Apr 24, 2024 - News

New gallery gives residents closer look at Zone In proposal

A zoning code exhibit space with two people standing in front of a large display of photos.

The Zone In Gallery at 141 N. Front Street. Photos: Tyler Buchanan/Axios

Columbus has opened a public exhibit for residents to learn more about the city's zoning code overhaul.

Why it matters: Columbus has grown five times in size and more than doubled in population since the zoning code was last substantively updated in the 1950s.

The big picture: The Zone In project seeks to help fix our housing shortage and affordability problems by adjusting the rules of what can be built and where.

  • This space, along with an ongoing public comment period, gives residents a say on the city's formal proposal released earlier in April.

Driving the news: Axios recently toured the Zone In Gallery with Council president pro tem Rob Dorans, who chairs the Building & Zoning Policy Committee.

  • The gallery features large charts showcasing the city's growth and a touchscreen map highlighting the 4% of parcels (12,299 in total) that would fall under the new zoning guidelines.
  • Future phases of zoning reform will likely cover more areas of town, Dorans says.

What they're saying: "Our current code is restrictive," he says, a "relic" of outdated city planning that prioritized urban sprawl and vehicle travel above all else.

  • He says zoning officials currently "govern by exception" on a project-by-project basis, while a streamlined code would spur more housing by making the development and planning processes easier.

Zoom in: The proposed map features six new zoning districts targeting public transit areas where more housing density "makes the most sense," Dorans says.

  • Zone In would reshape city policy in several ways:

🏗 More density via taller buildings. Height restrictions would vary by neighborhood, with "bonus" floors approved for projects that include affordable housing.

  • Reasonable limits would remain in place, Dorans says: "This isn't gonna turn Bethel Road into Manhattan."

🛏️ 🍽️ Embrace mixed-use spaces. The existing code typically separates commercial and residential spaces, but the new code would encourage mixed-use buildings and more walkable neighborhoods.

❌ No more parking requirements. Developers would choose how many spaces to build.

What's next: The city is hearing insights from area commissions as well as public comments through June 10.

  • Dorans anticipates a Council vote in July.

Be smart: See the proposed map … read more about Zone In … share feedback.

Large gallery exhibits showcasing new zoning code policies for Columbus.
The gallery features large displays of the new zoning code proposal.
avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Columbus.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Columbus stories

No stories could be found

Columbuspostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Columbus.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more