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Council approves zoning ordinance changes
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Streamlining of the system for issues involving property development was approved by the Great Bend City Council Monday night.
Assistant City Administrator Dawn Jaeger reported on the details of the ordinance, which was approved, and which moves forward the zoning changes that had already been considered and approved by the Planning Commission.
The ordinance addressed several issues, including:
• Damages to nonconforming lots.
Jaeger explained this addresses an issue that has been discussed by the city on several occasions.
According to her report, “The purpose of this clause was to help streamline the process for housing purchases. Currently the damage and destruction clause does not allow a property owner to rebuild a structure with a nonconforming use if it is damaged over 50 percent.
“This modification will allow residential structures to be rebuilt if the rebuilding is begun within a year’s time, permits are obtained, and the structure is comparable.
“Many of the items that come before the Planning Commission are zoning requests or conditional use permits associated with mortgage requirements. This process is lengthy and costly to potential residents and since the non-conforming residential use is typically the most common use, it seems to be an unnecessary burden on the public.
“Banks are unwilling to lend on non-conforming residences without either a rezoning or a special use permit in place.”
• Parking plans for planned unit development districts.
The assistant city administrator explained this change details the requirements for parking plans.
She noted, “The purpose of this change is two-fold.
“First the necessity of the plan will require the contractors to consider Great Bend parking criteria.
“The second is to allow for variations of the required parking ordinances based on the type, style, and use of a Planned Unit Development. An example of this would be that the City requires two parking spaces per living unit. With Housing Opportunities, Inc. the duplex units will typically be single car households as the residents have to meet a low to mid-low income level.”
• Providing for the placement of community rooms, pools, clubhouses or other improvements at developments.
It is becoming more popular for developers to include these specialty areas in their projects, and the zoning change reflects that trend.
The purpose of the ... change is to address the trend of including swimming pools, club houses, and community rooms that are included as conveniences in new housing developments.
“One such development that will be initiated in the future is the Housing Opportunities, Inc. development on 31st Avenue.
“A clubhouse is proposed to be included with the senior housing.”
• Special use permits.
This changes clarifies language about the process of providing for such permits.
“The purpose of this change is to address the lack of authority of the Planning Commission to consider items which are not addressed in the Great Bend Zoning Regulations.
This is not an attempt to have the Planning Commission recommend for approval items which are currently not permitted in various zoning districts, and instead allows them to consider items which are omitted or do not yet exist without having to change ordinances to do so.
• Driveway definitions.
The changes to this section are intended to clarify issues involving driveways connected to garages, in relation to the residential parking issues that were approved by the council this past year.
“The purpose of this section is to make the code more consistent with the Parking in Driveways ordinance and to actually define the driveway as a parking spot.
“At this time the driveway is not considered a parking spot.”
The new wording clarifies that issue, Jaeger explained.