Zoning Docket

What is Zoning?

The Columbus City Charter empowers City Council to establish land use policy within the city through the zoning process. Zoning laws determine the type of activity which may occur within specific geographic areas within the city. By extension, zoning laws help determine the type of structure which can be built on a given site. All property in the City of Columbus lies within a particular zoning district, and each zoning district establishes what uses are permitted and how those uses are to be developed on the property (i.e. setbacks, lot area, density, parking spaces, etc.). While the Columbus Zoning Code currently identifies 41 different zoning districts, land use can be grouped under three general categories: residential, commercial and industrial. More examples can be found in Title 33, Columbus Zoning Code at https://library.municode.com/oh/columbus/codes/code_of_ordinances.

Questions of zoning generally come before City Council for two reasons:

  1. A property owner wishes to use their property for a different purpose than currently is permissible. For example, an owner wants to convert a commercial structure into an apartment building.
  2. The City wishes to actively influence what type of development that occurs in a particular geographic area. For example, the City may want to promote commercial development on an abandoned industrial site to create new jobs for the citizens. Or, public policy considerations may cause the City to want to restrict certain activity deemed inappropriate for an area.

Zoning process

The zoning process involves several steps designed to assure appropriate review and oversight in accordance to existing zoning laws, public policy, and community standards. At the same time it is intended to protect individual property rights.

  • The process starts with a property owner (applicant) submitting a rezoning or Council variance application to the Department of Building and Zoning Services for processing and to be placed on a monthly staff review agenda. The purpose of staff review is to determine whether City Departments can support the proposed land use and to identify what conditions must be met in order to garner a favorable recommendation.
  • While staff review of the request is ongoing, the applicable neighborhood group also formulates a recommendation. These groups may be an Area Commission (https://cbusareacommissions.org/), Historic Architectural Review Commission, Design Review Commission, or recognized civic association. Neighborhood group recommendations and City Departments recommendations are separate and do not necessarily coincide for each zoning application.
  • Rezoning requests are afforded an additional recommendation by the Columbus Development Commission, a seven-member body appointed by the Mayor that serves as an advisory body to the City Departments and City Council in matters related to zoning district changes, code changes, and various planning initiatives. The Development Commission holds a public hearing at least once each month
  • At any point in the process, review may necessitate an applicant adjust their proposal. All or none of these reviewing bodies may recommend approval of the applicant's request.
  • Finally, a request will come before City Council for a final vote in the form of legislation. It is the policy of Columbus City Council to encourage cooperative resolution of disputes, and to solicit neighborhood approval.
  • Upon scheduling legislation on a Council Zoning Meeting agenda, all owners of record of property within 125 feet of the exterior boundaries of the property identified in the title of an ordinance scheduled to be heard by Council must be notified that a public meeting has been set. In accordance with public meeting access provisions, residents may attend the meeting in person at City Hall.
  • All persons wishing to speak during a Council meeting must submit a speaker slip electronically on the day of the meeting (Monday) no later than 3 p.m. via the Council website at: Online Speaker Slip.

Residents can track zoning and variance applications with the Development Tracker Application by creating a subscription to be notified when new zoning actions are proposed in your area of interest.

Questions about proposed zoning actions can be sent to zoninginfo@columbus.gov.

Council’s Zoning Priorities

On March 2nd, 2022, Zoning Committee Chair Rob Dorans hosted a public hearing outlining City Council’s priorities and procedures when reviewing applications for Rezonings and Council Variances:

  1. Affordable/Mixed income Housing Stock
  2. Area Commission Recommendation
  3. City Staff/Development Commission Recommendation
  4. Proximity/ Incorporations of Transportation Infrastructure
  5. Green Space/ Environmental Consideration
  6. Job Creation/ Proximity to Job Centers
  7. Neighborhood Needs and Requests to Applicant are met
  8. Private investment in Public Infrastructure
  9. Proposed Density Matches Area infrastructure and/or Adjacent Uses

Zoning Rejection Docket

The attached document lists zoning requests that have not received immediate approval by the City Council. In most instances where unanimous approval does exist, i.e., the Development Commission, the Neighborhood Area Commission, and Development department staff have all agreed, Council agrees. It approves the change in zoning and the issue does not reach the Zoning Rejection Docket.

If Council does place an item on the Zoning Rejection Docket, it typically means Council believes there are unresolved issues. Council instructs the parties to "go back to the drawing board" and come to an acceptable compromise. If successful, such items generally are removed from the Docket and approved at a later date. The current disposition of each item on the Docket can be seen in the rightmost column of the attachment.