Overview of Zoning Rules
Zoning is a set of rules that establish what land uses are permitted (or not permitted) for a specified piece of property.
A general rule that is often over-looked in re-zoning cases is that the rules DO NOT specific: (1) whether the users are owners or renters, (2) what type of people will be using the property, i.e. seniors, families, etc. or (3) what the property will eventually look like. Usually when owners/developers approach the city for a change they present a "plan" (often with pretty pictures and maps) showing their proposed vision for the property.
However zoning rules generally only list general rules and uses for the property. For example, if the rules allow for residential dwelling units, it would permit owner-occuptees or renters. If it includes pretty pictures and drawings, the zoning rules allow for anything that meets the "letter of the law".
Lakewood's zoning codes divides the city into dozens of specific zones, each with their own rules. In general terms each zone category is defined by three elements: (1) board category - Residential, Commercial and Mixed-Use, (2) general type of activity - employment, transit and (3) density type - urban, suburban and
Each zone category has general guidelines and then an accompanying list of specific uses that are permitted. This list of permitted uses is generally pretty broad and liberal. Any specified use may be at odds with the general vision of the zone.
An example of this is Mixed-Use (M) zones. The general guidelines call for a mixtures of different uses that complement each other. The perfect example is a property with commercial retail units on the ground floor, offices on the second floor and residences on the upper floors.
However, the M category zones list a wide range of permitted uses including an unlimited number of residential units. The current code has been misused to permit the entire project to be ,