Skip Navigation LinksZoning Code Amendments 2017

Skip Navigation LinksCity of Topeka > Planning > Zoning Code Amendments 2017

‚ÄčAbout the Amendments

Following a series of meetings and a public hearing (January 23, 2017) the Topeka Planning Commission is recommending amendments the Topeka Municipal Code to provide for the conversion of the existing C-5 zoning in downtown Topeka to D-1 zoning.  Additionally, miscellaneous amendments are recommended to modernize and align the code with goals of the Land Use & Growth Management Plan (LUGMP), which encourages mixed use, infill development, and aesthetic quality.  These proposed amendments reflect review by staff and suggestions received from the public and development community over the past couple of years.

Amendments are scheduled for discussion at the March 21, 2017 City Council meeting and for discussion/possible action at the April 4, 2017 City Council meeting. Council agendas are posted here.


Part 1 - Downtown Zoning D-1 Conversion

View the D-1 Conversion page

The conversion of C-5 zoning to D-1 zoning consisting of these four parts:

  • Convert C-5 Commercial District to D-1 Downtown District.  Rather than amend the zoning map, this amendment replaces C-5 with D-1 requirements.
  • Design guidelines.  Refreshes the design guidelines in D-1.   
  • Use Matrix and Specific Use Requirements.  Includes updates to use standards (chapter 18.60) and special use standards (chapter 18.225) for D-1.
  • Signs. Add context-based sign standards for type, size, and placement compatible with downtown character. 


Part 2  - Miscellaneous Amendments

View proposed amendments

  • Site and Landscape Ordinances:  Sync up minimum thresholds for site plan review and landscape plan applications; reduce landscape requirements for some industrial uses; add standards for the siting and screening of trash dumpsters for commercial uses.  (pages 7-1 through 7-4)
  • Refresh Use Categories, Definitions and Land Use Matrix.  New use categories are needed in order for the City to respond to the type and nature of development we are encountering now and in the future.  
    • Artisan Manufacturing.  New use in commercial and mixed use districts for small-scale, handcraft manufacturing businesses currently relegated to "I" districts.  (p. 7-5)
    • Microbreweries, Micro-distilleries, etc.   Provide greater clarity, incorporate alcohol distilleries, and add specific use requirements.  (p. 7-6, 7-7)
    • Mobile Retail Vendors.  New use allowing food trucks and other mobile retail sales in any district. (page 7-8)
    • Outdoor Concert Venues.  Clarifies as a use under recreation, outdoor type III.  (p. 7-9)
    • Truck Stops, etc.  Add use requiring a CUP in "C-3" and "C-4". (p. 8-4 ).
    • Wood and Yard Waste Recycling. Include in definition of "landfill, demolition" which requires a CUP in "I-1" and is subject to specific use requirements in "I-2".  (p. 7-10)).
  • Cargo Containers:  Allow cargo containers as an accessory use but with screening requirements in some commercial districts. Only allow small containers in residential areas for moving purposes.  (pages 7-12 through 7-15)
  • Setbacks for Uncovered Horizontal Structures (decks, patios, stoops, stair landings, and accessibility ramps):   The code currently provides for the encroachment of accessory structures into required building setback areas (yards).  The proposed amendment adds clarity and greater flexibility regarding placement of porches, decks and other unroofed structures typically associated with residential land use.  (pages 7-16, 7-17)
  • Fences.  The proposed amendment adds a diagram to clarify setback and height standards and clarifies acceptable fence construction materials.  (pages 7-18 through 7-21)
  • Mixed Use Zoning Districts.   The proposed amendment provides for the use of "X" Mixed Use districts in areas outside of neighborhood plan areas.  (pages 7-22, 7-23)
  • Little Free Libraries.   These "libraries" have become familiar in Topeka neighborhoods.  The proposed amendment allows for their use and provides modest standards to control size.   (pages 7-24 through 7-26)
  • Condition of Signs.   Clarifies what constitutes signs that are not in good condition and thus subject to repair or removal to help enforcement.   (p. 7-27)
  • Accessory Dwellings.  New use to clarify that detached accessory dwellings are allowed in districts where duplexes and multiple family dwellings are already permitted.  (p. 7-28)
  • Park.  Definition revised to clarify it is open to the public but not necessarily owned by a governmental entity. (p. 7-30)



Part 3 - Land Use Matrix (updated)

The above changes are incorporated in a revised Land Use Matrix, chapter 18.60 of the city code.  

View the proposed, updated Matrix


Bill Fiander, AICP

Planning Director

Kris Wagers

Administrative Officer
620 SE Madison
Topeka, KS 66607

Planning Contacts

Licensing & Inspections