Parkville has just replaced its “dinosaur” with a up-to-date Zoning Code and Subdivision Regulations development code. City staff says the change, adopted Feb. 7, will help cut through much of the red tape of building in Parkville and improve the overall quality of life for the city.
The City of Parkville adopted a master plan in 2009 that focused on goals like integrated land use, sustainability and protecting the character of the community. The problem was, the city was working with a zoning code and subdivision regulations created in the 1950s.
While the old code had been adjusted over time, it had never been fully revised. The needs of the growing city have changed greatly and the code simply did not allow for some of the ideals in the master plan to be put into place, said Parkville Community Development Director Stephen Lachky.
Lachky said the old code required winding through a lot of bureaucracy to make changes to building plans. It might take months to get approval for even a small change to a building project. It was also large, text-driven and could be difficult to understand.
“The way our code was written before, there wasn’t enough flexibility,” Lachky said. “There were too many things that had to go through our planning commission and the Board of Aldermen. There was a lot of bureaucracy for small changes, like a new sign or addition to a building.”
Now instead of searching through pages and pages of code text, residents and developers will be able to use online tables and charts to look for answers. The intention is to make the city code more user-friendly.
Lachky said another advantage of the new code is that it allows for things that were in the 2009 master plan for the city to be implemented. For example, pocket parks and residential space over retail were part of that master plan, but were prevented by the old city building code.
The plan also includes items that weren’t around in the 1950s, like telecommunication facilities. It updates good practices for the types of parks that can be added to new developments. It also takes a look at sustainability. For the first time, the Parkville code includes a set of regulations for landscaping in new developments.
“It adds to the quality of life,” Lachky said. “That was emphasized in our master plan. So, we wanted a zoning code that adds to a better quality of life, as well.”
The new development code also addresses design guidelines for the Old Town residential area. Lachky said until now, there had not been any regulations aimed at protecting the area’s charm and historic character.
The new code specifies regulations for front yards, fences, hedges, retaining walls, front porches and other features of homes in the area in attempt to keep new construction in line with the current homes in the neighborhood. It includes landscaping regulations encouraging the preservation of mature trees.
A complete version of the new code can be seen at parkvillemo.gov/download/ZoningCodeUpdate_FinalDraft.pdf