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New Zoning Ordinance, Planning and Design Ordinance and Citywide Zoning Map Approved and Effective

City of Des Moines is planning for 2040 and beyond

The PlanDSM Comprehensive Plan was approved on April 25, 2016. With a vision of how the City will evolve for the year 2040 and beyond, PlanDSM is a policy basis for additional planning efforts, land use decisions and prioritizing capital projects. Key initiatives of PlanDSM are being implemented by the City including, but not limited to, the City Council's Strategic Plan (GuideDSM), approval of the City’s first Transportation Master Plan (MoveDSM), approval the City’s new Park and Recreation Master Plan (LiveDSM), approval of the City’s neighborhood revitalization strategy (InvestDSM) and approval the City’s new Zoning Ordinance, new Planning and Design Ordinance and new Citywide Zoning Map.


About the Plan

PlanDSM | Creating Our Tomorrow  is the City of Des Moines' Comprehensive Plan for how it will grow into the future. It consists of a vision statement of values the City considers important for the future; goals and policies for eight different Plan elements; a separate element addressing social equity; an implementation chapter describing how the Plan can be realized; and, a Future Land Use Map.

Get Involved

New Zoning Ordinance

The City’s new Zoning Ordinance, Planning and Design Ordinance and Citywide Zoning Map implement the policies of PlanDSM by preserving and enhancing the existing character of the City’s neighborhoods, emphasizing urban design and quality development; providing a more user friendly format and providing greater predicatiblity in development for neighborhoods and developers.

Individual sections of the Approved Zoning, Planning, and Design Ordinance can be downloaded below.

News & Events

The New Zoning Ordinance, Planning & Design Ordinance and Zoning map approved on October 16, 2019 and first amendments approved on December 16, 2019 are now effective.

Short-Term Rental Amendments

Amendments to the short-term rental regulations are currently being proposed. Please see the following schedule for continued opportunities to learn about the content of amendments to the approved ordinance:

  • January 6, 2020 - Public Information Meeting @ 5:30pm-7pm at MSC Board Room
  • January 16, 2020* – Plan and Zoning Commission Public Hearing and Recommendation @ 6:00 PM at MSC Board Room
  • January 27, 2020* – City Council @ 4:30 PM at City Council Chambers
  • February 5, 2020* – City Council Quarterly Worksession at City Council Chambers @ 8am. Short-term rentals are currently the second item to be discussed.
  • February 10, 2020* – City Council Hearing (Set Date of Hearing) @ 4:30 PM in City Council Chambers
  • February 24, 2020* – City Council Meeting (Public Hearing and 1st Reading) @ 4:30 PM in City Council Chambers
  • March 9, 2020* – City Council Meeting (2nd Reading unless waived) @ 4:30 PM in City Council Chambers
  • March 23, 2020* – City Council Meeting (3rd Reading unless waived) @ 4:30 PM in City Council Chambers

*Please check this schedule frequently for updates.

Meeting Locations
  • The MSC Board Room: 2nd floor of the Richard A. Clark Municipal Service Center (1551 East Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway).
  • The City Council Chambers: 2nd floor of the City Hall Building (400 Robert D. Ray Drive).

Stay up-to-date by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter @PlanDSM

If you have questions, please contact Michael Ludwig at 515-283-4182 or

City Council Hearing
(Set Date of Hearing)
City Council Chambers
400 Robert D. Ray Drive
City Council Meeting
(Public Hearing and First Reading)
City Council Chambers
400 Robert D. Ray Drive

Why update the 1965 Zoning Code?

The City of Des Moines’ current zoning code was written in 1965. Over those 54 years, more than 300 amendments have been added to the code. This has created conflicting procedures and inefficient processes which have led to permitting delays and frustration. A new zoning, planning, and design ordinance for the City of Des Moines will provide greater predictability, efficiency, and a more focused urban design for developers and neighborhoods.

Recognition & Awards

PlanDSM & Des Moines Diversity Highlighted by National APA

Planning Administrator Michael Ludwig discusses the background and outreach efforts that went into developing PlanDSM: Creating Our Tomorrow with Anna Read from American Planning Association.

PlanDSM Recognized for Comprehensive Plan Standards for Sustaining Places 

APA Comprehensive Plan Silver Award

PlanDSM: Creating Our Tomorrow was recognized by the American Planning Association (APA) for its values-based vision for the City of Des Moines and for integrating sustainability throughout the plan. The APA awarded PlanDSM the silver level, highest awarded this year. For more information, view the APA's announcement.

APA-Iowa 2016 Daniel Burnham Award For A Comprehensive Plan

IA APA Banner

Awarded by the Iowa Chapter of the American Planning Association to the City of Des Moines for PlanDSM: Creating Our Tomorrow, recognizing innovation and insight in creating a sustainable vision for Des Moines as it continues to grow into the future.

Steering Committee

T. M. Franklin Cownie, Mayor
Joe Gatto, City Council
Dr. Tom Ahart, Des Moines Schools Superintendent
Todd Ashby, Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization
Pam Carmichael, Home Inc.
George Davis, Park and Recreation Board  
Vacant, Transportation Safety Committee
Larry James, Jr., ULI Iowa
Greg Jones, Plan and Zoning Commission 

Jeremy Lewis, Street Collective
Colleen MacRae, Urban Design Review Board  
Frank Owens, Neighborhood Revitalization Board  
Mel Pins, Zoning Board of Adjustment  
Elizabeth Presutti, General Manager DART
Scott Sanders, City Manager
Meg Schneider, Greater Des Moines Partnership
Rick Tollakson, Hubbell Realty Company

Contact Information

If you have questions, or cannot attend any of these meetings, please contact Michael Ludwig:

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