New twist to land use: let focus group decide before planners and politicians do

The Saint ReportPlanning and Zoning, Politicians and Planning, saintblog0 Comments

meetingShould focus groups mull zoning proposals before planners and politicians decide any change? That’s the novel approach to land use politics that Williamsburg, Va. has chosen to consider a zoning change.

Mayor Jeanne Zeidler wants to form a focus group to consider a zoning change about the number of unrelated people who can live in the same rented unit. Both the City Council and Planning Commission have delayed further action until they hear from the focus group.

But first, reports Dan Parsons in the Williamsburg Daily Press, the mayor has to decide how large the focus group should be, then hire a facilitator to guide the group, and she has to think through what the group’s responsibility will be. The issue is whether to amend the existing zoning ordinance to allow four unrelated people to live in a single rented unit under certain circumstances. Maybe the mayor should pick four such people and ask them to determine how they would reduce their joint tenancy to three.

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