Zoning / Development Regulations

Duncan Associates has drafted zoning and development regulations for local governments in over 30 states. Former clients include major cities (e.g., Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Fort Worth, Tulsa) as well as dozens of smaller cities, suburbs, towns and counties. Depending on the scale and complexity of the assignment, we often team with allied professionals (design, legal, transportation) to ensure that our clients receive the best possible services and support.

Chicago Zoning Reform

Chicago Zoning Reform

Duncan Associates served as prime contractor and project manager for the City of Chicago’s 2004 zoning reform project, the first comprehensive ordinance overhaul in 47 years. The new ordinance, which was adopted in 2004, places strong emphasis on conserving the physical character of Chicago’s cherished residential neighborhoods. Among its many new features are provisions designed to stimulate redevelopment of underutilized commercial corridors, promote preservation of pedestrian-oriented shopping streets, establish predictable review procedures and prevent erosion of the city’s industrial and employment base.

Highlights

  • Pedestrian street regulations
  • Residential design standards
  • New districts
  • Reduced parking
  • Affordable housing density bonus

Kansas City Development Code

Kansas City Development Code

Duncan Associates prepared a comprehensive overhaul of Kansas City’s zoning and subdivision regulations. This important update—the first in nearly 50 years—incorporated dozens of new and amended regulations and procedures, including provisions designed to incentivize open space and conservation-style development through provision of density bonuses and reductions in lot area and setback requirements. Neighborhood-serving retail uses are now allowed within residential districts, allowing residents to walk to nearby retail and service uses. The new ordinance also includes new riparian buffer provisions, a pedestrian overlay zone, innovative parking and access management provisions, and streamlined approval procedures. As the final stage of the project, Duncan Associates oversaw deployment of a fully computerized, map-linked version of the new zoning and development code.

Kansas City Sustainability Amendments

Kansas City Sustainability Amendments

Duncan Associates worked with a citizen advisory group to prepare a sustainability audit of Kansas City’s development regulations and perform best practices research. Based on that work, the firm drafted a series of zoning and development code amendments focusing on energy conservation, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction. The amendments were adopted in 2012.

Highlights   

  • Energy conservation
  • Energy efficiency
  • Greenhouse gas reduction
  • Low-impact development
  • Best practice research
  • Code amendments

Tulsa Zoning Code

Tulsa Zoning Code Update

Updating Tulsa’s 40-year-old zoning code was identified as a top priority in the city’s groundbreaking comprehensive plan, PLANiTULSA. The new zoning code prepared by Duncan Associates is a hybrid, incorporating conventional and form-based zoning provisions. One of many key enhancements included in the new code is the inclusion of mixed-use zoning tools and context-sensitive infill regulations for built‐up areas of the city.

Highlights   

  • New mixed-use districts
  • Content-specific parking
  • New housing types
  • Administration variances
  • New small lot residential district

Philadelphia Zoning Code

Philadelphia Map

In 2007, nearly 80 percent of Philadelphia voters approved a charter amendment calling for an update of the city’s 50-year old zoning code. Following that vote, a 31-member Zoning Code Commission was established and Duncan Associates was selected as co-lead (with Clarion Associates) to prepare the new code. Duncan Associates played a lead role in preparing an initial in-depth analysis of the existing zoning code, drawing on its experience in other big city zoning code assignments (e.g., Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Fort Worth). Duncan Associates was also responsible for preparing the new code’s zoning district and use regulations as well as several new overlay districts.

Highlights   

  • Modern use classification system
  • Community and design review processes
  • Streamlined procedures
  • New districts and standards

Missoula Zoning and Subdivision Regulations

Missoula Zoning Ordinance

Duncan Associates completed a comprehensive modernization and update of Missoula’s zoning and subdivision regulations in 2010. The updated ordinances include navigational and ease-of-use features, a wider range of housing options; pedestrian-oriented design standards; new mixed-use tools; open space development bonuses and accessory dwelling unit provisions.

Highlights   

  • Conservation development incentives
  • Accessory dwelling unit provisions
  • Hillside development standards
  • Streamlined procedures

Pittsburgh “Urban” Zoning Code

Pittsburgh “Urban” Zoning Code

Duncan Associates was retained to prepare an “urban update” to replace Pittsburgh’s 1958 suburban-style, urban renewal-oriented zoning code. The new code accommodates a broader range of building and place types and eliminates the widespread nonconformities created by imposition of the 1958 code on the city’s urban fabric. The new code’s modular approach to districts (separating use from development character) gives the code flexibility to better fit Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods.

Highlights

  • New (modular) residential districts
  • New commercial districts
  • Hillside protection standards
  • Campus/institutional zoning

Plano Zoning Ordinance Update and Codification Services

Plano Zoning Ordinance Update and Codification Services

Duncan Associates conducted a review and analysis the Plano (TX) zoning ordinance, as well as a complete reorganization of the document. The firm was recently selected to be the official codifier and publisher of the reorganized ordinance.

Highlights

  • Fully hyper-linked ordinance
  • Complete index

Highland Park Downtown Zoning

Highland Park Downtown Zoning

Duncan Associates prepared a series of downtown zoning text and map amendments for the City of Highland Park (IL). This work occurred as the final stage of a downtown plan update. The text amendments address (reduced) parking, urban design, increased residential density and maximum building heights. The amendments follow a form-based approach, promoting walkable urban development patterns.

Highlights     

  • Implements new downtown master plan
  • Form-based controls
  • Reduced minimum parking
  • Higher density mixed-use allowances