117 terms

Land Use Planning Terminology

Vocabulary from 'The Job of the Planning Commissioner' by Albert Solnit, 3rd edition revised. If you find this vocabulary quiz useful & don't already own the text, please support the author by purchasing his book: ISBN-13: 978-0918286512 ISBN-10: 0918286514 [original Quizlet by Larissa Williams. Compiled in furtherance of her Certified Planning Commissioner certificate]
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abandonment
_____ is a situation where a residential building is abandoned by its owner.
accessory use
An activity or structure incidental or secondary to the principal use on the same site is called _____ _____.
aesthetic zoning
The regulations of building design and site developments in the interest of appearance are known as _____ _____.
air rights
The right to use the air space over the property of someone else, typically over railways and highways is referred to as _____ _____.
amortization
_____ is a term used in zoning to mean the process by which nonconforming uses and structures must be discontinued or made to conform to requirements of the ordinance at the end of a specified period of time.
architectural control
_____ _____ consists of regulations and procedures requiring structures to be suitable, harmonious, and in keeping with the general appearance, historical character, or style of their surrounding area.
bonuses
Incentive zoning, also known as _____, are the awarding of bonus credits to a development in the form of allowing more intensive use of the land if such public benefits as special provisions for low- and moderate-income housing are made, or public plazas and courts are provided at ground level.
buffer zone
A _____ _____ is a strip of land created to separate and protect one type of land use from another
building area
The _____ _____ is the total square footage of a lot covered by a building measured on a horizontal plane at mean grade level, exclusive of uncovered porches, terraces, and steps.
building code
The _____ _____ is a document containing regulations governing building design, construction, and maintenance. They are based on the government's police power to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
building envelope
The _____ _____ is the net cubic space that remains for placing a structure on a site after building line, setback, side yard, height, and bulk regulations are observed.
building line
A building limit fixed at a specific distance from the front or side boundaries of a lot beyond which a structure cannot lawfully extend is called the _____ _____.
bulk regulations
_____ _____ are zoning or other regulations that by controlling the height, mass, density, and location of buildings set a maximum limit on the intensity of development so as to provide proper light, air, and open space.
capital improvement program
The _____ _____ _____ is a governmental timetable of permanent improvements budgeted to fit fiscal capability some years into the future.
carrying capacity
The _____ _____ is the level of land use or human activity that can be permanently accommodated without an irreversible change in the quality of air, water, land, or plant and animal habitats.

In human settlements, this term also refers to the upper limits beyond which the quality of life, community character, or human health, welfare, and safety will be impaired.
certificate of compliance
The _____ _____ _____ is commonly used synonymously with a zoning permit in which an official certifies that the plans for a proposed use are in conformance with the zoning ordinance.

In a second, much less commonly used application, the term means an enforcement device which, in reference to a certain class of structure (usually multiple-family dwelling), incorporates in one document an indication of conformance, or lack thereof, with the several municipal codes-- zoning, building, housing, occupancy-- which may apply to a specific property.
cluster development
A _____ _____ is a type of development that allows the reductions of lot sizes below the zoning ordinance's minimum requirements if the land thereby gained is preserved as permanent open space for the community. Also called cluster zoning.
code enforcement
_____ _____ is the attempt by a government unit to cause property owners and others responsible for buildings and related land to bring their properties up to standards required by building codes, housing codes, and other ordinances.
combination zones
Zones which are superimposed over other zones and which either add further requirements or replace certain requirements of the underlying zone are called _____ _____.
community facilities
_____ _____ are public or privately owned facilities used by the public, such as streets, schools, libraries, parks, and playgrounds; also facilities owned and operated by nonprofit private agencies such as churches, settlement houses, and neighborhood associations.
compatibility
The characteristics of different uses or activities that permit them to be located near each other in harmony without conflict is called _____.
condemnation
_____ is the taking of private property by a government unit for public use, when the owner will not relinquish it through sale or other means; the owner is recompensed by payment of "market value." The power to take the property is based on the concept of "eminent domain."
conditional rezoning
_____ _____ is the attachment of special conditions to a rezoning which are not spelled out in the text of the ordinance. Along with other devices to assure compliance, it may bind the developer to the conditions through filing a covenant.
conditional use
_____ _____ is use that may locate in certain zoning districts provided it will not be detrimental to the public health, morals, and welfare and will not impair the integrity and character of the zoned district.
condominium
The legal arrangement in which a dwelling unit in an apartment building or residential development is individually owned but in which the common areas are owned, controlled, and maintained through an organization consisting of all the individual owners is known as a _____.
conservation easement
A _____ _____ is a tool for acquiring open space with less than full-fee purchase; the public agency buys only certain specific rights from the owner. These may be positive rights, giving the public rights to hunt, fish, hike, or ride over the land, or they may be restricted rights limiting the uses to which the owner may put the land in the future.
conversion
A _____ is the partitioning of a single-dwelling unit into two or more separate households or the conversion of the use of an existing building into another use. When performed illegally, the common term is "bootleg _____".
cooperative
A _____ is a group of dwellings or an apartment building that is jointly owned by the residents, the common ownership including the open space and all other parts of the property.
cost benefit analysis
A _____ _____ _____ is an approach to evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of a project, policy, action, etc., in which an attempt is made to quantify the various results, so that the pros and cons can more objectively be compared with one another.
dedication
A _____ is the turning over of private land for public use by an owner or developer, and its acceptance for such use by the governmental agency in charge of the public function for which it will be used.
payment in lieu of dedication
A _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ is a cash payment required as a substitute for a dedication of land by an owner or developer, usually at so many dollars per lot.
control of density
A limitation on the occupancy of land is called _____ _____ _____.
density transfer
_____ _____ is a technique of retaining open space by concentrating residential densities, usually in compact areas adjacent to existing urbanization and utilities, with outlying areas being left open, so that the residential density of the entire community will average out at the same number of dwelling units as if the community were developed from end to end with large lots.
development rights
_____ _____ are a broad range of less-than-fee-simple ownership interests, mainly referring to easements. Thus, an owner can retain complete or absolute (fee simple) rights to land and sell the _____ _____ to another.
downzoning
_____ is a change in the zoning classification of land to classification permitting development that is less intensive or dense, such as from multifamily to single-family or from commercial or industrial to residential. A change in the opposite direction is called "upzoning."
due process at law
_____ _____ _____ _____ is generally, a requirement that legal proceedings be carried out in accordance with established rules an principles. Commonly, it takes two forms: procedural and substantive.
procedural due process
_____ _____ _____ is an assurance that all parties to a proceeding are treated fairly and equally, that citizens have a right to have their views heard, that necessary information is available for informed opinions to be developed, that conflicts of interest are avoided, and that, generally, the appearance of, as well as the fact of, corruption does not exist.
substantive due process
_____ _____ _____ usually refers to the payment by government of "just compensation" to property owners when their property is condemned by government or is severely diminished in value because of government action.
easement
An _____ is the right to use property owned by another for specific purposes.
eminent domain
_____ _____ is the right of a government to make a taking of private property for public use or benefit upon payment of just compensation to the owner.
Inverse condemnation
_____ _____ is a condition in which the governmental use of police power to regulate the use of land is so severe that it represents a de facto taking of private property for public benefit or use without just compensation.
environmental impact
_____ _____ is an assessment of a proposed project or activity to determine whether it will have significant environmental effects on the natural and manmade environments.
negative declaration
When it is determined after an environmental impact assessment that no significant environmental impact will result a _____ _____ is submitted instead of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
Environmental Impact Report
The _____ _____ _____ is the detailed report on how a project will effect the environment after an environmental impact assessment has been performed.
exaction
_____ is a contribution or payment required as an authorized precondition for receiving a development permit. It usually refers to mandatory dedication or fee in lieu of dedication requirements found in many subdivision regulations.
exception
An _____ is the official provision of an exemption from compliance with the terms of conditions of a building or zoning regulation by a local board or administrator vested with the power to authorize it.
Also called a variance.
exclusionary zoning
Zoning which has the effect of keeping out a community racial minority, poor people, or in some cases, additional population of any kind is called _____ _____.
externalities
_____ are the impacts on others beyond the direct beneficiaries or targets of a course of action.
(also known as side effects, spillovers, or repercussion effects)
family
In many zoning ordinances, the legal definition of a _____ is a group of two or more persons related by blood, marriage, or adoption residing together; this is basic occupancy intended for "single-family residence" districts.
final subdivision map
A _____ _____ _____ is a map of an approved sub-division filed in the county recorder's office. It usually shows surveyed lot lines, street rights of way, easements, monuments, and distances, angles, and bearings pertaining to the exact dimensions of all parcels, street lines, and so forth. Also called a plat.
finding
A _____ is a determination of conclusion based on the evidence presented and prepared by a hearings body in support of its decision.
floating zone
A _____ _____ is zoning district that is described in the text of the zoning ordinance but not mapped as a specific district in a specific location.
Also called design district.
floor area ratio
The _____ _____ _____ is a formula for determining permitted building volume as a multiple of the area of the lot.
(FAR)
general plan
A _____ _____ is a legal document often in the form of a map and accompanying text adopted by the local legislative body. The plan is a compendium of its general policies regarding the long-term development of its jurisdiction. It is also called a city plan, comprehensive plan, or master plan.
growth management
_____ _____ is the use by a community of a wide range of techniques in combination to permit it to determine its own amount, type, and rate of growth and to channel it into designated areas.
Also called growth-control or land-use development management.
guidelines
_____ are undefined statements of policy direction around which specific details may be established later.
highest and best use
The _____ _____ _____ _____ is the use of land in such a way that its development will bring maximum profit to the owner. It's a theoretical real estate concept often heard at zoning hearings.
halfway houses
_____ _____ are therapeutic residences that provide a sheltered and transitional environment for persons emerging from mental or penal institutions or drug treatment centers. Many jurisdictions treat them as conditional uses in order to allay public fears.
improved land
_____ _____ is raw land that has been improved with basic facilities such as roads, sewers water lines, and other public infrastructure facilities in preparation for meeting development standards.
developed area
Land with buildings and utilities is called a _____ _____.
infrastructure
Streets, water and sewer lines, and other public facilities necessary to the functioning of an urban area are known as _____.
Interim zone
An _____ _____ is a zoning technique used to temporarily freeze development in an area until a permanent classification for it can be decided upon. It is generally used to preserve the status quo while an area or community wide comprehensive plan is prepared to serve as a basis for permanent zoning. Also called study zone.
land-use plan
A _____-_____ _____ is a basic element of a comprehensive plan. It designates the future use or reuse of the land within a given jurisdiction's planning area, and the policies and reasoning used in arriving at the decisions in the plan.
leapfrog development
_____ _____ is development that occurs well beyond the existing limits of urban development and thus leaves intervening vacant land behind. This bypassing of the next-in-line lands at the urban fringe results in the haphazard shotgun pattern of urbanization known as "sprawl."
lot of record
A lot which is part of a recorded subdivision or a parcel of land which has been recorded, usually at a county recorder's office containing property tax records is referred to as a _____ _____ _____.
mandatory referral
A _____ _____ is the process of referring specified proposals to the planning commission (and sometimes to other departments or agencies) for review.
metes and bounds
_____ _____ _____ is a system of describing and identifying land by measures (metes) and direction (bounds) from an identifiable point of reference such as a monument or other marker, the corner of intersecting streets, or, in rural areas, a tree or other permanent feature. It is the most precise of the three most common forms of urban land description (the others are by street number of house and by blocks and lots in tract subdivision).
Mobile home
A _____ _____ is a factory-built home, equipped with all of the basic amenities of a conventional home which can be moved to its site by attaching it whole or in sections to an automobile or truck.

Note- a trailer is a much smaller mobile shelter, usually used for camping and outings rather than as a permanent dwelling.
moratorium
In planning, a _____ is a freeze on all new development pending the completion and adoption of a comprehensive plan.
neighborhood
A _____ is the smallest subarea in city planning, defined as a residential area whose residents have public facilities and social institutions in common, generally within walking distance of their homes.
nonconforming use
A structure or use that is not permitted by its present district's zoning regulations is called a _____ _____. If it was established after the enactment of the ordinance, it is illegal and may be abated, but if it existed before the regulations, it is a legal nonconforming use and may continue, although a new or different nonconforming use may not replace it.
nuisance
A _____ is anything that interferes with the use or enjoyment of property, endangers personal health or safety, or is offensive to the senses.
official map
An _____ _____ is a detailed public-improvements plan adopted by the city council or county board of supervisors that protects the sites and rights-of-way shown on it from preemption by private development for a limited period, during which the required land can be acquired by conventional acquisition procedures.
open land district
An _____ _____ _____ is a zoning classification that limits the allowable uses to agriculture, recreation, parks, reservoirs, and water supply lands. Most commonly used for publicly owned lands of public agencies, but also used in areas subject to flooding and other natural hazards.
(OA)
open space
_____ _____ is that part of the countryside which has not been developed and which is desirable for preservation in its natural state for ecological, historical, or recreational purposes, or in its cultivated state to preserve agricultural, forest, or urban greenbelt areas.
parcel
A _____ is a lot or contiguous group of lots in single ownership or under single control and usually considered a unit for purposes of development.
peak hour
For any given highway, the sixty-minute period of the day during which it carries its highest volume of traffic is called the _____ _____.
performance standards
_____ _____ are zoning regulations providing specific criteria limiting the operations of certain industries, land uses, and buildings to acceptable levels of noise, air pollution emissions, odors, vibration, dust, dirt, glare, heat, fire hazards, wastes, traffic generation, and visual impact.
planned unit development
A _____ _____ _____ is a self-contained development, often with a mixture of housing types and densities, in which the subdivision and zoning controls are applied to the project as a whole rather than to individual lots, as in most subdivisions.
(PUD)
police power
_____ _____ is the inherent right of a government to restrict an individual's conduct or use of property in order to protect the health, safety, welfare, and morals of the community.
preliminary subdivision map
A _____ _____ _____ is the first formal submission by a subdivider and usually in the form of a map with accompanying documents providing the information about the proposed subdivision required by the local subdivision ordinance.
principal use
_____ _____ is the main use of land or structures as distinguished from a secondary or accessory use. A house is a principle use in a residential area; a garage or pool is an accessory use.
reversion clause
A _____ _____ is a requirement that may accompany special use permit approval or a rezoning that returns the property to its prior zoning classification if a specified action does not begin in a specified period of time.
right-of-way
The right of passage over the property of another is called _____-_____-_____.
road system
A _____ _____ is the classification of streets and highways by their diverse functions and design. The following is the commonly used hierarchy of streets and highways for planning purposes:
local street, collector, major arterial, expressway, freeway, parkway
local street
A roadway allowing access to abutting land, serving local traffic only is called a _____ _____.
collector
A street whose function is to channel traffic from local streets to major arterials' it has direct access to abutting properties is called the _____.
major arterial
A _____ _____ is a road that serves through-traffic movement across urban areas, often subject to controlled access from properties fronting on the right-of-way.
expressway
An _____ is a divided multilane highway whose purpose is to move large volumes of through traffic from one part of a metropolitan area to another; intersections are separated by under- or over passes at major intersections. It does not provide land-access service between intersections.
freeway
A _____ is a multilane highway with full grade separation, total control of access, median strips, and fencing, or landscaping strips along the sides. It basically serves intercity and interstate traffic.
parkway
A _____ is an expressway or freeway designed for non-commercial traffic only; usually located within a strip of landscaped park or natural vegetation.
septic tank
A _____ _____ is a tank plus a leaching field or trenches in which sewage is purified by bacterial action.
cesspool
A _____ is a perforated buried tank that allows the liquid effluent to seep into the surrounding soils but retains most of the solids and must be periodically pumped out.
setback regulations
_____ _____ are the requirements of building laws that a building be set back a certain distance from the street or lot line either on the street level or at a prescribed height. Their aim is to allow more room for the pedestrian or reduce the obstruction to sunlight reaching the streets and lower stories of adjoining buildings.
sewage system
A _____ _____ is a facility designed for the collection, removal, treatment, and disposal of waterborne sewage generated within a given service area. It usually consists of a collection network of pipelines and a treatment facility to purify and discharge the treated wastes.
site plan
A plan, to scale, showing uses and structures proposed for a parcel of land as required by the regulations involved is called the _____ _____.
site plan review
A _____ _____ _____ is the process whereby local officials, usually the planning commission and staff, review the site plans and maps of a developer to assure they meet the stated purposes and standards of the zone, provide for the necessary public facilities, and protect and preserve topographical features and adjacent properties through appropriate siting of structures and landscaping.
special use
A _____ _____ permit can be issued on the basis of the application alone, and the applicant can proceed under the permit without further inspections.
spot zoning
_____ _____ is the awarding of a use classification to an isolated parcel of land which is detrimental or incompatible with the uses of the surrounding area, particularly when such an act favors a particular owner. Such zoning has been held to be illegal by the courts on the grounds that it is unreasonable and capricious. A general plan or special circumstance such as historical value, environmental importance, or scenic value would justify this action for a small area.
standards
While often used loosely to refer to all requirements in a zoning ordinance, the term _____ is usually used to mean site design regulations such as lot area, height limits, frontage, landscaping, yards, and floor area ration-- as distinguished from use restrictions.
strip zone
A _____ _____ is a melange of development, usually commercial, extending along both sides of a major street leading out of the center of a city.
subdivision
The process of laying out a parcel of raw land into lots, blocks, streets, and public areas is _____.
taking
_____ is the appropriation by government of private land for which compensation must be paid.
trip
A _____ is the journey from the traveler's point of origin to the destination and the smallest unit of movement considered by transportation studies.
trip generation
The dynamics that account for people making trips in autos or transit is called _____ _____.
urban design
_____ _____ is the attempt to give form, in terms of both beauty and function, to entire areas or to whole cities.
urban fringe
_____ _____ is an area at the edge of an urban area usually made up of mixed agricultural and urban land uses. Where leap-frogging or sprawl is the predominant pattern, this mixture of urban and rural may persist for several decades until the process of urbanization is completed.
urban limit line
The _____ _____ _____ is an area, identified through official public policy, within which urban development will be allowed during a specified time period. Beyond this line, development is prohibited or strongly discouraged.
Also called urban service area.
urban renewal
_____ _____ is a governmental program generally aimed at the renovation of blighted urban areas through public expenditures for replacing slums with better housing, rehabilitating or conserving sound structures, and providing opportunities for new and better commercial, industrial, and public buildings as well as for an improved urban environment.
vacancy ratio
A _____ _____ is the ratio between the number of vacant units in a designated area and the total number of existing units within that area. Its results may be misleading due to unaccounted for variables.
market value
_____ _____ is the price a willing buyer would presumably pay for a property when it is offered for sale by a willing seller in an open market.
vested right
A _____ _____ is when a right has become absolute and fixed and cannot be defeated or denied by subsequent conditions or change in regulations, unless it is taken and paid for. Often established by showing that some development permit has been obtained and substantial construction on the project started.
windfalls
_____ are the conferring of great financial benefits on a property owner as a result of public action.
wipeouts
_____ are the conferring of great financial losses on a property owner as a result of public action.
yard
A _____ is the unbuilt-upon space on a building lot situated between the front, rear, or side wall of a building and the nearest lot line.
zoning
_____ is "...a police power measure, enacted by units of local government under permissive state legislation. [These] regulations establish, in advance of applications for development, groups of permitted uses that vary from district to district."
zoning district
A _____ _____ is a section of a city or county designated in the zoning ordinance text and (usually) delineated on the zoning map, in which requirements for the use of land and building development standards are prescribed. Within each district, all requirements must be uniform.