One component of the new Comprehensive Plan is an update to the Future Land Use Map (FLUM). This is often confused with zoning, however a property’s Future Land Use designation and zoning designation are two different things. Approval of the 2020 Comprehensive Plan does not change the zoning of any property.

Future Land Use Map (FLUM)

One of the ways that the Comprehensive Plan provides guidance on the types of land uses envisioned for the city’s future is through the FLUM. The FLUM provides a Future Land Use designation for every property currently within the city as well as properties within Thornton’s future growth boundaries. The FLUM designation represents a projection of the most appropriate types of land uses needed in the future to adjust to changing social and demographic needs, commercial and housing trends, economic and market conditions, and redevelopment.

Zoning / Zone Map

Separate from the Comprehensive Plan FLUM, zoning regulates specific uses currently permitted on a property. The city regulates the current use of land and buildings as well as the location, height, bulk and size of buildings and structures through Zone Districts that are described in the Thornton City Code and identified on the official Zoning Map. As opposed to the FLUM, zoning is regulatory and only applies to land currently within city boundaries. In order to change the zoning of any property, the land owner must submit an application and receive City Council approval to rezone the property. Approval of the Comprehensive Plan and the FLUM is not a rezoning of any property.

Generally, the zoning and FLUM designations are compatible for land within city boundaries. However, in certain locations where the city has determined that future needs would be better met by a different use, the two maps may differ. In this case, the Comprehensive Plan’s overall goals and the FLUM should act as a guide for any decisions regarding rezoning requests.