First public hearing held: Planning commission approves zoning ordinance
BY Jan Murray firstname.lastname@example.org
With few questions and no resistance during last week’s public hearing, held by the Daleville Planning Commission, the board unanimously approved an updated zoning ordinance for the city. The ordinance now goes to the city council for review and public hearing before final approval by city leaders.Several citizens and other officials attended the hearing, held in the city council chambers April 26. The meeting gave citizens and business owners a chance to have input, voice any concerns and ask questions about the proposed changes before the plan goes before the city council.Chairman Frank Moore said, “This has been a lengthy process, but one in which great input has been received from the citizens of Daleville…We really had reached a point where our city ordinances were completely out of date, archaic, using terminologies not even commonly understood now…It has been a very comprehensive, detailed review…There are several new components, such as an overlay in certain areas of our zoning.”Debra Latremore, a member of the Planning Commission, said, “For our little town to grow and be more on the same wavelength, this was just imperative.”Jason Fondren with KPS Group, Inc. in Birmingham—a planning and architectural firm—gave details of the ordinance at a joint meeting of the council and planning commission in February. Fondren also attended the public hearing to summarize the plan.“An important first step in modernizing the ordinance was making sure that the ordinance spoke, in terminology and in addressing uses that are common today…We went through a process of updating all the definitions and the terminology to support modernizing the ordinance,” Fondren said. “Some of the important changes for people to recognize are in addressing uses. The cornerstone of what a zoning ordinance does is define what types of uses are permitted in one zone versus another zone.”Institutional uses have historically been permitted in residential areas, Fondren explained, but under the updated ordinance churches and schools would still be permitted, but only up to a certain size.Another area of change involves the addition of two new zoning districts—garden homes and an institutional district.The updated ordinance will also provide for a set of commercial overlay districts to include Daleville Avenue, Donnell Shopping Center area, U.S. Highway 84 and Alabama Highway 134. Fondren said the overlay concepts is meant to provide “a tool to help, over time, improve the appearance and operation of the primary commercial districts in the community…The impact of the overlay districts would be on any future development.”Limitations on business use of metal and/or vinyl siding, screening of HVAC units and non-outdoor items or merchandise and sign height limitations are also included in the ordinance.Existing businesses will have two years to comply with screening requirements.“In one general requirement for outdoor display and storage of merchandise will have to be screened within the two-year period…People that has their stuff in front of their building line will have to screen it behind their building line…Any new development will adhere to this new zoning (ordinance),” said commission member and City Code Enforcement officer Wayne Stripling. “The things that are being stored outside have to be behind the building line and screened.”Overall, Moore said, the new ordinance is easier to read and includes charts and table to make interpreting and using the extensive document easier to use and understand. The ordinance is available on line at dalevilleal.com. It can also be viewed at city hall.