CACR 16, gives municipalities sole authority to establish zoning and land use policies.

Briefly, the amendment provides that municipalities determine the policies for projects they’re willing to consider. Should a developer seek a waiver to those policies, the voters consider the waiver at the next municipal election.

It has been suggested that municipalities already have the authority they need, but legislation is frequently offered which suggests otherwise. This morning, for example, SB 538-L, which is sponsored by ten state senators, was heard by the Senate’s Election Law and Municipal Affairs Committee. A portion of the bill’s analysis reads: enables municipalities to allow its governing body to adopt certain zoning ordinance changes; and adds additional authority in zoning powers for parking requirements and lot size requirements related to sewer infrastructure.

Once CACR 16 is adopted the state’s 234 municipalities are free to establish policies designed to either be welcoming, unwelcoming or anything in between to developers. This flexibility, as demonstrated by SB 538-L, is a significant departure from current state-imposed requirements. The most welcoming policies can be designed to ensure that waivers are rarely required.

Should a developer seek a waiver from a municipality’s policies, CACR 16 stipulates requirements which ensure local control, importantly including a Financial Impact Statement listing any projected tax increases, which voters may consider in voting to approve or disapprove the requested waiver.

Adoption of CACR 16 makes development easier to attract in those municipalities seeking development and, at the same time, protects those communities which wish to retain their current character.

I am the author of CACR 16 and will be happy to answer any of your questions.

James W. McConnell