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Why Zoning Matters

ReZone-Web-BlogIt is perhaps a very well-kept secret that so much of our community is shaped by zoning codes. Day-to-day life consists of our homes and neighborhoods, our commutes, our favorite shopping centers, our hobbies, and our favorite recreational activities. Our lives, when played out in movies, are in a scene set by zoning codes.

The City of Cedar Rapids is updating its zoning code, which will help make sure it more closely aligns with the City’s new comprehensive plan. Along the way, we are asking the public to give us feedback on how they want the scene in Cedar Rapids to look. Public outreach has been ongoing since last summer, and we invite your feedback to continue.

Why should you care about zoning codes? Here are 10 good reasons:

  1. Zoning keeps things organized: Industrial areas are not suitable near residential neighborhoods; and new construction should take into consideration a neighborhood’s existing context.
  2. Zoning creates housing opportunities: Single-family homes, condos, duplexes, townhomes…all are important for a community to have housing options for everyone.
  3. Zoning impacts recreational activities: Everything from backyard beekeeping to urban chickens are detailed in zoning codes.
  4. Zoning promotes health: Neighborhoods that have sidewalks and a mix of uses, such as schools, homes, and neighborhood services within walking distance, encourage walking and activity.
  5. Zoning promotes neighborhood character: Street trees, the height of buildings, and parking lot size and location are all outlined in zoning codes and help establish how a neighborhood looks.
  6. Zoning encourages creativity: Neighborhoods can be distinctly “their own” and offer a blend of retail, dining, and living options that fit the characteristics of their neighborhood.
  7. Zoning helps attract development: Cities can remain competitive by adopting development-friendly zoning codes.
  8. Zoning can improve the environment: Environmentally-friendly cities have zoning codes that make it easier for residents and property owners to choose solar power or pursue stormwater improvements.
  9. Zoning supports smart growth: It provides for the preservation of open spaces and parkland, supports diversity in housing and land use, and encourages development in areas that already have existing infrastructure and services.
  10. Zoning is the difference between being “Anytown USA” or a town of distinction that celebrates its history and culture.

We invite your full participation as we explore how our zoning update can positively impact our residents and their neighborhoods.

Please take a moment and share your feedback on a number of key issues shaped by zoning codes.


You can also share your thoughts by emailing us at communitydevelopment@cedar-rapids.org.

I look forward to meeting you at our next open house.

Anne Russet
City Planner

  Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 101 First Street SE

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