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City Releases First Draft of Amendments to Zoning Code, Seeks Public Feedback 

City officials have released the first draft of amendments to its zoning code that would streamline the number of districts and modernize the regulations to address development trends.

The city has not updated its zoning code on a citywide scale in 40 years. 

To prepare for the first draft, city officials held an open house in August to get feedback about possible types of zoning districts, focusing on everything from improving residential quality of life to appropriate mixed-use development

The Common Council recently approved a new Comprehensive Plan that charts a vision for future growth and development in the city and provides a blueprint for the zoning code.

Mayor Rob Rolison said, “These initiatives are imperative for the city, and we are grateful the Common Council has given its blessing to the Comprehensive Plan, enabling us to focus on the corresponding zoning code changes to align our zoning with that plan.”

City Administrator Marc Nelson, who will be taking over as mayor next year, said, “Amendments to the city’s Zoning Code are essential to implement the Comprehensive Plan, and I look forward to us moving through this important process and completing our work in 2023.” 

Zoning regulates how land may be used and establishes standards for development. The goals of the zoning code update are to improve the organization and format for a better user experience, to simplify the zoning framework to reduce the number of districts and nonconformities, and to place a higher emphasis on design standards, among other updates.

Residents and those interested in providing feedback on the draft are encouraged to do so through the PK4Keeps website. The project team will also be holding meetings with Common Council members to receive their input on the draft code.  The city intends the release of this initial draft code and map to help facilitate community conversation regarding zoning and how it impacts how people live and do business in the City of Poughkeepsie.

City Development Director Natalie Quinn, who is serving as the city’s Project Manager, said, “The City of Poughkeepsie has done some strategic updates to several zoning districts over the years, but now the city is looking comprehensively across the city to standardize and modernize the zoning.  The intention is to make zoning regulations clear and concise and easy to use while ensuring that development happens according to the city’s vision as outlined in the recently adopted Comprehensive Plan.”

The city’s “PK4Keeps” undertaking is partially funded through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Climate Smart Communities grant program. As result, particular attention is being paid to the integration of sustainability elements within the Comprehensive Plan and development of metrics to track the success of its implementation.

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