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Council considers improvements to city zoning ordinance

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Springfield’s Planning and Development Department continues to suggest improvements to the zoning ordinance to make it fit with modern uses. At Monday night’s City Council meeting, four of those proposed changes to the ordinance came up for discussion.

“All four of these amendments are an effort on staff’s part to provide a more flexible zoning ordinance document that is a little more user-friendly,” said Principal City Planner Mike MacPherson.

During a public hearing, MacPherson outlined the amendments related to the creation of use groups, off-street parking requirements, farmers markets and nonprofit community centers. The bills were all read and discussed together and are expected to come up for a vote at the July 26 meeting.

The creation of use groups would give more leeway to the Building Development Services director when it comes to deciding whether a business is allowed within a district. Now, if a type of business isn’t specifically listed under a district’s allowances, a zoning change must be requested. Use groups would allow the director to consider whether a business’ uses are consistent with the purpose and intent of the district, MacPherson said.

Modifications also have been suggested for commercial off-street parking, including the reduction of required spaces for antique stores and flea markets, retail shops, and dance halls. Changes to the definition of farmers markets allow a market to temporarily set up in a residential district, expanding initial use allowance for farmers’ markets, now limited to industrial and commercial areas. The proposal for nonprofit community centers would allow for groups such as Bridges for Youth open centers in residential districts, MacPherson said.[[In-content Ad]]

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