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City of Des Moines is planning for 2040

Following a 19 month process involving extensive public outreach to all areas of the City, PlanDSM has been adopted and is now official policy for the City. With a vision of how the City will evolve into the future, PlanDSM will be a basis for land use decisions and new capital projects. The proposed Zoning Ordinance implementing PlanDSM is now available for public comment. The full proposed zoning ordinance review copy is available below under the "New Zoning Ordinance" section. Share your comments with City staff via the Get In Touch With Us section.


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

PlanDSM (the City’s Comprehensive Plan) and GuideDSM (the City Council’s Strategic Plan) identify the need for a new zoning code as a top priority. The Public Review Draft Ordinance, as posted here on the website, is the result of 15 months of consultant writing and internal staff review.

As the first comprehensive rewrite of the City's zoning ordinance since 1965, the Public Review Draft Ordinance implements 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 predictability in development for neighborhoods and developers.

Individual sections of the Proposed Zoning Ordinance can be downloaded below.

News & Events

Thank you to everyone who attended outreach opportunities and submitted comments. Staff is currently reviewing all comments and coordinating with the consultants to prepare the Public Hearing Draft. Please see the following project schedule: 

  • September 29, 2017* – Public Review Draft Comment Period Ended
  • January 12, 2018* – Public Hearing Draft Release
  • February 1, 2018* – Plan and Zoning Commission Worksession
  • February 15, 2018* – Plan and Zoning Commission Public Hearing (public comment)
  • March 1, 2018* – Plan and Zoning Commission Public Hearing (recommendation)
  • March 19, 2018* – City Council Set Date of Public Hearing
  • April 9, 2018* – City Council Public Hearing
  • April 23, 2018* – City Council Hearing (2nd Reading)
  • May 7, 2018* – City Council Hearing (3rd Reading)
  • May 17, 2018* – Effective Date

*All dates listed are tentative and subject to change. 

Please check back periodically for news and information on upcoming events. 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

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

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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  
Chad Mason, Transportation Safety Commission  
Larry James, Jr., ULI Iowa
Greg Jones, Plan and Zoning Commission 

Jeremy Lewis, Des Moines Bike 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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