Planning is a process of setting the future growth pattern, usually in the form of a land use plan. The land use plan is a result of comprehensive studies of the area to determine growth projections and anticipate public need. Zoning is the primary means of trying to ensure that land uses are compatible with each other. Zoning is a system by which the different land use classifications of the Land Use Plan are categorized into zones. Each of these zones has its own set of standards and requirements.
The City of Fairmont Planning & Zoning Department regulates land use with three basic tools:
• The comprehensive plan
In 1968, Fairmont adopted its first Comprehensive Plan to serve as a guide for development of the City. In 1985, 1986, 1999 and again in 2009 the Plan was updated. Because of these changes, the original plan is obsolete. A new plan has been prepared which reflects Fairmont today, and projects Fairmont’s future land use trends based on technology, markets, and citizen demands.
• The zoning ordinance
Chapter 26 of Fairmont’s City Code
• The subdivision ordinance
Chapter 24 of Fairmont’s City Code
Land use planning is used by local governments to designate permitted uses of land based on mapped zones or districts which separate one set of land uses from another.
Fairmont’s zoning code addresses a combination of use-based, density (building height, lot coverage) and similar characteristics for regulation. The primary purpose of zoning is to segregate uses that are thought to be incompatible. Zoning is used to prevent new development from interfering with existing residents or businesses and to preserve the “character” of a community.
Zoning may include regulation of the kinds of activities which will be acceptable on particular lots (such as open space, residential, agricultural, commercial or industrial), the densities at which those activities can be performed (from low-density housing such as single family homes to high-density housing such as high-rise apartment buildings), the height of buildings, the amount of space structures may occupy, the location of a building on the lot (setback requirements) and the proportions of the types of space on a lot (such as how much space is landscaped space, impervious surface, traffic lanes, and whether or not parking is provided). The City of Fairmont has established a Planning Commission and a Board of Appeals and Adjustments.
Planning & Zoning issues zoning permits which encompasses:
Deck/Landings (under 30″above grade, minimum landing size 36″x36″);
Steps (25 sq. ft. and under– minimum landing size 36″x36″), stairs to the lake;
Accessory Structure (120 sq. ft. or less)
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