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July 2, 2019 City Council Regular Meeting
19. Motion to Adopt the City of Savannah Zoning Ordinance and the Official Zoning Map of the City of Savannah (NewZO)
Strategic Priority
Good Government

The Mayor and Aldermen approved this request after a Zoning Hearing at the June 20, 2019 Regular City Council Meeting.  The action being considered is the adoption of the City of Savannah Zoning Ordinance and the Official Zoning Map of the City of Savannah referred to as NewZO as a 1st Reading.

Over the last several years, the City of Savannah and the Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) have been working with the community to revise its zoning ordinance and the associated zoning map.  The new zoning ordinance, referred to as NewZO, is designed to implement the Chatham County-Savannah Comprehensive Plan.  NewZO aims to remedy the shortcomings of the current regulations and streamline them to benefit property owners, residents and the development community.

Zoning is used by jurisdictions across the country to classify the division of land into separate districts and regulate which uses are permitted, prohibited and permitted with conditions. It is also used to promote compatible patterns of land uses and includes site development standards to maintain consistent and recognizable development patterns.

The current zoning ordinance was adopted 1960, and with many edits and additions, it remains the standard set of requirements for development in the City. The result is a highly complex set of instructions that, in many cases, does not address 21st century development patterns, planning’s best practices or expansion areas to the south and west of the city.

Revisions of NewZO include:

  1. Reduce and simplify the current range of zoning districts into a handful of higher-level groupings for business, residential, office-institutional, downtown, historic residential, historic commercial, and conservation.
  2. Create dedicated districts for downtown and historic neighborhoods to better reflect their unique situations.
  3. Dramatically simplify, rationalize, and update the zoning map.
  4. Allow mixed-use by right in commercial districts.
  5. Update development standards to better accommodate existing development patterns.
  6. Encourage better urban design with specific standards for parking lots, lot coverage and lot frontage, among others.
  7. Reduce parking requirements where reasonable and provide more flexibility in meeting those requirements through off-site, shared, bicycle or other forms of parking.
  8. Reduce the number of variance and rezoning requests.
  9. Improve procedural clarity for all zoning and variance actions.
  10. Make all requirements easier to understand, implement and enforce.

The new City of Savannah Zoning Ordinance and Official Zoning Map of the City of Savannah are available to review at

At the conclusion of the public hearing, Mayor and Council is scheduled to conduct the 1st reading for the City of Savannah Zoning Ordinance and Official Zoning Map of the City of Savannah (NewZO) on July 2 with the 2nd reading to occur on July 18.  Once the 1st and 2nd readings occur, Mayor and Aldermen will also approve a resolution repealing the existing zoning ordinance and map and adopt the new City of Savannah Zoning Ordinance and Official Zoning Map of the City of Savannah (NewZO) which will be fully implemented September 1, 2019.



Bridget Lidy, Planning and Urban Design
Financial Impact
Review Comments
Agenda Plus