What is the Zoning Code?

THIS AN INTRODUCTION TO UNDERSTANDING ZONING AND THE ZONING CODE.
The Flagstaff Zoning Code is most commonly related to the planning, development, growth, preservation and conservation of land within the City. How public and private land is managed affect all residents, business owners, and visitors within the City.  In addition to other elements, a less commonly known result of zoning is its effects on our experiences and perceptions of the city.

Below are links to videos on what is the Zoning Code, including: how to look up a property's Zoning Codes designation and regulations, and a detailed overview of the components of the Zoning Code:

Link to a brief introduction to the Zoning Code; and, "How to look up your property's zoning regulations"

Link to the video "How to look up a lot’s Zoning Map designation"

Link to a detailed overview of the components of the Zoning Code.

Below are the links to the Zoning Code and Zoning Map:

Link to the Zoning Code

Link to the Zoning Map

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHAT A LOT IS ZONED?
All land within the City of Flagstaff has a zoning designation. A lot’s zoning designation directly affects how someone may use, develop, and build structures on a lot.  Also, understanding zoning is important because it assists in determining where people live, work, and play within the city. 

WHAT IS THE ZONING CODE AND ITS PRIMARY PURPOSE?
The Zoning Code is one set of laws that have been adopted by the Flagstaff City Council as part of the Flagstaff City Code (the “City Code”) that regulate the use and development of land within the city.  For the common good of the community, these laws are intended to protect the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the people living, working, doing business and visiting within the city.  Also, the Zoning Code is one of the primary tools in achieving the City’s Goals and Policies to be a sustainable and resilient community by assisting in the mitigation of the impacts on the environment, land uses, police and fire, transportation, and water resources.  An efficient and effective Zoning Code assists in contributing to social and economic equity, and the City’s financial health.

The Zoning Code works in conjunction with other regulations of the City Code.  These regulations include:

The Flagstaff Zoning Code (the “Zoning Code”) has many purposes. The primary purpose of the Zoning Code’s specific regulations is to:

  • Provide the tools, regulations and incentives to implement the related Regional Plan’s and Specific Plans’ goals, policies and strategies as they related to the land use, development, growth, preservation and conservation of land within the City.  
  • Minimize the impact of incompatible land use and development patterns.
  • Examples include, locating low impact recreational uses (trails, parks, open space, etc.) near residential areas, and separating industrial, high traffic and intensive land uses away from residential neighborhoods.  The Zoning Code also encourages complementary uses and intensity nearer to each other.
  • Conserve and protect environmental and historic resources.
  • Assist with the environmental, social and economic sustainability of City.
  • Encourage context compatible and environmentally sensitive design to preserve the character of the City.

WHAT IS THE ZONING CODE COMPRISED OF?
The Zoning Code contains three primary parts, these include that Zoning Map, the Zoning Regulations (also referred to as the “Code” or the “Requirements”), and the Conditions of Approval.

Zoning Map
To achieve the purposes of the Zoning Code, all of the land within the City is divided into different areas or "zones." The location of these zones have been adopted by the Flagstaff City Council as part of City Code. The Zoning Map shows the precise location and boundary of each zone. Typically, the boundaries of each zone are associated with the location of the street right-of-way, private street tracks, and lot lines. There are situations where a lot may be split into two or more zones.

There are six major categories into which the Zoning Code’s zones are consolidate. These are:

  • Residential,
  • Commercial,
  • Industrial,
  • Public and Open Space,
  • Transect, and
  • Overlays.
Each of the above referenced categories contain several zones. For example, the Residential category contains seven residential zones, and the Commercial category contains five commercial zones.. The purpose of establishing the different zones within each categories is to provide for a variety of different land uses and intensity, to assist in mitigating the effects of the uses and intensity of a zone on the properties in another zone, and to provide the appropriate locations for compatible and non-compatible land uses and intensities.

The Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Public and Open Space, and Transect categories, and the Overlay category may, vary in intensity and indirect intensity. Generally, intensity refers to the number of dwelling units per acre or building type, the ratio of building floor area compared to the lot size (also known as Floor Area Ratio (FAR)), and the types of uses that each zone allows. Indirect intensity generally includes the zone’s allowed building height, open space or landscape area requirements, the amount area that a building may cover on a lot (also known as lot coverage), building setbacks from a lot line, and the traffic, noise, or pollutants that a use may generate.

Overlay zones may include additional regulations that are specific to an area that the overlay zone is applied. Also, these provisions typically include historic preservation, environmental conservation and/or protections, and building and site design considerations.

 
Zoning Regulations
The Zoning Regulations are the actual written provisions of the Zoning Code. These regulations serve two primary functions, which are the administration and the requirements of Zoning Code.

  • Administration
The administrative regulations include a variety of provisions that pertain to the Zoning Code’s administration, enforcement, implementation, interpretation and organization. In addition, the regulations include community involvement, infrastructure and permitting requirements, definitions, and the process and decision criteria pertaining to development applications (Conditional Use Permits, site plans, variance, Zoning Map Amendments, and Zoning Text Amendments).

  • Requirements
The requirements of the Zoning Code include three primary elements. These elements are the Land Uses and Lot Development Standards for each zone, and Conditions of Approval.

Land Uses 
The Zoning Code is a permissive set of land use regulations in that all land uses are allowed in at least one of the zones within the City. The types of land uses are classified as:
    • Permitted Uses: Uses that are allowed on a lot without additional City of Flagstaff approvals.
    • Conditional Uses: Discretionary uses that required the approval of a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) by the Planning and Zoning Commission, or City Council as may be applicable.  In order to obtain an approval of a Conditional Use Permits, the lot owner, or their agent, shall demonstrate, and the Planning and Zoning Commission, or City Council as may be applicable, shall demonstrate that the required criteria of the specific CUP have been met.  The criteria are typically intended to mitigate negative impacts that the use may have on nearby uses and properties. A CUP may be approved, denied, revocated, or limited to a specific period of time.
    • Accessory Uses: Is a subordinate use that is clearly incidental or customarily to the primary use of land on the same lot or parcel.
    • Temporary Uses: These uses are not intended to be permanent, may be transitional in nature, emergency situations, construction activities, seasonal sales, short period outdoors activities that typically occur indoors, and other temporary uses.
Lot Development Standards
The lot development standards include requirements for:
    • Building and wall heights                      Minimum and maximum lot sizes
    • Density (number of dwelling units)       Minimum and maximum lot sizes
    • Design standards                                 Number of stories of a building
    • Environmental resources                     Open and civic space
    • Floor Area Ratio (FAR) (intensity)        Screening
    • Historic Preservation                             Setbacks from lot lines 
    • Incentives                                              Signage
    • Landscaping                                          Parking (vehicle and bicycle) spaces
    • Lighting                                                  Use specific development standards
Conditions of Approval
Conditions of Approval are additional requirements that the City Council, the Planning and Zoning Commission, Board of Adjustment, and/or city staff adds to a lot owner’s request for a city planning approval. Typically, Conditions of Approval may be added to a Zoning Map Amendment, Conditional Use Permit, Variance, Site Plan, or other similar applications. A lot owner, and in some situations, a tenant, is required to comply with the Conditions of Approval in addition the Zoning Regulations.

Link to a brief introduction to the Zoning Code; and, "How to look up your property's zoning regulations"

Link to the Zoning Code

WHAT ARE SOME OTHER ADVANTAGES OF A ZONING CODE?
The Zoning Code provides many advantages.  These advantages include assisting to:

  • Provide for the orderly development of land and growth of the city
  • Preserve lot values
  • Regulate home occupations
  • Protect the approach and take-off slopes and other safety areas around the airport
  • incentive
    the City’s goals and policies for affordable house, “green” and sustainable development, use of reusable resources, etc.
  • Require infrastructure improvements to be provided for new development

CAN THE ZONING CODE BE AMENDED?
Yes.  Regularly over a period of time, the community needs, desires, and objectives shift, as does its economic, environmental, and vested interests.   The Zoning Code allows for modifications to the Zoning Map and Zoning Regulations.

A Zoning Map Amendment (also known as a Rezoning) is the process to change the zone on a lot, and a Zoning Text Amendment is to amend the regulations.  A Zoning Map Amendment or the Zoning Text Amendment may be initiate by a lot owner or their agent, and by the City Council. When a Zoning Map Amendment or the Zoning Text Amendment is proposed, the applicant required to demonstrate, and the City Council is required find, that the amendment is in conformance with the Regional Plan.

The Zoning Regulations prescribe the process for a Zoning Map Amendment and Zoning Text Amendment.

WHO DECIDES TO APPROVE A ZONING MAP AMENDMENT AND ZONING TEXT AMENDMENT?
The City Staff provides a recommendation to the Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council based on an application’s compliance with Zoning Code and Regional Plan and the associated required findings.  The City Staff may also provide an analysis of an application’s compliance with development agreements and other City Council adopted goals and policies.

The Planning and Zoning Commission provides a recommendation to the City Council; and, the City Council makes the decisions all Zoning Map Amendment and Zoning Text Amendment applications.  The Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council each hold a separate public hearing before a recommendation and decision made. These public hearings are open to the public, and the public may provide comments on an application.

HOW DO I LOOK UP A LOT’S ZONING MAP DESIGNATION?
Click on the following link to review the video on how to look up a lot’s Zoning Map designation:
Link to the video "How to look up a lot’s Zoning Map designation"

The Zoning Map may be viewed at the following link:
Link to the Zoning Map

Note:
You will need the lot address. 

For assistance please contact the Planning and Development Services Planner on Call.  Contact information for the Planner on Call is available at the following link:

Link to the Planner on Call contact information

HOW DO I LOOK UP A LOT’S ZONING REGULATIONS?

Click on the following link to review the video on how to look up a lot’s Zoning Regulations.
Link to, "How to look up a lot&s Zoning Regulations." video (Currently Unavailable)

The Zoning Code may be viewed at the following link:
Link to the City Code

For assistance please contact the Planning and Development Services Planner on Call.  Contact information for the Planner on Call is available at the following link:

Link to the Planner on Call contact information

HOW DO I LOOK UP A LOT’S CONDITIONS OF APPROVAL?

Conditions of Approval may be obtained from the Planning and Development Service Department, and may require the submittal of a public records request.  Some Zoning Map Amendment and Conditional Use Permit Conditions of Approval are recorded against a lot and may be obtained from the Coconino County Records office.  You will need the recordation number of the document to find the recorded Conditions of Approval.

For assistance please contact the Planning and Development Services Planner on Call.  Contact information for the Planner on Call is available at the following link:

Link to the Planner on Call contact information