Zoning Code Update


A key action agenda item of the 2015 Master Plan is to review, audit and update the city’s current zoning code. The plan states,

Zoning is perhaps the greatest tool a community has to shape the built environment. North Olmsted’s zoning code should be reviewed and updated consistent with the action agenda of the 2015 Master Plan and those recommendations from the 2005 Master Plan which remain relevant. Updates may range from adjusting standards in a particular district to the creation of new zoning classifications. Specific areas to be targeted include green space standards and tree preservation, home occupations, mixed use and civic spaces, lighting and signage. Commercial districts should be updated considering appropriate use, size and scale in relation to context within the community.

In July 2015 city staff began the process of updating the city’s commercial districts with the guidance of consultants from LSL Planning. A steering committee was convened, stakeholder input was gathered, and consultants completed a technical audit of the existing code. Results of this process were compiled into a zoning “Blueprint” presented to City Council and the Planning & Design Commission in November 2015. City Council authorized funding for code writing and the adoption processes in its 2016 budget.


Frequently Asked Questions

Current Zoning Code
Click here to link to North Olmsted’s current Zoning Code.

Current Zoning Map
Click here to link to North Olmsted’s current Zoning Map.

Click here to read stakeholder input, the consultant’s technical analysis and recommendations for Zoning Code improvements.

Proposed Zoning Changes
Click below to read the draft Zoning Code chapters and see the proposed new Zoning Map.

Chapter 1115 Definitions
Chapter 1117 Administration & Enforcement
Chapter 1118 Conditional Use Requirements
Chapter 1119 Building Permits & Certificates of Occupancy
Chapter 1121 Penalties & Remedies
Chapter 1126 Development Plan Review
Chapter 1139 Business Districts
Chapter 1161 Off-Street Parking, Loading and Transportation
Appendix Tree and Plant Lists

Proposed Zoning Map

Why Update Our Zoning Code?

  • To modernize our zoning code and create a more logical development pattern. New businesses types are proposed that our current code does not address. We need to take a comprehensive look at the whole variety of commercial uses in our community and determine appropriate places for them. Four (4) new commercial districts will replace the one (1) current General Retail Business District: B1 Local Business (east of Columbia), B2 Office Service (west of Stearns), B3 General Business (middle) and B4 Mixed-use Business (Brookpark Ext).
  • To develop smarter development regulations. We have outdated development regulations that use a one-size-fits-all approach to commercial zoning. For example, excessive parking requirements create large featureless parking lots that generate significant stormwater runoff. Multiple curb cuts from commercial properties create traffic problems on Lorain Road. Large setback requirements are not practical or desirable on smaller sized commercial lots.
  • To resolve instances of split zoning where a single parcel has multiple zoning classifications. Split zoning draws an arbitrary line through parcels of land creating long term problems for development. This update resolves the vast majority of these circumstances.
  • To provide better guidance to developers and city officials in decision making. Many requirements are currently being imposed upon applicants regarding landscaping, building materials, and design without specific standards to guide and support decisions. This approach is neither fair to the applicants nor defensible if challenged. This update creates expectations for the quality of development we will approve.
  • To create the opportunity to develop a town center. The B4 Mixed-use Business District provides the opportunity for redevelopment along Brookpark Road Extension that would create a more dense, mixed use (residential and commercial), pedestrian friendly town center.
  • To better protect residents who abut commercial property. The code changes provide for buffer zones between business uses and residential uses. The more intense the use, the greater the amount of buffering is required. The code contains specifications for density of plant materials, screening, fencing, berms and types of plantings to be used. Preferred building materials are also identified so that the resulting construction is attractive and durable.
  • To check the growth of marginal commercial uses. Residents have expressed concern about the arrival of certain businesses considered to be undesirable. The potential concentration of such uses may attract similar businesses and impact property values, lead to the loss of other more stable establishments, or negatively impact nearby residential neighborhoods. While zoning cannot exclude legitimate use of property within the community, conditions have been incorporated into the code update, such as separation distances to avoid concentrations in any one area and criteria to ensure that they are in appropriate locations.