of zoning.
- Letters are mailed to property owners within 185 feet of the proposed rezoning area notifying them of the public hearing. The proposal is also published in the News-Leader in advance of the meeting.
- Public hearing is held. The Planning and Zoning Commission holds public hearings on more than one zoning request at a meeting.
- The Planning Commission takes the matter under advisement and recommends (or does not recommend) the proposal to City Council, which makes the final decision.
The rezoning section explains how to change your property's zone to use it for a purpose other than the one permitted by the zoning ordinance. The City Council, after receiving the recommendations from the Planning and Development Department and the Planning and Zoning Commission, may authorize the change.
This 1st section of planned developments, application, explains the steps necessary to apply for the approval necessary to create a planned development. A planned development encourages a more creative and imaginative design than is generally not possible under conventional zoning regulations. A planned development differs from conventional zoning by allowing deviations from the zoning ordinance.
After your planned development is approved by City Council the final plan details the steps you must take before you begin developing your property, or making any improvements.
The vacating process is a legal process whereby the city relinquishes the public's interest in a street, alley, or subdivision. When a street is created, the owner of the land gives the public the right to drive on that street and when the street is vacated it becomes private property again. The vacation process is the only method available to eliminate a street, alley, or subdivision.
The subdivisions section explains how to divide or combine parcels of land into 1 or more lots, tracts, or parcels for the purpose of transfer of ownership or building development. In effect, any change in a property description is subject to review under the city's subdivision ordinance.