In a 4-to-1 vote, the Lodi City Council approved a new development code and zoning map on Wednesday night that will dictate rules for new construction in the city for years to come.
Mayor Alan Nakanishi voted against approving the documents after asking whether the city could meet the plan's objectives without passing the plan itself, which he worried would create more regulations.
Below are some key questions about the documents:
What is the development code?
In 2010, the city of Lodi adopted the General Plan, a document that will guide development in Lodi for the next 20 years.
The development code is the document the city staff and the public will use to implement the goals outlined in the General Plan, City Manager Rad Bartlam said.
"Zoning is important because it tells property owners, developers and people in the neighborhood what uses can go where," he said.
Someone moving into a new neighborhood would likely use the zoning maps to know what their neighborhood would look like in the future.
The code also creates sections throughout the city to make sure compatible uses are located next to each other, and incompatible uses are not. For example, most people would not like to live in homes next to industrial businesses, Bartlam said.
Why did the development code need to be updated?
The last development code was passed in 1956, Bartlam said. City staff and the council first started discussing updating the code in 1999, but it was delayed twice because of the economy, reduced staff and strained budgets, the city manager said.
Since the 1950s, the code has been updated and changed. But because there was never a complete overhaul, Bartlam said the code is often not in compliance with the city's General Plan, its policies and state and federal laws.
How has the city improved the plan?
Through the process, the city has streamlined many of the regulations in the development code to make it easier for people to understand, Bartlam said.
For example, the city reduced the number of zoning districts from 10 to four.
"You do not have to have a master's degree in city planning to interpret what it says," Bartlam said.
Councilman Larry Hansen thanked the staff for more than a decade of work on the document.
"I never thought this day would come that we would actually be approving this," Hansen said.
To see a copy of the land use development code, go to www.lodi.gov. Click on "Meeting Agendas," and then "City Council." It is a separate document, titled "Item G-01 Development Code."
Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at firstname.lastname@example.org.