Zoning Code Sprawl


Matt Johnson raises the curtain on Montgomery County’s proposed re-write of its zoning code:

In 1977, when the code was last rewritten, it spanned 274 pages. It’s now over 1,000 and grew by 100 pages in 2008 alone.

As with tax codes, I think there’s a natural tendency for relatively simple, functional documents dealing with this subject to become unduly complicated over time as a result of a combination of good intentions and deliberate malfeasance. It would be good practice for all jurisdictions to try to do a regular re-write in order to clear out the dead wood and rethink methods. Simple zoning of course doesn’t ensure good zoning, but it at least should make it easier for people to understand what’s going on