The City Council unanimously passed an ordinance on first reading to encourage developers to consider lots that are difficult to build on by providing relief from existing regulatory standards that restrain development. The flexible zoning overlay is intended to get an applicant through the development process quicker with less initial cost. For example, it may help incentivize property owners to redevelop narrow lots on the west end of Eisenhower.
The Flexible Zoning Overlay District provisions create a process for applicants (property
owners/developers) to establish an overlay district and district plan that would specify
development standards within the district boundaries. The plans submitted by an applicant could eliminate or modify any or all existing zoning standards, including standards for landscaping, architectural design, building height, setbacks or use allowances. However, standards relating to street improvements, stormwater, and other infrastructure could not be waived or modified; nor could building safety, fire or emergency services requirements be modified through this process. City Council will have final authority to approve (or deny) overlay districts on a case-by-case
There may be some modifications to the ordinance before second reading. There was a discussion about including greenfield sites on the edges of town (along US 287 and US 34) in addition to infill or redevelopment. The entire zoning code will be completely rewritten and modernized, but that process won’t be complete for 18 months.