The City of Savannah is moving forward with the development of a new zoning ordinance and zoning map referred to as “NewZO.” The Chamber believes that, as representatives of the small business community, it is important for us to be involved in the process. Last year, the Chamber organized a NewZO working group tasked with reviewing the NewZO and making recommendations that would make the NewZO an efficient and comprehensive document.
The current zoning ordinance can be inefficient, redundant, confusing and contradictory, among other concerns. A comprehensive evaluation of the ordinance can be found in the City’s Zoning Assessment Report. One finding of the report is that the existing zoning ordinance does not always reflect best zoning and planning practices. Through this process, the following will be possible:
- Implementation of the Comprehensive Plan: As mentioned in the Background section, the NewZO will serve as a vital tool to implement the Chatham County-Savannah Comprehensive Plan, including the Future Development Map which will provide guidance for future rezoning.
- Modernization: Numerous amendments have occurred since 1960, and this has led to formatting and process issues, contradictions, and multiple zoning districts. Furthermore, as the ordinance reflects a suburban approach to development, suburban standards have been imposed on some urban neighborhoods, which has led to some inappropriate uses being allowed (and some appropriate uses not allowed). It has also forced many landowners to obtain one or more variances to develop or make improvements to their property.
- Increased Efficiency: Improved formatting, fewer zoning districts, consistent standards and streamlined review processes will make zoning more efficient and save time and money for all users.
The latest zoning ordinance draft available to the public is Draft 4, which is available for public review and comment. To leave a comment please click the Post a Comment link located under the Draft 4 Ordinance or on the Contact Us page.
The zoning map viewer used to show existing and proposed zoning districts has been updated and improved for greater functionality.
The Chamber’s NewZO working group has met with City of Savannah and Metropolitan Planning Commission staff and will continue to meet with their staff to offer recommendations to help develop an efficient and comprehensive NewZO.