rezoning and permits: advice
From: Rachel Freifelder (
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 1996 10:27:30 -0600
Who out there has experience with getting rezoned for high density or 
mixed use? Please help.

My group is looking for some advice.  For the past few years we have been 
planning an ecological village that would provide for livelihood, food 
production, schools, etc, as well as housing, for 250-1000 people.  It 
would be laid out like a little town, with a fairly dense mixed-use 
commercial/residential center, a light industrial area, lots of edible 
landscaping, farmland around the outskirts, nature preserve beyond that.  
We aim to minimize both automobile use and pavement by the clustered 
design and by helping people to work onsite rather than commuting.  
We expect to make use of the best of "appropriate" technology for 
building, energy, food production, water, waste treatment, etc.  Between 
us we have a fair amount of background in these technological issues but 
none in law or planning.  As this is intended to be a high-visibility 
demonstration project, we want to do everything legally - at least get 
forgiveness if not permission.

The vision is pretty clear at  this point and we're starting to look for 
a site.  We're currently based in Northern California (Berkeley and Davis)
and several of the core group feel  very attached to the region.
Right now we're investigating Mendocino, Humboldt, and Nevada counties as 
the places where we might be able to find land we could afford and a 
receptive culture.  
The dilemma is that nowhere in those counties that we know of, other than 
within city limits where we couldn't afford it, is there any land zoned 
for high density and mixed use.  We would definitely need to get a 
rezoning, just like other developers. The only alternative we've 
discussed is to move to another state where land use laws are lax or 
nonexistent.  Some of us are very reluctant to move. So any experience  of 
folks on this list with the rezoning process would be helpful, especially if it 
were in our region.  Thanks in advance for your input.

There are plenty of other issues we expect people on this list could 
contribute to (the decision to build new rather than retrofit an existing 
neighborhood, the knowledge that this has been tried before, unsuccessfully).
We are the Dancing Rabbit Project and if you're curious about the 
project, check out our web site at:

The site is currently in transition, so if anyone tries to visit and 
can't get there, please let me know.


Rachel Read Freifelder             
Dancing Rabbit Project

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