Painesville City’s New Unified Development Code

After three years of review and revisions, the Painesville City Planning Commission presented Painesville City Council with the city’s new Unified Development Code in August 2019. After three public readings, City Council voted the approval on September 16. 


Effective October 16, 2019 the Unified Development Code goes into effect.  The new regulations apply to all new construction and development within the City of Painesville.


ContactLynn White, 440/392-5843, [email protected]


The purpose of the Unified Development Code (UDC) is to set regulations that will protect and enhance property values, preserve and protect neighborhoods, provide for appropriate land uses, and improve the quality of life and aesthetics for the citizens of Painesville.


Previously, the City of Painesville’s development related codes were contained in separate distinct chapters and sections of the Codified Ordinances. UDCs combine, streamline, better organize and ensure consistency of all development related codes within one unified document.


The new Painesville City UDC accommodates new uses, planning concepts and development patterns that reflect the 2006 Comprehensive Plan Update, the 2010 Downtown Painesville Transportation and Streetscape Plan as well as other plans and best practices that have emerged in recent years.


Ongoing discussions with city staff enabled concerns and shortcomings with the current code to be addressed in the UDC. Key improvements include:


Erosion/Sediment Control 1121 1-18 Passed 1-2-18 1143
Riparian Setbacks 1140 3-18 Passed 1-2-18 1139
Signs 1341 22-17 Passed 10-2-17 1127
Driveways/Parking for SF

1137.03 (b)

1137.07 (b)

14-16 Passed 11-7-16

15-16 Passed 11-7-16

1125.03 (a)


Design Review Criteria 1146.08

9-16 Passed 9-6-16

10-16 Passed 9-6-16





  • Current definitions are revised and updated. Several new definitions have been added to address new uses or clarify the meaning of terms used in the UDC.


  • Administrative requirements and procedures are consolidated and organized into one section to improve the development review process.
  • Information is provided on application types and procedures, required meetings, acting bodies and public notices involved in the development review process.
  • A table now provides an overview of the City’s review/approval process and the public hearing requirements for each type of application.


  • Separate lists of uses for each district are replaced with a use table that enables the reader to quickly determine in which district(s) a use is permitted by right, permitted conditionally, or prohibited. The use table contains cross references to the specific regulations pertaining to the use.
  • Standards for specific uses are expanded and described in a chapter devoted to that purpose.
  • Accessory uses are now in a separate chapter. General provisions applicable to all accessory uses have been expanded and specific regulations added for certain accessory uses.


  • In line with emerging best practices, the text is revised to allow certain nonconforming situations to continue.
  • Nonconforming site situations are defined and addressed.


  • Bicycle parking accommodations are encouraged.
  • Parking waivers, agreements and shared parking situations are addressed and clarified.
  • Vehicle stacking requirements for drive-through uses are added.
  • Requirements for landscaping and other parking amenities are expanded.

Design Review

  • Appearance standards for dwelling units are incorporated into the use regulations.
  • In critical commercial and residential areas, more detailed control on building form and design is included.
  • Civic Center and Transit Center sub areas are included in the Downtown Design Review Area District.


  • Subdivision regulations are updated and are generally more consistent with many practices followed in Lake County.
  • Some standards are moved to other general chapters so as to be universally applicable and not just limited to new subdivisions.
  • New language allows for inclusion of complete streets elements to address multimodal user needs.
  • Clarification for payments in lieu of open space is provided.
  • Requirements for street trees are expanded.


  • Model language for riparian and wetland setbacks was developed and included in the UDC per the recommendation of the City Engineer.
  • Model language for erosion and sediment control was updated and included in the UDC per the recommendation of the City Engineer.