On February 16, 2022, the Dayton City Commission is expected to vote on amendments to the City of Dayton zoning code.
These changes generally fall into a few different categories:
- Administrative changes,
- Alignment with best practices in city planning, and
- Keeping regulations up-to-date
These changes improve the clarity of the code as well as aid in its implementation. Some of these changes modify or add definitions. For example, currently, medical marijuana uses are not defined in the zoning code--although they are allowed, in certain situations, in the City of Dayton. By defining these uses and making it clear where they are allowed, much uncertainly and unnecessary staff time can be eliminated. Another change relates to urban agriculture. Sometimes people want to find regulations regarding urban agriculture in the City of Dayton. While urban agriculture uses are allowed throughout the city with regulations, the term “urban agriculture” is not used in the code. Staff proposes adding a definition which refers to the appliable sections of the code for specific uses such as community gardens, harvesting, or beekeeping. Another administrative change is to our public notice practice. Staff sends public notices for all major land use cases twenty days before the subject public meeting. However, the zoning code only requires a 14-day public notice for some requests, such as Variances and Conditional Uses. We propose making it a consistent 20-day public notice for all cases.
City of Dayton staff is dedicated to keeping codes aligned with best practices of the Planning profession. These practices change over time, for a variety of reasons, such as new perspectives, new data, environmental issues, and evolving preferences. Perspectives are changing regarding parking. While zoning has traditionally been used to ensure that a certain number of parking spaces are provided for private automobiles, this view is being challenged. Now, there is more of a desire to not let parking requirements dictate how a city develops. The destruction of urban areas due to the over-provision of parking has been well-documented. In fact, there are many cities that are eliminating minimum parking requirements city-wide. The City of Dayton, since 2006, has not required off-street parking spaces in the Central Business District, and has very limited parking requirements in the Urban Business District (UBD). These areas are thriving. As a logical next step, staff continues to evaluate parking regulations outside of these areas. With these proposed amendments, staff proposes reducing parking requirements for multi-family dwellings from 1.5 parking spaces required per unit to 1.0 parking spaces per unit. Further, we propose reducing parking requirements for daycare uses from 1 space per 4 attendees to 1 space per 10 attendees. Additionally, staff proposes increasing opportunity for the provision of bicycle parking instead of automobile parking. We are proposing allowing up to a 25 percent reduction in required vehicular parking (currently one can only get a 10 percent reduction).
Housing is another prominent topic in today’s planning discourse, particularly around choice, opportunity, and density. While the City of Dayton already tends to be more accommodating than most places in the region, we are proposing additional changes to increase opportunity. First, we are making it far easier to establish Accessory Dwelling Units—housing units that exist on a property in addition to the principle dwelling unit. Currently, an accessory dwelling unit would require a use variance; as proposed, ADUs would now be allowed as a Conditional Use – a far lower standard for approval. Additionally, we are making it easier for one to establish a live/work use in the City of Dayton.
Staff proposes increased flexibility for other land uses as well. We propose making it easier to approve mixed-use development, as well as provide for more places where retail and restaurants may be permitted.
Modernizing the Code
Land uses continue to evolve, and changes are necessary to reflect this. For example, the emergence of cryptocurrency has brought about questions in terms of where larger scale operations, if they were to locate in the City of Dayton, should be. City staff proposes allowing such a use in general industrial districts, and avoid their establishment in other places, such as downtown where more active uses are desired. Likewise, when the zoning code was adopted in 2006, medical marijuana uses were not contemplated. Therefore, we are establishing definitions and clarifying where they may be permitted.
Zoning Code Impact
Staff believes that these changes, in aggregate, are a significant improvement to the regulations of the City of Dayton. Staff will continue to regularly amend the zoning code to maintain regulations that are current, clear, and facilitate the best possible development outcomes.