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What is zoning and why does it matter RIGHT NOW?

What is zoning?

Some form of zoning has existed since antiquity, and it is now the most common, world-wide, regulatory urban planning method used by local governments in developed countries.

"Zoning is an umbrella term for a (usually) vast set of regulations that determine where you can build, what you can build, and what activities you can engage in on your property." (A History of Zoning in Three Acts - Part I)

Traditionally, zoning regulates the use of private land for the common good - public health, safety and general welfare. It determines the form, fabric and function of municipalities around the world. Like most systems, zoning has become far more complicated over time.

Why does it matter?

Because zoning is such a powerful tool affecting virtually all properties and property owners in the city, zoning regulations have enormous impact on our everyday lives. Can you open a coffee shop in your front room? Keep chickens? Build an Accessory Dwelling Unit? Add on a kitchen? Hang laundry out to dry? Convert your single-family home into apartments?

Local zoning ordinances typically address these topics and many more; Concord's current zoning ordinance is almost 150 pages long. These regulations define the physical framework through which our city has developed and grown, and ultimately determine the city's appearance, functionality, and livability.

Why zoning really matters right now!

Now that you know what zoning is and why it matters, you need to know that the city of Concord is currently in the process of updating its Zoning Ordinance, transitioning from a "Traditional" zoning code to "Form Based" zoning, sometimes called "Character-Based". This relatively new zoning approach is being used in urban centers like Concord that want to encourage dynamic, pedestrian-oriented development that meets the changing social, cultural, and economic needs of its community.

This type of zoning's regulating tools focus on the physical form and character of the neighborhood that the community wants to create or preserve, rather than on the separation of uses, as is found with more conventional ordinances.

NOW is your chance to weigh in on Concord's zoning changes and to express your opinions on these regulations that will impact our lives and our city for generations to come.



PHASE 2 Presentations: Exploration of future development of sample sites

  • August 2nd @ 12pm – 1:30pm (EST) zoom

  • August 2nd @ 7pm – 8:30pm (EST) zoom

  • August 4th @ 7pm – 8:30pm (EST) zoom

PHASE 1 PRESENTATIONS: Discussion of the new draft zoning ordinance

  • August 9th @ 12pm – 1:30pm (EST) zoom

  • August 11th @ 12pm – 1:30pm (EST) zoom

  • August 11th @ 7pm – 8:30pm (EST) City Chambers

  • August 16th @ 7pm – 8:30pm (EST) City Chambers

Are you passionate about land use/zoning issues? Think you could be?

Consider joining the CGC Sustainable Development team here!


The Concord Greenspace Coalition

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