Wednesday, July 15, 2015

GIS4048-Urban Planning

This week was very busy. For GIS 4048, we worked on Module 9, Urban Planning. However, there was the matter of a Participation Exercise, that I will discuss in a later post or two. For now, let's discuss this Lab: Urban Planning: GIS for Local Government- Scenario 1 & 2. As you might guess based on the title alone, this looks like a rather long and involved lab. The overall objective was to become familiar with how a local municipality conducts business relative to property appraisals and zoning. This turned out to be more fun than I anticipated. I found this Lab highly interesting because I am currently volunteering with the Brevard County Survey Department located in the Government office complex in Viera (an unincorporated section adjacent to Melbourne, Florida). One of the functions I have observed while volunteering is the request to Vacate certain easement restrictions on various parcels. Usually, it seems, this happens because someone wants to put in a new swimming pool and it may encroach on a neighboring parcel or an easement for access.

For this lab we had to research surrounding parcels for a local developer and provide a report. The customer, Mr. Zuko, wanted to know the type of zoning, and the owners of the surrounding properties to the parcel in question. The best part of this lab was learning how to use Data Driven Pages. Data Driven Pages make it possible to provide much more information in a map book utilizing several pages of maps that can tell a story or convey a great deal of information in a uniform and consistent manner.  Below is one of the pages from my Map Book showing the customer's Parcel:

My entire Map Book for this Module is available for review at:   

The process for creating the Map Book was similar to what I have done in the past to create a complete Map. I did the research on the Marion County Property Appraiser web site; I collected information about this parcel (14580-000-00) and I put together all the details on the above Map Book. The big difference was in using the Data Driven Pages Tool. Using Dynamic Text and Making the Locator that you see in the lower right hand corner of the map was also a very cool experience. Another report I "delivered" to this customer was the written Parcel Report. I created this by using the Create Report feature at: attribute table>Table Options> Reports> Create Report 
Here's the report I created:

The entire report is available at:

There were several questions along the way that I had to address. The easiest way for me to present the questions is by listing both the question and my answer for each of the Scenarios:

Scenario 1: Marion County, FL

1. When was the data certified?

A: On the web page that has you “agree to continue” to the “Search engine”, the first sentence states: “Certified (2014) data represents certified assessed values provided to the Tax Collector and used in generating the 2014 tax bill. The 2014 Assessment Rolls were certified to the Tax Collector on October 16, 2014.” The answer is, the data was certified on October 16, 2014.

2. Who is the owner of the parcel and what is the acreage?

A: Once again, exploring this web site and reviewing the portion regarding “Property Information, at the top of the record, the answer is:



801 N BRAND BLVD # 665


is listed as the owner of this parcel. The acreage for this parcel can also be found at the top of the page to the far right. Acreage is listed as: Acres: 19.46

3. What two types of zoning are listed for this parcel? Include the classification description.

A: On this web site page, a heading for Zoning is found under “Land Data – Warning: Verify Zoning” The zoning listed here for this property is: A1, A1, A1, A3, A3

However, to find the definitions of A1 and A3 Zoning, I had to “hunt” the web site. I began with the "Home" Page and cycled through "Meet the Property Appraiser", Duties of Property Appraiser" "Property Search" (agree to terms , again) "Map It" and finally, "Sales Search" where I found a link to Zoning that opened a “Zoning Codes”, page. Here I found that:

A1 is for General Agriculture and A3 is for RES Agriculture Est. Though I could have just Googled “Zoning definitions”, I am not aware that there is a standard or a universal definition of A1 or A3 zoning. So, I was reluctant to take that shortcut and instead went on the “hunt.”.

4. What is the value of the dog house on this property?

A: Really? The value of a dog house? I found a great drawing of the buildings and the layout on the property. At the very bottom of the page was a section that reads: “Planning and Building, County Permit Search” and there, the second line item from the bottom, is “Dog House.” This must be one fantastic dog house. The permit search area states the Amount as: $6,500, so according to the Permit issued, the value of this dog house is $6,500.00.

5. How many records were selected?

A: I used: Selection> Select By Location > first drop down=select features from and I checked the box next to Parcels_Join. Only show selectable layers in this list, was already checked. I set the Source Layer = Zuko_Parcel, and I selected for Spatial selection method= are within a distance of the source layer feature. Finally, I put .25 and miles for the search distance. The "selection" found 67 out of 643 parcels or features. Therefore, 67 records were selected.

6. List the zoning type(s) with description found in the parcel area.

A: I found mostly A1 or A3 zoning types. A1 is for General Agriculture and A3 is for RES Agriculture Est. However, I did find other types of zoning including: B1, Neighborhood Business, B2, Community Business, B5 which is, Heavy Business, P-MH, Mobile Park, R1, Single family Dwelling and R4, which is for Residential Mixed Use. I made the below table and placed it on my Zoning Map for reference. 

Scenario 2: Gulf County, FL 

7. How many parcels are owned by Gulf County?

A: To get to this point, I started an editing session to annotate the newly created polygon, Object ID number 16911, to show that it too was owned by "Gulf County". Then, I used the Selection by Attribute expression "OWN_NAME" LIKE "GULF COUNTY" as provided in the Lab instructions. The Selection revealed that there are 75 parcels owned by Gulf County.

8. How many land parcels are greater than 20 acres?

A: I manually reviewed the parcels and found only a few that were greater or equal to 20 acres. After running the query, (provided in the Lab instructions: “Use the “Query Builder…” button to create the following expression: Acres >= 20 “) I found 12 parcels that were both Gulf County owned and equal to or greater than 20 acres.

Overall, this was a great Lab and I can't wait to have a job doing this kind of work everyday!

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