City OKs code change for multifamily housing
City Commissioners approved a zoning code amendment during their June 6 meeting.
Commissioners adopted Title 17, the land development code in 2005 and it was been updated multiple times.
Over the last few years, city planned staff has received numerous inquiries from developers regarding multifamily dwellings within the C-2 general commercial zoning district.
Before the amendment, the code prohibited all residential uses in the C-2 district, which includes much of the 10th Avenue South corridor, areas along Central Avenue West, the Northwest Bypass, 3rd Street Northwest and Smelter Avenue.
Planning staff recommended the change to allow multifamily residential within the C-2 district.
In April, the city planning board voted to recommend approval of the code change.
“This proposed code revision would diversify residential development opportunities, further encourage infill, and provide additional financial sources for commercial development projects,” according to the staff report. “Staff believes that the proposed revisions to the land use chapter of the code will have a positive impact on private sector development in the community.”
During the April planning board meeting, Tom Micuda, interim planning director, said that staff had been looking at making the change for about six months.
He said under the current code, developers looking at multifamily projects would have to rezone the property from commercial to multifamily, which can take about four months and essentially reduce the property value since commercially zoned property is typically higher value than multifamily zoning.
“We saw it as a win-win before the state started tackling this issue,” Micuda told the board when asked if it was in response to land use zoning changes being considered at the Legislature this session.
During the June 6 commission meeting, Micuda said they had been working on the change before the Legislature took action on the issue.
“We just thought this was a good idea,” Micuda told commissioners.
There was no public comment during the commission meeting on the code change.
Commissioner Rick Tryon said, “this is a really good example of the development review process. This is just a really excellent example of what we can do here locally.”
Commissioner Joe McKenney if the multifamily is allowed downtown.
The downtown area is a different zoning district that already allows for multifamily developments.
“The easier and the quicker we can make this process, I appreciate it and I’m sure the people that are making the investment appreciate it,” McKenney said.