The process begins with the owner or a prospective purchaser submitting a "change of zone" application and filing fee to the Planning Department. All applicants are encouraged to first meet with staff to make sure that they understand the information required for a submittal and the potential issues they may face. Applicants are also strongly encouraged to meet with neighboring owners prior to filing the application, especially if the change appears to be controversial. This allows the applicant to consider incorporating the concerns of neighbors in order to find out how best to mitigate the impact of their proposed development. For a small fee, the Planning Department can provide the applicant with a list of the owners of the properties. The Planning Department can also help identify the local neighborhood association that represents the interest of particular areas of the city.
From the submittal date, it will take four to six weeks until the Planning Commission public hearing. Staff will research the request to determine the previous history relating to the site, the character of surrounding uses and zoning, the infrastructure available and consistency of the request with relevant Comprehensive Plan policies. Staff also prepares a list of nearby owners and mails them notice of the upcoming hearing; submits an advertisement of the hearing to the local newspaper; posts a sign on the property; solicits comments from other departments; and prepares a staff report with analysis and recommendations. The report goes to the Planning Commission along with correspondence from the applicant and other interested parties in advance of the public hearing. The Planning Commission agendas for past and current meetings are posted on our webpage. Information about the application is available by clicking on the application number in the agenda(s).
The Planning Commission holds its hearing and then votes on each application. Staff then prepares minutes of the discussion and vote and sends those, along with all the information sent to the Planning Commission, on to the elected board. The elected board holds its own hearing and votes to approve or deny the request. Final action by the elected board can be appealed to District Court by the applicant or other "aggrieved party".
Application forms and instructions for zoning and related permits can be found on the Planning Department Web site. Applicants can choose to contract with private attorneys, planning consultants or other individuals to act as their agents in the rezoning process. For additional information, call the Planning Department at 441-7491.