You may have heard about this mysterious thing called the Unified Development Ordinance or UDO. If you’re wondering if this is something you need to pay attention to, the answer is YES! When a community issues new zoning standards, it’s a big deal! Even though zoning can seem technical and dense with obscure terminology, the ordinance is vitally important for all city residents, because it sets the framework for the city’s development, land conservation, aesthetics, and character. Those rules must be based on the city’s Comprehensive Plan the blueprint and vision for our community’s management of land and other precious resources.

Zoning defines what uses are allowed in each zoning district, what types of buildings may be built, and what property owners can and can’t do to ensure compliance with that district. Importantly, zoning also regulates the city’s land conservation zones – and in Saratoga Springs, the city has an established “greenbelt” which requires various protective environmental and conservation measures that are implemented through zoning regulations.

In January 2020, the city of Saratoga Springs released a new draft zoning ordinance, the UDO. The UDO is intended to coordinate zoning with other city standards and programs, such as the Urban and Community Forestry Master Plan, the Open Space Plan, and the Complete Streets Plan.

Sustainable Saratoga has released its initial comments on this draft UDO (click here to read our comments). Later this spring, a second draft will be released for public review and comment. Please join us in helping to shape the rules that will govern our community’s character, growth, and conservation.

For additional information, you can find a link to the Comprehensive Plan here and a link to the current draft of the UDO here.