At Tuesday night’s Board of Trustees meeting, Town Manager Aaron Blair presented Ordinance 895, proposed Zoning Updates to the Board for approval. Blair said the 3 different items had recently been approved by the Planning Commission and met the goals of the Town’s Downtown Enhancement Plan.
The first is a change to Central Business District (CB) parking. With new developments being planned in the District, the amendment would apply to residential units within the CB. It would require that one parking space per unit be located at the rear of the building, with exceptions to allow for parking on the side to be considered by the Town Manager if a hardship exists. Parking would not be allowed within the build-to zone.
For new buildings, thirty percent of the parking requirement may be met off-site, as long as it is within one block of the residence. Recognizing the challenge existing buildings present in meeting the new code revisions, he added that, for buildings constructed before 1970, seventy-five percent of the parking requirement may be met off-site, as long as it is within one block. Another option could be for the developer to pay into a parking fund, possibly at $15,000 per unit to further develop parking within a certain radius of the building, so they aren’t parking on the street. The town will remain flexible to comply with ADA requirements. Short-term loading zones would also be considered, so that residents may unload their vehicles before parking them off-site.
The second item addressed pertained to Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU), clarifying that the maximum occupancy of the 400 square foot units would be 2 adults and no more than 3 total (baby/child(ren) would be allowed). The length of occupancy in the ADUs is a minimum of 180 days. Blair told the Trustees that he’d been approached with a request to reduce the minimum to 90 days in order to accommodate summer seasonal workers. The Board held firm with the 180 day minimum, because short-term rentals are not considered a good fit for these dwellings.
The third item discussed was the Highway and General Business District zoning which impacts the Town’s overall quality of life. The updates addressed trash receptacles, sidewalks and pathway requirements and site landscape standards. Blair considers these as “pretty basic” and would not cost the developer a lot of money. While not extensive, they will help improve and soften property appearance within the district. The updates would require developments to construct a pathway along the front of the business which could be linked together with future developments. Blair told the Trustees that “Sidewalk fees in lieu” was popular in Naples, FL, where he’d previously worked. This would allow the developer to pay a fee in lieu of constructing a sidewalk, and the fees would be used at a later date to build sidewalks when the project is built out. “We don’t want sidewalks to nowhere”, said Blair. The new Dollar General store was mentioned, since it lacks any landscaping on the parcel. The Town is looking into ways to work with the store to improve the barren site and give it a more welcoming appearance.
Blair told the Trustees that when the Town fills the newly created Code Enforcement Officer position, that position will be responsible for monitoring and enforcing all aspects of the Town Code and imposing penalties as necessary. Chief James Kraker told the Trustees that he’d received some great applicants for the position and he hopes to make a decision and offer very soon.
Ordinance 895 was approved unanimously. To learn more, visit: townofgranby.com