Archive for Thursday, September 21, 2006

Council OKs zoning codes

September 21, 2006

The Eudora Planning Commission has a new set of tools to welcome deveolopers with.

After months of preparation and tweaking by the commission, the Eudora City Council approved Sept. 11 a new set of zoning codes.

The codes encompass everything from the city's definition of agriculture to what constitutes a duplex or town home. Officials predict condensed and updated language might make the new codes easier for the public to work with.

"That represents a lot of work over a long time by your planning commission," planning commission president Kurt VonAchen Planning Commission told the council. "There were quite a few extra meetings, and Dave Montgomery is here tonight, he was on the planning commission ---- he was in the trench doing work, during the review."

Eudora building inspector Rick Treas also worked to revamp the codes. Treas will work with the new codes on a daily basis.

"Rick Treas worked real hard," VonAchen said. "He of course is the one who had the most trouble working with the old ordinance. We had to take care of his concerns."

The ordinances, which will go into effect with publication in this week's The Eudora News, still have two pieces yet to be solidified.

The sign code ordinance was delayed because the city is waiting for information from Brian Fuller of Full Bright Sign and Lighting.

Once the city receives the promised information, then a special committee will reconvene before the sign code comes up before the council, Beatty said.

"The sign code seems to have taken forever, but we have made progress," Beatty said.

The other ongoing piece concerns city's mobile home ordinances. The current ordinances restrict the ability to placed or expand mobile homes in certain areas.

The planning commission decided to let the city council find the best solution to the issue, Beatty said.

The rest of the new zoning ordinances reflect up-to-date language.

"The purpose of rewriting the codes was to simplify them and they did," Beatty said. "In addition they made better definitions. They took and did basic definitions and referenced to a much larger book on definitions to define words within the code."

The new codes also eliminated redundancy, Beatty said.

"Their goal was to unify, or condense. I don't know that we condensed pages but condensed the thought patterns so it was consistent and easier to read," Beatty said. "That was the planning commission's goal, and I believe they achieved that goal simply by the rewrite they've done."

Instead of working with15 different zoning districts, the new ordinances only use six.

"Just simplifying it made it easier to read," Beatty said. "Instead going to look through five districts, there's just one district. You don't have to go to four or five different pages to figure where you are."

The commission also added illustrations and graphs to improve readability, Beatty said.

VonAchen told the council he was pleased with the commission's overall work.

"There's never been a perfect ordinance and I'm not going to stand here you and tell you perfect, but it's much better than what we've been working with," VonAchen said.

The ordinances can be continually added to and changed, VonAchen said.

The city's last major code revamp occurred in 1996, and this new set of codes could suffice for five to 10 years, Beatty said.

"Things change so quickly nowadays," Beatty said.

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