Manhattan Development Code (MDC)

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Manhattan’s Development Code Is Ready!

The City of Manhattan has been working to update and modernize the City’s development regulations for the past few years. After spending time, researching, discussing issues, drafting, and editing, Manhattan's new development code is ready for final review and adoption.

The Manhattan Development Code (MDC) is an important set of regulations that defines how the City will preserve its character, protect its resources, and grow and redevelop in the future. These regulations are bound to touch everyone's lives. Whether you want to build an addition to your home, buy a piece of land to build a new business on, or drive, bike, or walk to work or school. The MDC addresses each of these topics and more.

Follow Along!

Overviews and detailed information on new and updated regulations will be provided here over the next six months. Several informational meetings will be held with the citizen-held Ordinance Advisory Committee, the Manhattan Urban Area Planning Board, and the Manhattan City Commission to review the Manhattan Development Code and then begin the formal adoption process.


A Change to the Project's Name

Originally, the project was titled the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), which described unifying two separate codes related to development, the Manhattan Urban Area Subdivision Regulations and the Manhattan Zoning Regulations, into one integrated document. The title of the project has evolved to the Manhattan Development Code (MDC), as it is anticipated that the community will eventually forget that the City had two separate documents regulating development, and just naturally refer to the new project as the development code. So, the project name has changed, but its purpose has not.

EncodePlus - An Innovative Way to use the Development Code

Kendig Keast Collaborative, White & Smith LLC, Gateway Planning Group, and Confluence were hired to assist the City and the Community Development Department to draft the regulations and organize the code structure to make it user-friendly, searchable, and easier for citizens, businesses, property owners, consultants, and developers to understand. The MDC will be published on EncodePlus, a software created by Kendig Keast Collaborative that is designed to be easy to navigate and help understand and use the development code. Check out the new Manhattan Development Code at Unified Development Ordinance (encodeplus.com).

The work done by our citizen advisors, the project consultant team, and City staff are to ensure that Manhattan stays an attractive, vibrant, and safe place to live, work and play for years to come.

Manhattan’s Development Code Is Ready!

The City of Manhattan has been working to update and modernize the City’s development regulations for the past few years. After spending time, researching, discussing issues, drafting, and editing, Manhattan's new development code is ready for final review and adoption.

The Manhattan Development Code (MDC) is an important set of regulations that defines how the City will preserve its character, protect its resources, and grow and redevelop in the future. These regulations are bound to touch everyone's lives. Whether you want to build an addition to your home, buy a piece of land to build a new business on, or drive, bike, or walk to work or school. The MDC addresses each of these topics and more.

Follow Along!

Overviews and detailed information on new and updated regulations will be provided here over the next six months. Several informational meetings will be held with the citizen-held Ordinance Advisory Committee, the Manhattan Urban Area Planning Board, and the Manhattan City Commission to review the Manhattan Development Code and then begin the formal adoption process.


A Change to the Project's Name

Originally, the project was titled the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), which described unifying two separate codes related to development, the Manhattan Urban Area Subdivision Regulations and the Manhattan Zoning Regulations, into one integrated document. The title of the project has evolved to the Manhattan Development Code (MDC), as it is anticipated that the community will eventually forget that the City had two separate documents regulating development, and just naturally refer to the new project as the development code. So, the project name has changed, but its purpose has not.

EncodePlus - An Innovative Way to use the Development Code

Kendig Keast Collaborative, White & Smith LLC, Gateway Planning Group, and Confluence were hired to assist the City and the Community Development Department to draft the regulations and organize the code structure to make it user-friendly, searchable, and easier for citizens, businesses, property owners, consultants, and developers to understand. The MDC will be published on EncodePlus, a software created by Kendig Keast Collaborative that is designed to be easy to navigate and help understand and use the development code. Check out the new Manhattan Development Code at Unified Development Ordinance (encodeplus.com).

The work done by our citizen advisors, the project consultant team, and City staff are to ensure that Manhattan stays an attractive, vibrant, and safe place to live, work and play for years to come.

  • Welcome to the Manhattan Development Code

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    We Are Pleased To Introduce The Manhattan Development Code

    The Manhattan Development Code (MDC), formerly known as the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) is drafted and is ready for community review. This project originally began in 2017 when the City contracted with Kending Keast Collaborative to review the current development regulations and draft a modern development code that combines the City’s zoning and subdivision regulations. The project was originally called the Unified Development Ordinance because it unified two separate sets of regulations (Manhattan Zoning Regulations and the Manhattan Urban Area Subdivision Regulations) into one document. Since the beginning of the project, its name has evolved to the Manhattan Development Code, which is to convey the set of requirements and procedures that regulate development in our community. We in the Community Development Department recognize that this has been a drawn-out project and that people may have forgotten its purpose and elements of the draft regulations presented some time ago. To re-orient you to the Manhattan Development Code (MDC), we invite you to watch this brief introductory video.


    What Are Development Regulations And Why Are They Important?

    We realize that most people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about zoning and subdivision regulations, or how these requirements shape our neighborhoods, where we work, shop, and play, or how we get to and from these places by car, bus, bike, or walking. However, these regulations play a significant part in our daily lives. Our friends at Phoenix, Arizona’s Community and Economic Development Department have created an amazing Zoning 101 video that explains the nuts and bolts of these development regulations – you should check it out!

    Come Back To Stay Informed

    The Community Development Department is committed to providing as much information about this draft of the Manhattan Development Code (MDC) as possible to keep you informed of the proposed regulation and procedure and the next steps in the review and adoption process. Over the next several months, staff will be provided news feeds and videos of the different articles of the MDC to give you an overview of those individual sections. Please come back to www.EngageMHK.com for more information. The next installment will be about Articles 1 - 3 of the draft development code.

  • The Heart of the Development Code: Articles 26-1 thru 26-3

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    As promised, the Community Development Department is rolling out a series of informational videos to introduce topics in the Manhattan Development Code (MDC). Our staff has worked hard to create videos that are brief but hit the highlights of each article in the MDC. A huge shout out to Ben Chmiel, Long-Range Planner III with the department for his work in creating, edits, and producing the final video products.

    The first video installments below cover Article 26-1. Authority, Purpose, Applicability, Article 26-2. Zoning Districts and Land Uses, and 26-3. Overlay Districts. The actual draft regulations can be found on the Manhattan Development Code EncodePlus site.

    In addition to the information provided on www.EngageMHK.org, the Community Development Department will also be presenting each article to the Ordinance Advisory Committee (OAC), the Manhattan Urban Area Planning Board, and the City Commission. FYI, the OAC is a committee of citizens formed with the project to give guidance to the drafting of the project. The Planning Board will have a work session on these articles on April 19th (see staff memo to the Planning Board). The City Commission will hold a similar work session on April 20th (see staff memo to the City Commission) (Pro tip – the two staff memos are largely the same). The OAC will hold a meeting on the drafts of Articles 26-1 through Articles 26-4 on May 5th. Article 26-4. Design Standards covered building and site design requirements for various commercial and residential districts. More information on that article will be coming soon!

    If you have any comments or questions about the MDC or these first three articles, please drop them in the Question tab on the Manhattan Development Code project page.

    Article 26-1. Authority, Purpose, Applicability

    Honestly, Article 26-1 isn’t that exciting, when it comes to development standards. But, it is an important section that lays out the overall MDC structure, purpose of the regulations, and where and when the regulations are generally applicable. Enjoy!


    Article 26-2. Zoning Districts and Land Uses

    Article 26-2 dives right into the residential, commercial, and industrial zoning districts, what is allowed in each district, and what are the site requirements (e.g., building setbacks, building heights, minimum lot areas, etc.). The MDC introduces some new residential development types with hopes to encourage different subdivision designs that allow for new housing types and/or preserves natural areas and open spaces. The MDC also proposes some new processes for the approval of new developments. This video and the details in this article basically lay the groundwork for all articles to come. In addition to the video, The Community Development Department has created this nifty map to allow you to compare what the zoning of a piece of land or neighborhood is to what it is proposed to be with the MDC.


    26-3. Overlay Districts

    Ben does a great job in this video briefly explaining what Overlay Districts are, why we have them, and what changes are proposed with the MDC. So, please give a view for more information.


  • How to Use EncodePlus with the Manhattan Development Code

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    EncodePlus bring the Manhattan Development Code into the 21st Century

    The city wanted to modernize its zoning and subdivision regulations to use best practices to regulate new development and redevelopment of sites in Manhattan and make it easier to use the Manhattan Development Code. One way we hope makes the new development code easier to use is by having the regulations live online, which allows any user to quickly navigate through the various sections of the code, simply find development definitions, and have tools to determine what regulations will apply and to help calculate some requirements, such as minimum off-street parking to provide or a maximum size of sign allowed for a building or use.

    Kendig Keast Collaborative’s EncodePlus website is where the development code is located. To help you use this new website to find and apply these regulations, we have created this quick instructional video. Please note, some of the tools and functions are not quite ready yet, but most of the site for the MDC is up and going. Future instructional videos will be created on tools that are not fully functional yet.

    If you have any questions about EncodePlus or the MDC, please feel free to use the Q & A tool here on EngageMHK.com or contact the Community Development Department.