Testing the Zoning Ordinance

Zoning Practice — November 2017

By Christopher Jennette, AICP


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Ordinance testing refers to putting regulations through their paces, ensuring that planners and zoning professionals fully understand the consequences and impacts of what they are proposing, drafting, discussing, and ultimately adopting. Testing can take a variety of forms, from presenting "proof of concept" draft districts that allow us to gauge the level of support for general approaches, to completing complex GIS analyses.

Assessing the impacts of zoning regulations before they are enacted is invaluable in ensuring that an updated or revised ordinance will suit the community it is designed to serve. The overarching benefit that testing can provide is the opportunity to evaluate any proposed regulations or approaches in action before they are formally adopted and enacted as part of a new zoning ordinance.

This issue of Zoning Practice discusses when, what, and how to test zoning ordinances and regulations, and it provides examples of how testing has been used to produce zoning ordinances that are more predictable and more closely customized to the needs and desires of their communities.


Page Count
Date Published
Nov. 1, 2017
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American Planning Association

About the Author

Christopher Jennette, AICP
Chris Jennette, AICP, ASLA is a trained landscape architect, planner, and urban designer. As a Senior Associate with Camiros, Chris has worked with communities across the country on a broad range of project types--from downtown plans, neighborhood revitalization plans, and comprehensive plans, to commercial corridors and parks master plans. This breadth of experience in both planning and design informs his approach to tackling a community's complex regulatory challenges.