Streamlining and making everything more readerfriendly are key objectives as the city updates its 20-year-old Community Development Plan.
The Sedona Planning and Zoning Commission spent more than two hours discussing the matter on Tuesday, July 18, with several additional meetings planned.
The consulting firm of Clarion Associates presented an overview of draft zoning districts and land uses proposed in the code update. The city and Clarion kicked off the process for the first major update of the code in November 2016 with a completion date set for May.
“It’s important to remind people just what is the Land Development Code,” Clarion’s Matt Goble said. “It’s important to keep in mind that this is a very important document. You’ve done a lot of good planning work in Sedona but this is where the rubber hits the road. The Land Development Code is the actual rules for zoning in Sedona.”
The current LDC is more than 600 pages long. Goble said their plan is to reduce that greatly and when possible, replace long paragraphs with graphics or charts to again, simplify things as much as possible. Despite the amount of work involved, he’s confident they will stay on track and have things completed in less than a year.
“The opportunity we have now is to rethink this in a way that makes more sense and is a little easier to use and find information,” he said.
They intend to simplify the code through the zoning districts. The city currently lists 33 different zoning districts with common ones like commercial, residential and industrial to those that are rarely, if ever, used.
Through consolidation and elimination, Clarion reduced that number to 18, which included a few new districts. Consultants also eliminated pages of text and replaced it with easyto-read graphs that show what type of construction is allowed in each zoning district.
“The zoning districts are organized and formatted so that most of the key elements describing each district are presented on one page,” Clarion’s report states. “These elements include an initial statement describing the purpose of the district. The purpose statements are based in part on the current ordinance, but many are substantially revised for clarity and/or to reflect policies in the Sedona Community Plan.”
Regarding the reduction in the number of zoning districts, P&Z Board Chairman Marty Losoff said, “Consolidating the districts down to 18 is terrific. I think the land use tables will be a wonderful thing to have as we move forward with any of our projects. I think we’re going in the right direction so far.”
Sedona Senior Planner Mike Raber has said the LDC update can also help Sedona meet the goals of the Sedona Community Plan through the following ways:
- Environmental protection: Ensure development standards protect sensitive areas and are tailored appropriately for Sedona’s natural environment.
- Housing diversity: Provide a greater mix of housing types permitted in appropriate areas throughout the city, and reduce code barriers to improve housing affordability.
- Community gathering places: Consider opportunities through subdivision and development to improve public common areas.
- Economic diversity: Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach to development, provide appropriate tools to encourage a wider variety of businesses and opportunities in Sedona.
- Reduce traffic: Address circulation for multiple transportation modes [cars, transit, bikes, and pedestrians] and ensure that future development in Sedona promotes mobility for all ages and abilities.
- Access to Oak Creek: Protect this prominent feature of the community and ensure that surrounding land uses and corridors provide adequate access without compromising the health of the riparian area.
The board also discussed other areas of concern such as short-term rentals, lodging districts and the possibility of adding an entertainment district to Uptown.
“This is streamlining the whole situation,” Losoff said. “I think we have to be cognizant of the fact we’re trying to make things easier and not necessarily keep things the same.”
Visit the city’s LDC webpage at SedonaLDCupdate. com to learn about the code and the update process.