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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - A public hearing is scheduled tonight before the Rochester City Council concerning a proposed rewrite of the city's zoning ordinances.

The proposal is called the Unified Development Code and is designed to replace the Rochester Land Development Manual that was adopted 30 years ago. Work on creating the new zoning ordinance began in January 2020.

City officials say the Unified Development Code will bring the City of Rochester's development practices into the 21st Century and will make it easier to interpret for everyone. The agenda item for tonight's City Council meeting says the revised development regulations build on the goals and objectives identified by the comprehensive plan adopted by the City Council in 2018. The goals include "enabling the densities that support a successful transit network by integrating land use and transportation, allowing a wider variety of housing types to promote affordability and different lifestyles, and allowing more mixed-use development."

City of Rochester
City of Rochester
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Besides the provisions involving allowed development within the zoning districts established by the Unified Development Code, the expansive document details a long list of city regulations concerning signage, lighting, boulevard trees, landscaping, parking, and other issues. It also encompasses the city’s Heritage Preservation ordinance and regulations on wetlands conservation.

Following the public hearing, the City Council is expected to direct the City Attorney to bring back the plan in the form of an ordinance for a first reading on September 19. If approved, the new zoning regulations would likely take effect in January.

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