This course covers the definition of a site plan, site plan requirements and the process of conducting a thorough and accurate site plan review. Planning officials must be sure that the features presented by a developer in a site plan are in accordance with the zoning ordinance. Once a construction permit is issued, the site’s layout is no longer in control of the planning team. Because of this, site plans are professionally prepared and planning officials learn to take their time in reviewing each one.
After discussing the importance of the site plan review process, we discuss the common elements shown in a site plan that a planning official would need to compare to the language found in the zoning ordinance. These include the location of main and accessory building locations, topography, landscaping, infrastructure, lighting, signage and surrounding site features. While these are the features often required to be on a site plan, there are additional materials that can support the site plan review. We discuss the project narrative, special studies and visual aids.
Besides a discussion on what a site plan is, we also go into detail about what it is not. Planning officials must know when and how they can influence the development features of a particular site, and when this should be avoided. For this reason, this course largely focuses on each step of the site plan review process, the requirements for each and how to ensure that you are acting legally, ethically and effectively in your position as a planning official.