The proposed revision of the Lakeland Land Development Regulations is important to the future of Lakeland and it is important that Lakeland residents, developers and builders are familiar with the proposed changes and comment on the proposed changes.
Currently the process is in the final stages of completion and there is still plenty of changes to comment on the proposed Land Development Regulations. In addition to discussions with Planning Staff (J. Higbee and Jim Atkinson), the Advisory Committee, the Lakeland Municipal Planning Commission and the Board of Commissioners will all discuss the proposed revisions at public meetings.
I am including a copy of an article by J. Higbee in which he emphasizes some important issues that are being debated.
Lakeland Land Development Regulations Project Status
by: J. Higbee, Growth Management Director
The writing of new Land Development Regulations has been underway since 2007. This would impact zoning and new land development in Lakeland.
Early on, an Advisory Committee was formed to review concepts prior to the development of a code draft, and then to review and revise the code as sections came in. Along the way the Municipal Planning Commissions (MPC), and the Board of Commissioners (BOC), have also reviewed the documents. A number of items had been largely accomplished by late 2008, including developing approaches to tree protection, open space, streets, storm water, subdivisions, buildings, zoning districts and uses, integrating the codes, making processes more efficient, and eliminating some known conflicts.
Since then, the Consultant has been making revisions, including for some items listed below, as requested by the Advisory Committee. The revisions will come with the next code draft. In 2009, the MPC and BOC held several joint sessions to review the code again. Output from these meetings may result in additional revisions. In addition, the intent is for MPC & BOC to continue with joint sessions in the immediate future, so that a 2nd review of Articles II thru IV of the current draft will be complete.
Several issues below are related to a retail typologies study that was received in 2009. This is under review by MPC & BOC. The results will be sent to the Consultant, and are likely to require revisions.
Please see the code table of contents on the City Website, under “Coding and Related Documents, I Administration”. The web page is at
-Thresholds for requiring compliance when nonconforming uses or sites expand.
Article I, II, II, & IV
-Clear breakdowns of where commission’s discretion lies, which items are administrative (staff) decisions, and decision criterion.
-Differing utility company practices regarding the location and installation of utilities, and the approval processes.
Articles II & IV
-The impact of caps on numbers of dwelling units, sizes of commercial centers, and sizes of commercial tenant spaces, and code revisions.
-Viability and form of the commercial typologies proposed.
-Visibility of commercial developments where they would not be immediately entered from planned 4-lane roads or highways, including impacts on signs.
-Concern over parking in the rear of commercial buildings from a security, accessibility, and design standpoint.
-“Corner stores” in suburban residential areas.
-The impact of the number, location, or distribution of the smallest types of residential lots.
-Controlling multi-family or attached housing.
-Coding to transition from one type of development to another.
-Control repeated “land splits”, if it could result in discontinuity, or too much intensity, in some areas.
-The impact and consequences of very-high tree bank contributions that would be required for removal of large trees.
-“Accessory dwelling units” (e.g., “in law” quarters).
-What can be required at the zoning stage so that the City can maintain control?
When can the City say “no”?
-Consistency with statutory law and case law precedents.
-Controlling the phasing of development to aid in making development viable.
-City maintenance responsibilities for rights-of-way and dedicated lands.
-Which properties to rezone, and when, if any?
As the Advisory Committee and Commissions determine needed changes, they will be introduced (including at public meetings prior to or during the adoption process). The next code draft may be delivered as soon as 1st Quarter 2010, and will be placed on the City Website.