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First Hearing City of Des Moines Proposed Zoning Code
September 9, 2019 @ 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Join us at the City Council Chambers on September 9 for the first public hearing on the proposed zoning code. This code is a complete overhaul of what the city had before. And though we like a lot of what is in it — form-based code, an emphasis on walkable neighborhoods, reduction of minimum parking requirements, and updated solar regulations — there are things we want to see changed.
Specifically, it is important to remove any minimum house size requirements in the code, remove the requirement that every house has to have a garage and remove the requirement that every house has a basement. These requirements do not fit with the cities goal to reduce green house gas emissions and ensure affordable, mixed income housing and neighborhoods. Large, minimum house requirements mean that homes will become unaffordable to purchase and unaffordable to heat and cool.
Many home buyers and renters are looking for homes with a smaller footprint, homes that are in neighborhoods that are walkable and bikeable and have easy access to public transit. These requirements leave out many people and are short sighted. In addition, the city should move towards mixed-income neighborhoods and developments. Research shows that well thought-out mixed income neighborhoods reduce poverty and increase opportunity, as well as other benefits. Minimum housing requirements could make mixed income house an impossibility.
In addition, we would like to see more of an emphasis on urban agriculture and urban forest and woodlands incorporated into the zoning code. We would also like to see food gardens allowed in the front yards and parking.