Last December, the Denton City Council voted to approve an agreement with Clarion Associates for a rewrite of the city of Denton’s development code.
A development code is a code adopted by a city that lays out the requirements and guidelines for development in the city. Development in the city can be businesses coming in, houses, landscaping, etc. The code lays out rules and regulations as to what those development projects are allowed to encompass.
Denton’s current code, which was adopted back in 2002, was deemed “cumbersome and inefficient” for the direction the city is going in.
“When it was adopted several concessions were made in the final moments,” Shandrian Jarvis, the city of Denton’s administrator of the development review committee said. “It led to inconsistencies between various sections and conflicting requirements.”
While the rewrite of the code has been in the works since 2013, Jarvis said it was put on hold last year in order to “re-route staff” for Denton’s new growth plan, Denton Plan 2030.
Denton hadn’t updated its growth plan since the turn of last century, and was seemingly out of date with the current times and trends. Enter Denton’s 2030 plan, a new plan adopted last February to help the city cope and plan better around the changing demographics and trends of the city.
Jarvis said the re-write of the development code will “align” better with certain aspects of the new growth plan, such as zoning, land use categories and design standards.
“Now the challenge is to discern where the disconnects are in the code and what needs to be revised,” said Munal Mauladad, the deputy director of development services.
Clarion Associates, a Denver-based firm, will be assisting in re-writing the code. Specifically, they will be “facilitating public meetings,” as well as drafting the majority of the document. Jarvis mentioned the next couple weeks will consist of finalizing the public involvement strategy, as well as creating a website dedicated for regular updates during the process. There is also a state-required public hearing process, which requires the Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council to hold public hearings on the documents. Lastly, the Council will adopt an ordinance to approve the new code.
“We hope that the new code will help the city come into the 21 century in terms of its built environment,” Jarvis said. “We will tailor the new code to be specific to Denton.”
The new document will have a focus on aspects such as design standards, zoning districts, land use categories, infill and redevelopment standards.
Denton’s Planning and Zoning Commission will be meeting on Wednesday to discuss the code further and consider the creation of a subcommittee for the code, as well as who to appoint to it.
Some complaints about the current code’s rules are it makes it too hard to build new homes and set up businesses, specifically in used buildings. Stakeholders (typically property owners and developers) have been asking for new rules. Jarvis said the goal is to design a code that works with the growth plans of Denton, whose population grew by over 39 percent from 2000 to 2010 according to the US Census Bureau (the US population had a growth rate of 9.7 percent during that time period).
Denton is making an effort to reach out to the community and hear what they want out of the new code. This includes utilizing the city’s website and public meetings.
The code is expected to be complete in early 2018. Clarion Associates could not be reached for comment on their role at this time.
Featured Image: Denton, Texas. Google Maps