Columbus Set to Reform Zoning Code

City officials want to streamline the permitting process for developers looking to build housing.

2 minute read

September 7, 2023, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Aerial view of Columbus, Ohio skyline with river in foreground

Nicholas J. Klein / Adobe Stock

City officials in Columbus, Ohio are announcing “major changes” coming to the city’s zoning code, which hasn’t been significantly updated in over 70 years, according to an article by Bill Bush in The Columbus Dispatch.

“City officials said at a public meeting Aug. 21 that the proposed zoning changes under its ‘Zone In’ effort are meant to streamline the process, making it easier for developers to gain city approval without the need to obtain variances — or exceptions to the rules routinely made by City Council on a case-by-case basis.” Other cities are approving similar zoning reforms to boost their housing supplies and improve affordability.

Details of the plan are yet to be finalized, but Keven Wheeler, an assistant development director for growth policies in Columbus, says the first step will be targeting major transportation corridors for zoning reform to allow for residential development and reduce parking requirements.

Bush notes that “The new Columbus zoning code will — by design — deliver more urban density to provide more housing.” Critics like real estate broker Judy Minister say the city needs more single-family homes, noting that 22,000 apartment units were under construction in the Columbus area in 2022.

“Following passage of the new zoning code for the corridor areas, city officials plan to begin to draft an updated code for neighborhoods and other areas of the city.”

Tuesday, September 5, 2023 in The Columbus Dispatch

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