West U Town Center Rezoning to be Put on Hold Until 2012

November 2, 2011

Plans to rezone the West U Town Center Retail District are expected to be put on hold until later in 2012 following a planned public hearing next Monday night.

The public hearing will be held on Nov. 7 at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers, 3800 University Blvd.

The West U City Council directed staff in September to budget for a non-residential zoning study for the commercial areas in the city and asked that the town center be rolled into the project.

City Manager Michael Ross told InstantNewsWestU that the zoning ordinance needs to be modernized and brought into the 21st century. About $60,000 has been approved for the study in the city’s capital reserve fund, he said.

The city plans to hire a consultant who will be provided with the Town Center Ad Hoc Committee’s report.

Ross said the consultant will work with the Zoning and Planning Commission to bring recommendations to council in 2012. Revisions to the city’s zoning ordinance will require public hearings.

The city council handed off the Town Center report to the ZPC after the 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 committee was formed by council in December 2009 and was given a mission statement in February 2010 “to explore options and create a mixed use development envelope and palette for a City Center zoning district.”

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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