Senior Planning and Zoning Associate Gail Denman said the city’s original zoning ordinance was adopted in 1968, and it’s been recodified in 1996, 2003 and 2009.
Mayor Mario Avery, who kicked off the town hall, said revamping the ordinance was an initiative he was gunning for when elected to office.
Denman concurred that it was a much-needed effort.
“It’s been a long time coming,” she said.
The zoning ordinance makes minor tweaks and cleans up language in its various sections affecting both the residential and commercial sides of zoning.
While Denman said there weren’t many major changes to date, the biggest topic of concern amongst those in attendance dealt with the issue of grandfathering.
City Attorney Valerie Ross explained that once the new zoning ordinance is adopted, residences and businesses that currently conform under the old zoning ordinance would be protected as a legal non-conforming establishment under the new zoning ordinance.
Basically, it was explained, once the new zoning ordinance is adopted, the city’s code enforcement department can’t go to an existing business or residence, claim it doesn’t comply with the new ordinance and demand the establishment be brought up to code.
The new zoning ordinance will only effect new development in the city.
Copies of the zoning ordinance are available for public view at city hall. The city council was expected to adopt the new zoning ordinance at its Monday meeting, which fell after press time.