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Tucson considering zoning code changes

Designed to encourage new development in older neighborhoods
Posted at 7:43 PM, Mar 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-07 11:39:37-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Zoning rules organize a city. Without zoning rules your neighborhood would be a horrific mish mash where just about anything goes. But now the City of Tucson is considering redoing the zoning rules in a way some neighbors do not like.

The City of Tucson wants to encourage what’s called infill—encouraging new development in old neighborhoods to reduce any city’s inclination to sprawl outwards in a way that strains the environment and makes it tougher to deliver city services like roads, police, fire and garbage removal.

Proposed changes to the Zoning code would rewrite rules for setback–the distance between homes, and the distance from homes to the street to make it easier to build townhomes. Other changes would reduce the amount of parking spaces required. Now a three bedroom apartment is required to have space for two cars. The revisions would only require one space per living unit.

The proposal would also allow separate car ports in front of a property.

Ronni Kotwicka is an advocate for the Palo Verde neighborhood.

She says neighborhoods are already more clogged with cars since the city allowed property owners to add auxiliary dwelling units, or ADUs—sometimes called tiny houses.

“And what we're seeing in a lot of these situations, before this even happened was, people are turning their front yards into parking, parking lots. And that's just not what we as neighbors in the city want to see.”

Lois Pawlak, the neighborhood President for the Garden District worries changing zoning to bring in more people will bring in more crime.

“Plus with more infill, you have more rental, and then you have more owner flight. So you can't if you don't have owners in the area, you have out of state landowners, you have slum lords, you have all of it. And that does not make a neighborhood better.”

But infill advocates contend reducing sprawl is good for the environment by reducing the need to drive and the need for more streets.

The City Council will consider the changes in the Tuesday Study Session and plans a public hearing and final vote on the plan March 21st