Diagnostic Report

The City of Longview has recognized a need for updated development regulations. The recently adopted comprehensive plan and the small area plans, changes in State law, outdated zoning and subdivision standards, coordination of various requirements, and a desire for an improvement in the quality of development are a few reasons that new development regulations are needed. The City’s elected and appointed leaders, therefore, have initiated efforts to update, reorganize and simplify the City’s regulations into a cohesive Unified Development Code (UDC). This Diagnostic Report has been drafted as the first step in the Council’s directive to create the new UDC.

The following broad concepts pertaining to City issues have been considered in the drafting of this report:

Coordination Between Regulations/Standards – Due to the fact that a complete re-write of the zoning and subdivision regulations has
not occurred in decades, there are many requirements that are in various locations. Requirements need to be provided in a single
location, adequate cross-referencing of where all these requirements are located is essential.

A User-Friendly Format – The City would like to consolidate its various development regulations into a single code, referred to herein as the Unified Development Code (UDC), that is well-organized, well-written, and easy to use. Developers, consultants and others who use the Code should be able to easily navigate the new Code without referring to a variety of separate ordinances.

A Simplified Development Process – While development standards need to encourage quality development in the community, the City
would like to simplify, to the extent possible, the process by which development is approved. City staff has been addressing this issue
in recent years, and many strides have been made. However, the process needs to be integrated in ordinance form in the new UDC.
The ideal for the development process in Longview is to have a fair, open, and understandable process for all the parties involved in
all parts of the process.

The Incorporation of Innovative Planning Principles – The City seeks to incorporate the latest thinking in the art and science of city planning into its new Code. The ultimate goal of the new Code is to make Longview a better community. Therefore, one of the central objectives of this work effort will be to improve the basic policies and rules that govern and manage land development activities in the community. The new Code should focus on outlining a land development process that would result in a better-quality urban environment.

A Legally Sound (and Fair) Document – Finally, the new regulations must be a fair, but highly defensible, set of rules for the development of land in the community. The new Code must clearly reflect basic Constitutional principles, recent Court rulings, and other applicable case law. It also must be framed in accordance with Texas statutory authority as it pertains to community planning and land development, with issues such as vested rights, appeal processes, and rezoning.

The Initial Step
As an initial step to formulate the diagnostic report, the project team has interviewed City Staff, developers, and the elected and appointed officials to receive their thoughts and ideas on the most pressing issues in the current code of ordinances and how to resolve those issues.

The Resulting Directive
Following the review of this Diagnostic Report, the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council will need to provide input on the recommendations contained herein.

If the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council agree with the recommendations presented in this report, Phase II of the work effort will commence, which is the actual drafting the new UDC document.

If the Planning and Zoning Commission and/or City Council have concerns about any of the issues or recommendations for regulatory action cited herein, these issues should be discussed and additional direction should be given as to how City leaders would prefer to approach those issues in the new UDC.

Once the City reaches consensus on the issues within this Diagnostic Report, this document will be used as the basis for the City’s directives as the new UDC is written. 

For more information, please contact the Development Services Department at 903-237-1060 or email