Zoning Ordinance Rewrite Committee

Regular meetings are held on the third Thursday of each month at 4:00 p.m. in the 3rd Floor Conference Room, City Hall, 108 E. Green Street, Ithaca, NY 14850.

Please Note: You should always check the meeting agenda, however, to ensure the meeting is still scheduled to take place on its regular day and no changes to the meeting time/location have been made.

Agendas & Minutes
Agendas are available prior to meetings. Minutes are available following approval.
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Overview & Duties
The Zoning Ordinance Rewrite Committee's goals are (not listed in order of importance):
  • To correct existing errors in the City Code.
  • To create a more readable document.
  • To reformat the current Zoning Ordinance to include appropriate locations where design standards and other zoning approaches/concepts can later be added.
  • To submit regulations that must be updated for Planning & Economic Development Committee review.
The ultimate intent of this effort is to create a well-written document, where users can both easily locate the regulations relevant to their projects and more clearly understand all the associated requirements. Creating a more readable document should help anyone who needs to use the Zoning Ordinance for property development and construction purposes, or simply for general reference.

  • Ed Cope, Committee Member
  • JoAnn Cornish, Director of Planning and Economic Development
  • Gino Leonardi, Housing and Land Use Supervisor
  • Ellen McCollister, Common Council Member
  • Rob Morache, Board of Public Works, Committee Member
  • Seph Murtagh, Common Council Member
  • Tom Nix, Committee Member
  • Phyllis Radke, Director of Zoning Administration
  • Mary Tomlan, Committee Member
  • Sarah Myers, Information Management Specialist - Committee Member
In November 2012, the Mayor and Common Council approved a merger of the Building and Planning Departments into a single new Department of Planning, Building, and Development. The Mayor explained that one of the principal reasons for merging the two departments was to improve the city's efficiency in helping people obtain the various approvals needed to begin a development project. He was also very concerned with the state of the city's current Zoning Ordinance, which includes a significant number of misprints, a lack of clarity, and poor organizational structure.

Committee Members & Editing Process
To accomplish the onerous task of rewriting the Zoning Ordinance, Director of Zoning Administrator Phyllis Radke identified 2 different groups to help her. Members of the primary group, listed above, all have experience with city planning and zoning, including several with strong writing backgrounds.

The 2nd group of people assisting Director Radke represents her ‘consultants', who all have careers in code enforcement, or work as planners or architects, including Assistant City Attorney Jared Pittman and Mayor Svante Myrick. While the consultants cannot invest the same amount of time as those in the primary group, they possess valuable insights from either the enforcement perspective or from their work as professional planners. This group includes the Building Division's Director of Code Enforcement Mike Niechwiadowicz and Senior Plan Examiner William (Skip) Schell, Planning and Development Board member John Schroeder, and Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) member and architect, Noah Demarest.

Director Radke regularly communicates the work of the primary group with her consultants and then solicits their views and suggestions, which are later conveyed back to the primary group so any suggestions can be incorporated into its work.