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24 Cards in this Set

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  • Back

Zoning Ordinances

Written regulations and laws that define how property in specific geographic zones can be used. Zoning ordinances specify whether zones can be used for residential or commercial purposes, and may also regulate lot size, placement, bulk (or density) and the height of structures.

Scope of Zoning Laws

Besides restricting uses for land and buildings, zoning laws may also regulate:

- the dimensional req for lots and bldngs on property located within the town (i.e. in some areas, you may not be able to build a home unless it is on at least an acre of land)

- density of development and animals allowed

- the extraction of natural resources from land

- space available for hospitals. parks, schools and open space

- the protection and preservation of places of historical significance within community

Zoning District

The areas demarcated for certain use. For example: residential, industrial, commercial, parks, etc.

The areas demarcated for certain use. For example: residential, industrial, commercial, parks, etc.

Land-use Regulation

Ordinances of government including requirement of permits and codes created to ensure private use of land resources are aligned with policy standards. Some forms of land use regulations including housing codes, regulations for subdivisions, zoning ordinances and building codes.


1. a rule made by a company or society to control the actions of its members.

synonyms: rule, regulation, ordinance

"the board will be revising its bylaws"

2. a regulation made by a local authority; an ordinance.

Site Plan Submittal

Typical city code requires that a site plan be submitted, approved and released before an applicant can develop or change the use of their property or a building permit can be issued.

Site Plan

A site plan illustrates the proposed development and its intended use within the context of the site.

Site Plan Existing Conditions

Typically included are topography, watercourses, floodplains, significant vegetation, soil types and other environmental features.

Site Plan Proposal

Within the frame work of the existing conditions, a site plan illustrates the proposed development and provides details on features such as access, utilities, parking, landscaping, buffers, general architectural features, building footprint and location of new structures.

Scope of Site Inventory & Analysis

Must consider four factors:

1.) Proposed site use

2.) Existing conditions on and off site

3.) Requirements for permitting and approvals (zoning ordinances and land use plan)

4.) Cost of data collection and analysis

Site Inventory

An essential step in understanding the character of the site and the physical, biological, and cultural linkages between the site and the surrounding landscape.


A detailed description or representation on a map of the natural and artificial features of an area.

early 15c., "description of a place," from Late Latin and Greek topographia, "a description of a place," from topos "place" Meaning "collective features of a region" is from 1847.

Topographic Map

The USGS makes topo maps at several scales (ex. 1:24k) which provide info on biophysical and cultural context of community or region.

The USGS makes topo maps at several scales (ex. 1:24k) which provide info on biophysical and cultural context of community or region.

Site Topographic Survey

Typically completed by a licensed land surveyor and include:

1.) Legal: property lines, easements, setbacks

2.) Topography: elevation contours and spots

3.) Vegetation: wooded areas, isolated trees

4.) Soils/Geology: soil types, sureficial geology

5.) Utilities: type, size, manholes, hydrants

6.) Structures: buildings

7.) Circulation: streets, curbs, parking, ROW's

Site Inventory

Gathering and categorizing data and information on natural and human features in an area proposed for a planning project.

4 Categories of Existing Site Conditions

1. Natural Existing Site Conditions
2. Cultural Existing Site Conditions
3. Existing Site Features
4. Existing Infrastructure

Genius Loci

The prevailing character or atmosphere of a place.


Origin early 17th century: Latin, literally ‘spirit of the place.’

The prevailing character or atmosphere of a place.

Origin early 17th century: Latin, literally ‘spirit of the place.’

Surficial Geology

* Impervious geology
* Soluble geology
* Geology prone to land slides
* Shallow bedrock which will increase grading and foundation costs


* Identify expansive soils (which will raise construction costs)
* Locate poor-draining soils
* Identify fertile or infertile soils
* Note areas or soils prone to erosion
* Determine if soils have an adequate bearing capacity for proposed development

Topography and Landform

* Most influential condition to development
* Identify areas that are too steep for development
* Locate parts of the site suitable for development
* Find shallow grades that will not drain properly or require excessive (and expensive) drainage remediation

Subsurface Hydrology

* Identify if the water table is extremely close to the surface.
* Determine if expansive materials are in the groundwater fluctuation zone
* Be able to find out if groundwater water quality is inadequate for human or landscape use.
* Determine permeability and groundwater recharge capacity ability.
* Research the site’s suitability for septic systems.
* Determine the liquefaction risk of a site.

Surface Hydrology

* Identify areas prone to erosion and sedimentation.
* Locate natural water courses and streams or rivers on a site.
* Determine which watershed the site belongs to.
* Find out if the site is located in a flood zone.


* What is the basic plant community found on the site (i.e. coastal sage scrub, chaparral, etc.)
* Which species are present on the site prior to development.
* Which plant associations are found on the site.
* Do changes in plant associations indicate different soil or hydrologic conditions.
* Does existing vegetation pose a hazard to development? Is it highly flammable, toxic, contain invasive exotic species, etc.


* Identify areas that may be uncomfortable for humans due to reflected heat, extreme wind velocity, high humidity, or other environmental factor.
* Note areas where cold air collects and creates frost pockets that will damage tender vegetation.
* Locate the dominant direction of the wind. Note if wind directions change at different times of the year.
* Will reflected heat or wind speed affect what plants and program activities occur on the site?