What is this about? Why does the City’s Zoning Code need to be updated?

Our Zoning Code was originally adopted in 1969.  Many sections have been amended over the years –in some cases, multiple times. Because the amendments have been done piecemeal, it has resulted in a Code that is sometimes internally inconsistent, difficult to navigate, and overly complex. There are parts of the Code that may also lack consistency with the Comprehensive Plan and other relevant City and State documents. It is primarily to try to fix these problems that the City wishes to update the Code.

To this end, the City has hired Calvin, Giordano & Associates (CGA) to perform a major “housecleaning,” mainly targeted at updating, reorganizing, and simplifying the Code to make it more user friendly. This effort may involve providing clarification of existing language, removing conflicts between different sections, consolidating duplicate sections, adding graphics, and introducing more current planning principles reflective of best zoning practices.

It is also important that the Code remain up to date so as to reflect the most current vision of the City, and to ensure the standards contained therein are relevant and produce the desired character within the built environment.

How will the Code be updated?

The current Code is available online but it is almost all text, without easy-to-look-up summary tables or easy-to-understand graphic representations of complex definitions or standards. Some land uses and zoning categories are outdated, while newer uses may not be addressed. In some cases, finding one requirement involves cross-referencing several other sections of the Code, making navigation difficult. For a landowner or developer –much less an average person trying to figure out what could be built in their neighborhood— the current Code can be clunky and difficult to understand.

So, many of the improvements will focus on the organization and layout of the Code, while ensuring that obscure terminology is simplified, inconsistencies are removed, and outdated zoning practices are modernized.

What does this have to do with me? Why should I care?

A zoning code gives a municipality the ability to shape the form and character of the community – its neighborhoods, downtown, corridors and other nonresidential areas. Zoning can help the community grow sustainably by ensuring that the residents’ vision (as described in the Comprehensive Plan) is appropriately reflected in the manner that the community develops.  

Zoning determines whether you get in your car and drive to the store, walk a few blocks, or simply go downstairs to the ground floor retail. It explains why buildings may be set back from the property line, and why buildings in a certain part of the City are taller than in others. Zoning sets aside open spaces for parks and recreational areas. Older zoning codes that haven’t been holistically updated often lack clarity, transparency, and ease of use. When a code isn’t clear or consistent, it could scare away development needed to maintain economic health. It could also create friction among different groups in the community.

When completed, the updated Zoning Code will set the tone for Pembroke Pines’ development for a long time to come. This is why it is important for you to participate in the update process, voicing your ideas.  A modern Code will provide more clarity, certainty and expediency for all users of the Code in the community: City staff, review and decision-making bodies, property owners, advocates, developers, lawyers, realtors, designers, and the average person, resulting in better development outcomes.

How do I get involved?

Here are some ways to become involved:

  • Register your email address to receive notifications, review published project information, and provide feedback via the online comment form provided.
  • Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
  • Attend our public workshops. We will hold two (2) throughout the process, which will go on through the first half of 2020. The first workshop is anticipated to take place at the end of August, 2019 and will be geared towards collecting input. Register to get more details soon! The second workshop will likely take place in January 2020, when CGA’s recommendations will be ready for public review.