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

Aerial view of homes on beach in Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii Passes First Legislation Regulating Short-Term Rentals Statewide

The new law will give counties the power to limit number or short-term rentals and convert existing short-term rental units back into long-term residential housing.

May 13, 2024 - USA Today

Google office building in Virginia.

Virginia Data Centers Draining State’s Water Supply

Being the world’s largest data center hub is having a severe impact on local water resources.

May 9, 2024 - Grist

Entrance to a drive-through car wash at night with green 'Enter' sign.

Ohio Towns Move to Ban New Car Washes

City officials in northeast Ohio are putting limits on how many car wash facilities can open in their towns.

May 16, 2024 - News 5 Cleveland

Herd of cattle grazing in field with cowboy on horse watching them.

BLM Grazing Lands Largely Fail Health Assessment

Grazing lands under the agency’s management are not meeting its own criteria for ecosystem conservation and sustainable use.

31 minutes ago - High Country News

Blue electric bus labeled with 'All-Electric Bus Wind Powered by PGE' in white in Tigard, Oregon.

TriMet Ridership Grows Thanks to Realignment, Schedule Changes

The agency’s response to post-pandemic changes in travel behavior is paying off.

2 hours ago - Portland Tribune

Close-up from back of woman walking on crosswalk with two small children on either side of her riding bicycles with training wheels.

When Small Projects Make a Big Impact

Small, mundane infrastructure projects can make meaningful changes for pedestrian and bike safety.

4 hours ago - Mayors Innovation Project

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.