Revised zoning code review continues

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — The second part of the final draft of the newly revised Sidney Zoning Code was reviewed at the Monday evening Sidney Planning Commission meeting.

City staff has been working with consultant, ZoneCo Inc., to simplify and rewrite the code since November 2019. Community Development Director Barbara Dulworth presented commission members with the first part of the final draft at the July meeting. It is being reviewed in three stages, with the last part of the final draft to be reviewed for board members in September.

At Monday’s meeting, Dulworth displayed information and charts of the proposed changes for landscaping and buffering, outdoor lighting, signage, off-street parking and loading, and for drive-thrus.

Dulworth went into several changes to the current regulations on landscaping. One important landscaping change she pointed out is-newly constructed single-family homes must plant one tree in the front yard. Trees are required in all districts; one for each 40-feet-of street frontage.

Regarding signage changes, Dulworth noted city staff continues to follow the US Supreme Court rulings so the city of Sidney does not impede on freedom of speech. Several changes were listed deal for electronic/digital signs. She pointed out that any on- or off-premises signs/billboards, per the Supreme Court, can be only be regulated for time, location and manner, not content.

Currently, off-street parking regulations are complex and hard to read, Dulworth said. This zoning code revision will simplify it. Off-street parking is not required when adjacent on-street parking is available, or a public parking facility is within 1,000 feet, she said. Bicycle parking is required in the courtsquare business district. One bicycle parking space is required for each 20 vehicle parking spaces. The code lists a maximum of 10 off-street bicycle parking spaces for each primary structure, regardless of the structure size.

Vehicle parking space requirements include the following:

• One space each residential unit;

• One space for each 500-square-feet ground floor area for non-residential, except:

• One space per 2,500-square-feet ground floor area for industrial or warehousing structure.

Changes for drive-thrus, such as at restaurants, or banks, etc., were reviewed also. The revised code says drive-thrus may not be located within 100 feet of a district allowing single family dwellings. If such a business is located within 200 feet, it may only operate from 5 a.m. to midnight. A by-pass lane is required for businesses with a drive-thru.

The stacking space requirements for drive-thrus are:

• Five spaces are required for a single pick-up window;

• Six spaces are required for two pick-up windows (one located on each side of the business);

• Four spaces are required if there is no menu/ordering board preceding the pick-up window.

Existing structures will be grandfathered in and and not expected to modify to meet the revised code, Dulworth confirmed, when asked by the commission. They are considered legal non-conforming uses.

Dulworth was asked if bike lanes have been considered to be added to streets. Dulworth said that objective is for engineering department with street rebuilding rather than her department, but she acknowledged Sidney is not very bike-friendly with many bike paths available. She said the city would like to change that and it is a goal to make Sidney more bike-friendly for those who want to safely enjoy riding or bike to work.

The next Planning Commission meeting will look at potential code changes for development and design standards for the code.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.