BG moves ahead on zoning for downtown PDF Print E-mail
Written by HAROLD BROWN Sentinel City Editor   
Thursday, 17 January 2013 11:08
A revised proposal to create a transitional central business district zoning classification (B-5) received a unanimous recommendation Wednesday night from Bowling Green's Planning Commission.
The 9-0 vote came at the end of an hour-long special meeting.
The proposal heads back to city council, which has a public hearing scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m. The ordinance is scheduled to come off the table during the council meeting that follows.
Among council's options are to make amendments, re-table the proposal or take a vote. It is likely that at least two council members will be absent from the meeting.
Wednesday's discussion revolved around continuing citizen concerns about prohibited uses, buffering between abutting properties, privacy fences and the roles of the commission, council and city officials in reviewing plans for rezoning and development.
The proposal headed to council specifically prohibits tattoo parlors or similar businesses, bars and taverns and all uses prohibited in the B-3, central business district zone, and anything not specifically included in the B-3 central business district zone.
After a commission subcommittee meeting on the issue Jan. 9, the proposal gave the commission and/or city council the ability to require screening and/or buffering "as is found necessary." The planning director and/or municipal administrator were also given the power to recommend screening and buffering.  In the proposal reviewed Wednesday, the language referencing the commission and council was eliminated.
This morning City Prosecutor Matt Reger said the change was made after a discussion among city officials. Reger said any request for a rezoning would be subject to public hearings by the commission and council. When a development plan is submitted it would get an administrative review like any other project, he said.
The ordinance being considered does not automatically rezone any property.
David Hartt, representing the developer of the CVS Pharmacy proposed for the southeast corner of Prospect and Wooster streets, said  their support of the B-5 district depends how the section on screening and buffering is written. The developer has asked for B-3, central business district zoning, but indicated at the Jan. 7 council meeting they could wait two weeks while work on the B-5 proposal was completed.
"Our own site plan has buffering on all four sides of the site. We believe it complies or exceeds in aspects the current code. This is a detailed plan, not an engineered plan. We may need a little wiggle room in case something falls a little short (two or three feet) on the engineered plan," Hartt said.
Michelle Green, representing property owners pursuing a project at the northeast corner of Prospect and Wooster said the B-5 proposal was OK now but expressed concern about the possibility of more conditions that could produce unintended consequences. She mentioned that some might view a six-foot fence as good, while others would view it as an eyesore.. "Allow flexibility," she said.
The Green development is seeking rezoning from B-2, neighborhood commercial, to B-3.
North Prospect resident Les Barber favored leaving the planning commission and council in the mix on screening and buffering. He also lobbied to include all the exclusions of the B-1, B-2 and B-3 districts in the B-5 proposal.
Williams Street resident Jan Veitch said she was disappointed that several suggestions she offered were not included in the proposal. "There is no assurance that buffering or screening will be required. "To me a privacy fence seems like a no-brainer."
Norm Geer, legal counsel for Jeanette Urwin, who lives at the northwest corner of Summit and Wooster, said the 40-year resident "is concerned about maintaining her privacy and security." Geer said the city needs to do something to protect the residential areas that abut commercial development.
A suggestion from member Gary Hess that gas stations, dance halls and used car lots be added as prohibitive uses failed on a 3-9 vote. "None fit my idea of what should be in a B-5," Hess said.

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