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There are logical as well as historical reasons why the zoning and subdivision processes are separate. Zoning developed in this country in response to concerns about incompatible uses (e.g., industrial uses) moving into residential or commercial areas, and regulations focused on those issues. In contrast, subdivision regulations evolved as a system to provide accurate descriptions of small parcels of land and eventually grew to include requirements for the improvement of public streets and roads.
Increasingly, jurisdictions are consolidating land development regulations into more comprehensive (and comprehensible) documents that present controls in a more seamless, systematic manner. The documents are called unified development codes.
This issue of Zoning Practice discusses the benefits of unified development codes and includes a model unified development review process ordinance with commentary.
About the Author
Stuart Meck, FAICP
My website: http://bloustein.rutgers.edu/meck/