Why Update the Zoning Ordinance?
The City of Richmond is embarking on an exciting project: the update of our Zoning Ordinance. The existing Zoning Ordinance predates our General Plan, which was adopted by the City Council in 2012.  California law requires that our Zoning Ordinance be updated to be consistent with our General Plan. The Zoning Ordinance will translate Richmond’s General Plan into specific regulations to regulate land uses within the City of Richmond; it also will include streamlined procedures for permits and appeals. 

What Is a Zoning Ordinance?
Most cities, including Richmond, group land into different areas, or zones.  A city then assigns rules about what can be built in each zone. These rules make up the city’s zoning ordinance.

Zoning is a way for a city to group similar things together and keep incompatible things apart.  There are two common ways cities do this.

First, cities can keep compatible land uses together and incompatible land uses apart. For instance, a mix of retail, office, civic, and residential uses will be allowed in one area, encouraging a pedestrian-friendly, village-like environment. Housing will still be located in a different area than heavy industrial uses, as these are incompatible uses. In this type of zoning, each zoning district will have rules specifying what types of uses (e.g., single-family residential, multi-family residential, commercial, office, industrial) are permitted, conditional, or prohibited there.

Second, cities often specify the sizes and shape of the buildings that can be constructed in each zone. Each zone will have rules about how tall buildings can be, how far buildings must be set back from the property line, how many parking spaces are required, and many other types of provisions.

How Does Zoning Impact Me?
The Zoning Ordinance impacts different people in different ways.

  • Residents and Homeowners: Zoning controls how property can be used in residential zoning districts. For instance, zoning regulations may prohibit the operation of a business or the construction of an apartment building in a residential zone.
  • Business Owners: Zoning determines where you can locate your business. Zoning also regulates how large your sign can be and where it can be placed.
  • Developers: Zoning determines the size and shape of new development and where it can be located.
  • Design and Construction Professionals: Zoning contains rules related to landscaping, parking, lighting, and building design, as well as the size and shape of new development.

How Long Will the Zoning Ordinance Update Take?
We anticipate that the Zoning Ordinance Update will take about one year.

Who Can Participate in the Process?
We are eager to have all residents, business owners, and other stakeholders within Richmond to take part in this project and shape the future of our community.

How Can I Get Involved?
We are soliciting citizen participation in all phases of Zoning Ordinance Update process. There are many ways to get involved! Click here for more information.