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Decoding Zoning: the Chattanooga Zoning Code Update

Table of Contents

In today’s Decoding Zoning segment (a series where we try to make local zoning codes easier to understand), we’re looking into the potential Chattanooga Zoning Code Update.

🏢 Why update?

The current zoning code isn’t in line with Chattanooga’s goals — much of it doesn’t allow for certain forms of development + in some cases, the regulations don’t relate to Chattanooga’s current environment.

🏠 Why should I care?

Zoning affects everyone — where you live, work + play exist in the way that they currently do because of it.

Plus, a code update could result in exciting changes like greater economic development, housing expansion, and transit-oriented development.

🏛️ What could change?

Well, there’s a lot to unpack — a 42-page analysis to unpack, actually. Some highlights:

— Potentially adding new zones:

  • Industrial Mixed Use Zone | Would allow for the mixing of light industrial + warehousing uses with commercial uses (even limited residential uses like multi-family and live/work) | Can help preserve existing industrial development, suit modern industrial needs + accommodate creative uses of buildings while preserving them.
  • Institutional Zone | Crafted for large institutional campuses (healthcare facilities, educational institutions, etc.) | Would provide the city more control over the “edges” of the zone so that it is presented in a way that aligns with city character, while providing the campus more flexibility inside.
  • Open Space Zone | Accommodates open space uses, from parks and playgrounds to conservation areas | Would allow zoning to more accurately reflect land use found in the city + acknowledge the many purposes of outdoor spaces.

— A full restructuring of commercial zones in order to make the purpose of each zone more clear + present various options for development.

— A new set of urban residential zonesacknowledging + reinforcing urban neighborhood development patterns — with structural considerations. This could potentially simplify the overall code, too.

… along with smaller updates, like measuring building height in feet (rather than by story), including adaptive reuse permissions, and requiring purpose statements for zones.

Currently, the project is in its planning + code writing process. According to City Planning Administrator + RPA Executive Director Dan Reuter, now is an ideal time for the public (that’s you), neighborhood organizations, and private companies to participate as the project develops information for consideration by the City Council during the next year. Have ideas or questions? Make them known.