Ruston, Louisiana Adopts New Clearzoning Ordinance
By: Mark Winter
RUSTON, LA., November 28, 2012 – Clearzoning, a Michigan-based planning consulting and coding firm, assisted the city of Ruston, LA., located in Lincoln Parish, with development of a new zoning code, aimed at revitalizing the city’s downtown and increasing connectivity with surrounding areas, preserving existing suburban neighborhoods, and encouraging business development through a faster, easier zoning process. Clearzoning President Rodney Arroyo made the announcement.
Arroyo and Clearzoning Principal Planner Jill Bahm met with stakeholders and worked closely with the Ruston city staff, led by Planning Administrator Pat Doane, to clarify confusing zoning language, update code provisions and streamline the development review process. New “form-based” provisions were included to assist with revitalizing the historic downtown areas as recommended in the City’s Ruston 21 Comprehensive Plan. The new zoning ordinance identifies specific building forms and land uses that make the core districts more pedestrian-friendly as well as encourages connectivity between downtown and Louisiana Tech University’s developing Tech Village area.
“Our old code was created in 1959, and many things were out of date and inconsistent with the city’s vision for the future,” noted Doane. “The new code really has the city’s future in mind and is filled with helpful illustrations and is designed to work online, making it easier for people to find answers to basic zoning questions.” One of the most important changes to the code is that it makes business development predictable and easy by replacing conditional uses with uses by right in the appropriate zones. Now a business can just look at the code and know if the use is allowed instead of having to go through an uncertain two-month long zoning hearing process.
Once the draft code was completed in the spring of 2012, another series of meetings with local businesses and the real estate community resulted in additional clarification and refinements. Scott Terry, Ruston Chamber of Commerce president, was pleased with the new code and planning process. “We appreciate the opportunity to be involved, and look forward to a continued relationship with the city on future planning and zoning matters,” stated Terry at the November 5, 2012 Board of Alderman public hearing.
Peter Gallagher, president of the University Hills Neighborhood Association also gave his support of the new code. He remarked that, “people didn’t understand what was on the books because the old code was so hard to read. Now it’s a very user-friendly document.”
“We have really enjoyed the opportunity to partner with the City of Ruston,” said Arroyo. “Our planning and zoning experience combined with the local knowledge and perspective of the city’s staff, officials and community members resulted in a unique zoning code that was tailored to the needs of the community.”
Details of the new code are available on the City of Ruston’s website at www.ruston.org.
To download any of the photos below, please click on each image.
A sample of the residential 2-family district
Clearzoning Code for Ruston, Louis.
A guide on how to use the new Clearzoning Code.
Downtown Ruston, Louis.
Park in downtown Ruston.
Founded in 2007, Clearzoning has over 50 years of combined experience in writing, illuminating and transforming municipal zoning codes. Clearzoning offers unique services to municipalities by helping to improve customer service and attract economic development through ordinances that are easier to understand and navigate. The company’s process transforms local zoning codes into digital documents that are user-friendly and available around the clock and around the world. Clearzoning is based in Lathrup Village, Mich. For more information, please visit www.clearzoning.com or follow on Twitter at twitter.com/clearzoning.