No Opposition: Council May Go Ahead and Consider Town Center Zoning Changes

November 21, 2011

The West U City Council may go ahead and consider proposed zoning changes to the Town Center Retail District instead of waiting until later in 2012.

Council directed staff in September to budget $60,000 for a non-residential zoning study for the commercial areas in the city and asked that the town center be rolled into the project.

After hearing positive feedback from residents and property owners during a public hearing on Nov. 7, council may now consider moving forward with the proposed changes.

“Council is looking favorably at this proposal now whereas before they were concerned that there would be sort of a political problem or public outcry against it, but that wasn’t the case,” Zoning and Planning Commission Chair Steve Brown said during the board’s November meeting. “I think we have a good report to send to council.”

The ZPC unanimously approved a final report that could be considered by council as early as December. Council will have to approve the zoning changes on two readings before they can take effect.

Council did not close its public hearing and residents can still comment on the proposed changes.

The city council handed off the Town Center report to the ZPC after the Town Center Ad Hoc Committee presented it on Jan. 24. Council directed the ZPC to begin drafting proposals for zoning amendments to Edloe Street.

The proposed changes are recommended because in the event of a catastrophic loss, the buildings would lose prior non-conforming status. The current code allows 50 percent of the existing floor space to be reconstructed, which could lead to an economically blighted area.

The proposed amendments enable the retail area of the town center to be reconstructed or redeveloped through private investment.

The proposed zoning changes include:

–          Establish a definition and boundaries for the Town Center Retail District (TCDR)

–          Establish allowable uses in the TCDR

–          Establish regulations for front, side and rear yard (setbacks), visual buffering, maximum height of all structures, minimum parking requirements and exterior finishes of structures

–          Require the first floor of all structures to be at grade level

–          Allow for an above-grade parking structure for a unified development of two or more adjacent building sites and establish minimum standards for height limits, noise, lighting and exterior finishing materials.

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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