Final draft of city’s LDC ready for review
BY ASHLEY D. THOMAS
The Daytona Beach Land Development Code rewrite project is in its final review stage before being submitted to the City Commission for adoption. The project began three years ago.
“The purpose of the rewrite is so that it will be easier to get property zoned for the right purpose for the right reason,” Commissioner Patrick Henry explained to the Daytona Times. “It will get rid of some of the zoning codes that are outdated and irrelevant.”
The consultant, Clarion Associates, will provide an overview of the rewrite at the next Planning Board meeting on Thursday, Sept. 18, 6 p.m. at City Hall.
Deputy City Manager Paul McKitrick, the Development & Administrative Services director, gave an overview of the LDC to the Times as well and spoke about the importance of the rewrite.
“It is commonly known as the zoning code,” McKitrick explained. “In the code, there are hundreds of pages of regulations pertaining to where homes can be built, setbacks, the size of homes, how public roads can be constructed, environmental protection regulations and provisions regarding signage for businesses. Many of the codes that regulate the use of land are in the LDC. “
The almost 800-page code is referred to as 93187, the number of the ordinance that adopted it in 1993, 21 years ago.
“While it has been amended numerous times in those 21 years, it is obvious to all of us that use this code regularly that it is very outdated. What the community wanted in terms of regulation almost 25 years ago needed a serious review and update, which is the purpose of this exercise of updating the code now.”
While the amendments have addressed specific issues, they have not addressed comprehensive changes such as incorporating the city’s Vision Plan, the updated Comprehensive Plan and the plans for the city’s redevelopment areas.
McKitrick explained that the update would not have a major effect on current property owners, whether business or residential.
“For almost all property owners, commercial and residential, there will be almost no direct effect on property rights. More importantly for those people that perhaps are thinking of putting an addition on their home or doing other substantial improvements the new code has been specifically designed to make the permitting of that easier than the old code.”
McKitrick explained a new provision in the code: contextual zoning. For an example, he explained how the code would allow property owners to maintain the uniformity of other neighbors in such terms as setbacks.
What’s a setback?
A setback is an exact distance, which a building or other structure must be set back from a curb, street or road, a river, stream, shore or any other place, which is deemed to need protection.
“Instead of just applying standard setbacks of 25 front and rear 10 feet on the side, regardless of how the homes in that neighborhood were developed, contextual zoning allows us to look at how the other homes in that area were developed and to apply similar setbacks to the subject property.
“So, say the code says the front setback is supposed to be 25 feet from the front property line to the front of the home but all the other homes were built 20 feet from the front property line. Well, why require the new house to be 25? Allow it to be 20 like the other homes in that neighborhood in the context of the other properties. That is actually I think a pretty cool provision to facilitate improvements to people’s homes and businesses.”
Parts to read
The process of rewriting the code began with the goal of not only updating the code but also making the document more user friendly. The updated document is more straightforward, efficient and intuitive.
As for reviewing the document, McKitrick advises Daytona Beach residents to search the document for the parts relevant to their situation.
“My suggestion is that they go online. The code is almost 800 pages. My recommendation is to only look at the portion that you are interested in. Certainly don’t try to read that whole thing,” McKitrick urged.
“But if you are a homeowner and you are interested in those provisions of the code that pertain to residential homes you can easily read just those sections of the code and if you have questions or concerns please come to the meeting on the 18th.”
“We included all of the redevelopment boards, the planning boards and have had a number of public meetings,” McKitrick said, adding that the Planning Board has been inclusive of other boards and the public.
“We are hopeful that people who are interested will become fully informed and once they read the code we are hopeful they will support it,” he concluded.
Clarion Associates will provide the LDC overview at the Sept. 18 meeting. It starts at 6 p.m. at the Planning Board’s meeting in the Commission Chambers, City Hall, 301 S. Ridgewood Ave., Daytona Beach. The public is invited to participate. Adoption of the code is set for early fall.