Zoning Ordinance

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Zoning Ordinance CoverThe Town’s Zoning Ordinance was updated and expanded in January 1999 and includes several important provisions to maintain local quality of life. Architectural and design standards are included to ensure Queen Creek retains its small-town rural character as growth occurs.

The adequate public facilities article of the ordinance requires that developers provide infrastructure and public facilities such as roads, water, wastewater, drainage, parks and open space, and schools when they construct a new subdivision. The article establishes requirements for levels of service for the above-mentioned public facilities. Developers may provide facilities at the established level of service, reduce densities in their development or phase their development so that it is timed when the Town will be providing those public facilities. If a developer chooses not to meet the levels of service, zoning approval may be denied.

Development impact fees that became effective in October 1999 complement the adequate public facilities article of the Zoning Ordinance and ensure that new development pays for the facilities it requires. The fees are paid with each building permit issued and provide a source of funding for the Town to purchase land for parks and open space preservation, build and stock libraries, expand the wastewater system and treatment facilities, support public safety and provide municipal facilities.

Design CoverThe ordinance also has a provision for the transfer of development rights. This provides farmers and landowners a new choice for land use that can enable them to reap the financial profit from their land while allowing the Town to achieve its goals of preserving a rural community lifestyle and open spaces.

For example, a landowner may wish to preserve 100 acres of farm land which is currently zoned for development at one dwelling per acre, but may also wish to realize the financial value of his land for the benefit of his family and heirs. Under the ordinance, the landowner could request that the Town Council approve a transfer of the development rights attached to his 100 acres to another area of the Town such as the Town Center or areas designated as urban corridors which are zoned for medium density development.

If the transfer were approved, the landowner could then offer those development rights for sale to another landowner in the designated areas. The original landowner would be required to record a deed restriction in perpetuity, which means the land would be under a perpetual conservation easement. He and his heirs retain title to the land, may continue to farm it as long as they desire and profit from it as if they had sold it. They also may receive a substantial income tax deduction. The purchaser of development rights is able to build at a higher density (not to exceed levels allowed under the General Plan), and the Town’s rural atmosphere is preserved by the open space.

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