Zoning Code Rewrite

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Updating Boise's Zoning Code

The Boise Zoning Code Rewrite is the City of Boise’s effort to review and update Boise's Zoning Code, also known as the Development Code, to ensure the future design and development of our city enables more walkable, dynamic spaces for everyone.

With this update, we will be exploring tools that create developments that better preserve and enhance community character, integrate with existing neighborhoods and align with the city’s comprehensive plan, Blueprint Boise.

The new zoning code will aim to:

  • Simplify the regulations and development review process
  • Modernize the zones and development standards
  • Incentivize developments that integrate various transportation modes and a mix of uses at targeted growth locations throughout the city

Boise's Current Zoning Concerns

Recently, the city solicited feedback about the city’s current zoning tools. From November 16h through December 27th, the city received over 800 responses. Feedback indicated that Boiseans want to see Blueprint Boise implemented in ways that make the tools and procedures for zoning more understandable, predictable, and equitable for residents, developers, and the community as a whole.

Key recommendations included:

  • Simplified, streamlined code with illustrations
  • Clearly defined land uses
  • High quality design standards for buildings and sites
  • Clarity about the development review process

Survey Summary (PDF)

Additionally, feedback from the survey was integrated into the Final Diagnostics and Solutions Report. This report also includes feedback and observations from city staff and consultants about the challenges and opportunities that exist with our current zoning tools. With the report completed, the city will soon begin the next phase of work, which involves developing a new draft zoning code in three segments (see Phase Three below in our Frequently Asked Questions).

Final Report

Education Materials

Throughout the rewrite process, we will create and distribute materials that help community members aspects of zoning as we work to create a city for everyone. Learn more about zoning and our process by checking out the materials below.

What is Zoning Code?

What is a Comprehensive Plan?

Zoning Code Rewrite Timeline

Zoning code timeline (PDF)

Phases of the zoning code rewrite

Stay Informed!

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I be involved?

The city will be providing a robust public participation effort throughout the entire process. This effort will include a series of workshops, webinars, open houses, surveys and other public engagement activities that will provide multiple opportunities to learn, review and provide comment on the new zoning code. 

Individuals interested in routine updates can also join our email list using the form above.

Why Now?

The existing zoning code is outdated, as it was created over 55 years ago. Our city has changed significantly throughout time, and so have the planning tools we use and rely on to preserve what makes Boise special and improve our city as it grows.

A new zoning code is necessary to successfully implement the comprehensive plan, Blueprint Boise. The new zoning code will also shape a clear path forward to preserve the aspects of Boise that make it special, while also serving the needs of our city today and into the future.

How will this project help our city?

This project will:

  • Make the zoning code more user-friendly,
  • Provide clear objectives for development projects within the City of Boise,
  • Encourage the enhancement and revitalization of activity centers by creating compact, walkable development patterns, and
  • Promote original and high-quality building and site designs that will enhance the character and function of Boise’s streets while fitting into the context of established neighborhoods.

How long will this project take?

Staff began working on the project in November 2019 and expanded the scope of involvement and engagement on the project after hearing from community members. With the project formally beginning in Fall 2020, the process to create the new zoning code is anticipated to occur in five phases over two or more years.

An overview of the five phases of the project is highlighted below:

  • Phase One: Organization
    A work plan, public engagement plan and a project schedule will be formally developed to lay the foundation for the development of the new zoning code.
  • Phase Two: Assessment and Preliminary Outreach
    After reviewing the existing planning documents and a robust public input process, the consultant will produce a final assessment of the zoning ordinance. This report will provide a detailed analysis of the current zoning code's strengths and weaknesses with recommendations to be included in the updated zoning code in order to assist the City achieve its identified goals.
  • Phase Three: Zoning Ordinance Development
    The consultant will work with the City to draft the new zoning code in three installments, each available for review and comment by the public:
    1. Zone Districts and Permitted Forms and Uses
    2. Development, Design Quality and Incentives
    3. Procedures and Administration
  • Phase Four: Public Review of Draft Ordinance
    A series of workshops, open houses, comment cards and other public engagement activities will provide multiple opportunities to review and provide comment on the new zoning code.
  • Phase Five: Revision and Adoption
    Final revisions and adjustments will be incorporated into the draft zoning code and will be taken to the Boise City Planning and Zoning Commission and the Boise City Council for consideration and adoption.

What is a Comprehensive Plan?

The Comprehensive Plan is a master plan designed to provide a clear and sustainable vision for the future that will guide the City of Boise as it makes future decisions.

Learn MORE

Boise's Comprehensive Plan

What is a Zoning Code?

The zoning code is a system of land use regulations and tools used to successfully implement the City of Boise’s comprehensive plan, Blueprint Boise, and designates:

  • the permitted or prohibited use of buildings and land,
  • the density (the number of units per acre) of development,
  • the height and size of buildings and other structures,
  • the design standards of building and sites regarding streetscaping, landscaping and architectural features,
  • the area of the lot which may be occupied and
  • the size of required open spaces.

Learn about Zoning Basics

Boise's Development Code (Title 11)

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