Background and Project Overview

The City of Syracuse is working with Clarion Associates and Environmental Design & Research (EDR) to review, analyze, and revise the Syracuse Rules and Regulations (zoning ordinance) and Zoning Map in order to facilitate the implementation of the recently adopted Land Use & Development Plan 2040. The City’s current land use and development ordinance was originally adopted in 1922. While these updates have moved land use regulations forward, they have been performed in a piecemeal fashion, resulting in a complex and fragmented document. It is the goal of this project to produce a revised zoning ordinance and updated zoning map that are clear and enforceable.

As an early task in this project, the consultant project team is preparing a detailed analysis of the current zoning ordinance, laying the groundwork for a clear path forward for revisions. The analysis document identifies:

·        Ways in which the current regulations work well;

·        Ways in which the current regulations do not work well or are unduly complicated;

·        Which sections of the current regulations, if any, are inconsistent with adopted plans, policies, or other goals of the City;

·        What updates are necessary to comply with the local, state, and federal laws;

·        Ways to improve the development review procedures and streamline where appropriate; and

·        Ways to improve the user-friendliness of the zoning ordinance.

The analysis includes three primary components:

·        Project Initiation, Research, and Analysis.  Along with City staff, the project team is reviewing various background documents and collecting feedback to help inform later work. This work includes kick-off meetings and stakeholder interviews. 

·        Prepare Assessment Report. The project team has undertaken a technical review and diagnostic examination of current zoning ordinance. An evaluation outlining the major issues based on independent review and assessment of the feedback previously gathered has been prepared.  The assessment also incorporates potential solutions based on national and local best practices.

·        Annotated Outline.  An annotated outline will be prepared indicating how a revised ordinance could be organized, serving as a roadmap for the remainder of the project.

Clarion Associates is a national land use firm with offices in Denver, Colorado, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The team works with communities large and small to develop policies and regulations that respond to local issues and needs.  Current and/or recent zoning projects include Albany and Marcy, NY.  For more information, please visit: 

Environmental Design & Research (EDR) is a Syracuse-based firm that includes a diverse staff working throughout Upstate New York. In addition to past project work in Syracuse, current and/or recent land use related projects include Village of Sackets Harbor, NY, Town and Village of Cazenovia, NY, and Town and Village of Clayton, NY. For more information, please visit: