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Zoning Code Updates

Zoning is a device of land use regulation which governs how property may be developed.  It addresses items such as the types of uses permitted, height of structures, density of development, location of buildings, parking, access and circulation, and landscaping.  These rules are laid out in the Zoning Code which is part of the City of Cleveland’s Codified Ordinances.

The Zoning Code is used hand in hand with the City’s Zoning Map.  The Zoning Map indicates, among other things, which use, height and area district applies to each property within the City.  The district a property is within effects the specific rules for how that property can be developed.

The Zoning Code is not a static document.  Trends in development change over time.  It is desired that the rules in the Code keep up with these trends and also anticipate development issues that might arise.  From time to time the Zoning Code is amended to update the City’s development regulations.  The increased opportunity and desire to accommodate and expand urban agriculture and open space in the City's land use mix is one such direction that has been supported by multiple code amendments. .

Below are recent changes to the City’s Zoning Code.

Central Business District
Amend Section 325.12
Effective Date: May 3, 2018
Ordinance No. 76-18
Link to Text PDF Document

This amendment corrects some minor errors in the District legal description. The legislation will repeal the existing definition and replace it with the expanded boundary.

Riparian/Wetland Setback Ordinance
Enacted new Sections 351.01 to 351.19
Effective Date: November 16, 2016
Ordinance No. 1555-13
Link to Text PDF Document

Riparian and Wetltand Setbacks are established to protect areas along the banks of rivers, streams, and wetlands from construction impacts or other damaging activities. And will promote flood control, reduce erosion, reduce the amount of pollution entering streams, protect aesthetically pleasing areas and provide green space.

Group Homes
Enacted new Sections 351.01 to 351.19
Effective Date: July 17, 2016
Ordinance No. 586-16
Link to Text PDF Document

Residential Facilities, as defined in Chapter 325, in One-Family and Multi-Family Districts must be located no less than 1000 feet from another residential facility.

Form Districts
Revised Chapter 348 and added section 348.05 Urban Core Overlay
Effective Date: May 4, 2016
Ordinance No. 364-16
Link to Text PDF Document

The Urban Core Overlay (UC) District is established to foster the development of dense, vibrant, mixed-use neighborhoods that encourage a quality pedestrian experience. The UC achieves this goal for urban cores by setting forth requirements for consistent street walls, pedestrian-oriented building features, minimizing conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians, and screening of off-street parking and service areas.

Urban Form Overlay
Added Chapter 348
Effective Date: January 28, 2015
Link to Text PDF Document

The Urban Overlay (UO) District is established to foster a high level of walkability and design quality for Cleveland's urban streets. The UO will do this by requiring pedestrian-oriented building features, preserving and enhancing the architectural character of new and existing buildings and protecting public safety by minimizing conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians.

Changeable Copy Signs
Added Sections 350.13 (g), 350.14 (h)
Effective Date:  May 20, 2011
Allows changeable copy signs for identification or bulletin board signs for community facilities in Residential Districts and for uses in Local Retail Districts if granted variances by the Board of Zoning Appeals.  Ordinance 934-10.

Urban Agriculture Overlay District (DRAFT)
Ch. 336A
Pending Before City Council
Link to Text PDF Document

Allows the City to designate areas for relatively large-scale, intensive farming, including the raising of animals and the operation of farmer’s markets.

Satellite Dish Antennae
Ch. 347.18
Effective Date: November 30, 2010
Link to Text PDF Document

Regulations established to govern satellite dish antennae including their location, number, size, removal and requirements for permits.

Agriculture in Residential Districts
Ch. 337.02, 337.23, 337.25
Effective Date:  November 3, 2010
Link to Text PDF Document

Permits agriculture as a principal use on all vacant residentially zoned lots.  Permits sale of produce from farm stands in Residential Districts as a conditional use with Board of Zoning Appeals approval, in consideration of established factors.  Permits 4-foot high vinyl-coated chain link fences in front yards of urban agriculture uses, whereas chain link fences are otherwise prohibited in front yards in Residential Districts.  Ordinance 814-10.

Drive-through Driveway in Pedestrian Retail Overlay Districts
Section 343.23 (e)(1)D.
Effective Date: November 3, 2010

Text in section 343.23 (e)(1)D. under Prohibited Uses was changed from "lanes serving a drive-through facility." to "a driveway or driveways providing the only vehicular access to or from a drive-through facility." The purpose of the change was to tighten the language on what locations in a pedestrian retail overlay district a drive-through facility would be permitted. Ordinance 889-10.

Keeping of Farm Animals and Bees – Amendment
Ch. 347.02
Effective date:  March 11, 2010

Removal of Subsection O from Section 347.02 relating to required reports from the Departments of Public Health and Building & Housing on activities relative to public complaints and enforcement during the first six months after the effective date of this Section. In the original legislation this Subsection was written to expire twelve months after the effective date of the establishment of this Section. Ordinance 29-10.

Auto Repair in Business Districts
Ch. 325 & 343
Effective date:  July 8, 2009
Link to Text PDF Document

Clarify and improve current regulations regarding motor vehicle repair, service stations, and car washes in Business Districts. The amended regulations differentiate between “minor“repairs and “major” repairs of motor vehicles, permitting minor repair activities in General Retail Districts while restricting major repairs to Industrial Districts.

Wind Energy Facilities
Ch. 354A
Effective Date:  June 12, 2009
Link to Text PDF Document

Regulations established to ensure that wind energy facilities will be developed and maintained in a manner that maximizes utilization of Cleveland’s wind energy resources while protecting the public ‘s health, safety and welfare. The regulations detail the locations, setbacks, heights, and maintenance of such facilities, as well as the lighting, design, and noise level of the wind turbines. The application and approval process is also specified.

Open Yard Storage – General Industry Districts
Ch. 345.04
Effective Date:  June 12, 2009
Link to TextPDF Document

Change in regulations to increase the required setback between open yard storage and any Residence District from fifty (50) feet to five hundred (500) feet.  Also requires open yard storage to be enclosed by a well-maintained substantial fence and also to not be closer to the street line than the setback building line.

Private Clubs in Multi-family Districts
Ch. 337.08
Effective Date:  June 5, 2009
Link to TextPDF Document

Change in regulation to delete “private clubs operated for the benefits of members only” as a permitted use in a Multi-family District.

Design Review Districts
Ch. 341 & 303
Effective Date:  February 11, 2009
Link to TextPDF Document

New regulation replaces the previous Chapter 341 regarding Public Land Protective Districts and Chapter 303 regarding Business Revitalization Districts, to ensure appropriate design of buildings and properties. Specifies standardized district names and regulations, design review for new developments, the consolidation of design review committees, and district control over demolitions.

Keeping of Farm Animals and Bees
Ch. 205.04 & 347.02
Effective Date: February 5, 2009
Link to TextPDF Document

Link to License TextPDF Document

Regulations permit urban farming while preventing nuisances to neighbors. These regulations specify the type and number of permitted animals, length of setbacks from property lines, and the required dwellings for animals in both residential and non-residential areas. Slaughtering, sanitation, nuisances, and how to apply for permission to keep farm animals and bees on city property are also addressed.

Check Cashing and Pay Day Lending
Ch. 347.17
Effective Date: October 16, 2008
Link to TextPDF Document

Regulations established to regulate the location of check-cashing businesses for the purpose of protecting neighborhoods from negative secondary effects created by the concentration or clustering of such businesses. Furthermore, the regulations guard against market saturation, which may lead to increased rates as an offset for lower business volume.

Bicycle Parking
Ch. 457.10
Effective Date: June 16, 2008
Link to TextPDF Document

Requirements added for the purpose of ensuring adequate and safe facilities to accommodate bicycle parking and to encourage the use of bicycles as an alternative to motorized vehicles. The regulations include the number, size, and location of spaces, as well as the implementation of bicycle racks and lockers in non-residential areas.