WHAT IS ZONING?
Zoning is a regulatory tool that addresses the type, density, manner, and location of development and use of land and structures. The Hawai‘i Land Use Law creating a comprehensive framework for state and county land use regulation was originally adopted in 1961.
Zoning is one of the most important plan implementation tools. Since Title 19 was adopted, the County of Maui has created many plans. Today, there are eleven plans that make up the County's General Plan framework none of which are fully supported by Title 19.
Some aspects of zoning have existed in the US since the late 1800s. Los Angeles adopted a citywide code in 1909, New York in 1916, with other cities quickly following. Counties began adopting zoning codes later as density and diversity of land uses began to increase. However, the idea of establishing uses for certain areas or regulating them to certain places within a community go back thousands of years and were commonplace in ancient walled cities.
EUCLIDIAN, FORM-BASED, AND HYBRID CODES –
WHAT ARE THESE?
Euclidean zoning is the most common form of land-use regulation in the United States and was born as a result of the Industrial Revolution. It regulates land uses in the name of protecting public health, safety, and welfare. It concentrates more on the incompatibility of uses (e.g., residential vs heavy industrial) rather than on design. Maui County Code (MCC) Title 19 is considered a Euclidean zoning code.
Form-based coding is a relatively new (1980’s) way to regulate development, and it controls the form of a building first and considers the use second. Because it focuses more on building and design, it takes into consideration more of the public realm and how regulating the form (building location, height, streets, sidewalks, and other public open spaces) can produce better walkability and foster community identity, or a “sense of place”. It also encourages appropriately mixed uses and promotes multiple options for mobility. A pure form-based code is easier to implement within a new community because new development tends to occur upon a clean slate. It is difficult to fit a form-based code into an existing Euclidean designed community or development. Because many communities and towns in the County of Maui (County) were built under the regulations of a Euclidean zoning code, the audit recommended that Title 19 be rewritten as a Hybrid code, a code that takes these two types of zonings into consideration.
A Hybrid code meshes conventional zoning code (Euclidean) with graphic urban design standards that address land use design elements (Form-Based). The goals of the Title 19 Rewrite project include: continuing traditional zoning uses where they exist, enhancing those uses with scale, context, and design tradition and elements (when appropriate), allowing for more mixed-use potential, and promoting design elements that foster multiple transportation options other than just the automobile (e.g., walking, biking, and transit), notably where there are walkable urban development patterns. The combination of traditional zoning elements with form-based techniques will allow the County to preserve and/or restore existing development and historic character while also addressing modern development needs such as flexibility with parking, transit options, and mixed-use development.
NOTE: The pictures shown here represent different uses and building types within the diverse communities of Maui, Lāna'i and Moloka'i to illustrate the importance and impact that zoning has on a community so that tradition of the built environment can be honored and enhanced.