Planning wants everyone to be on the same page

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At the Sept. 25 Planning Commission meeting, Chair Ann Sallee mentioned she had requested certain up-to-date pages of City Code from city hall because commissioner Abbey Abbey discovered they were missing from her copy during a recent discussion. Sallee said as she was looking through the pages she received, she noticed Home Occupations had been approved as a Permitted Use for the R-1, R-2 and R-3 zones if it involved no traffic by the public. Otherwise it was listed as a Conditional Use, but this information was only just now available to them in codified form. It was listed as a Permitted Use for R-3, also missing from the commissioners’ Code Books.

Sallee found other inconsistencies between Ord. 2236 and her copy of Code, so she met with Mayor Butch Berry and said they looked through an up-to-date copy of Code together and found three different definitions for Home Occupations. She asked that Planning commissioners have the same copies of Code the mayor and city council have, and had hoped commissioners would have new copies by this meeting.

Sallee said the ordinance was codified in December 2017, but she only just received the pages. “I have serious concerns since this was passed two years ago, and we just now got it, that there is information we don’t have to make good decisions,” she said.

She passed around copies of ordinances that have been passed but not yet codified.

Commissioner Susan Harman recounted the process from an ordinance passing to codification to their receiving updated pages for their Code Books, and questioned the process. She commented playing catch-up takes more time than staying current along the way.

Harman suggested they keep handy all new ordinances that have passed until they receive updated pages of Code. Sallee said she would again request up-to-date copies for commissioners.

Salle also mentioned a CUP is not appropriate for Home Occupations because one neighbor would prevent any other neighbors within 200 feet of having a CUP for a Home Occupation, but they would discuss this at the next meeting.

Public input

Holly Winger, who lives at 5 Thomas Dr., had submitted a letter regarding an application for a three-unit Bed & Breakfast at 19 Thomas Dr. Even though the application was approved at the Sept. 24 city council meeting, Sallee read the letter into the record.

Winger maintained Thomas Drive is a very residential neighborhood despite beginning in a commercial area. She noted a B&B would bring “new, non-local, frequently changing, largely ‘un-vetted’ (so to speak) individuals or groups of people added to the street’s populace.” She maintained this change would affect neighbors differently than the existing home-operated businesses on the street. Also, she was concerned opening the B&B would open the door for other CUPs. Her choice would be to find creative ways to make some of the existing motels more attractive to tourists. “Staying in a neighborhood house is not the only way visitors can experience being in and observing our very special city,” she stated.

Other items

  • Abbey said she began plotting on a city map locations of all the business licenses, CUPs, legally non-conforming properties and other categories.
  • Commissioners agreed they would pursue an increase in their line item in the 2019 budget and an explanation of how their legal fees are spent.
  • There are two vacant seats on the commission.

Next meeting will be Tuesday, October 8, at 6 p.m.

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