Commission OKs revised zoning code

Revised code will next go to City Council

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — The Sidney Planning Commission approved the final draft of the newly revised Sidney Zoning Code during its Monday evening meeting.

A public hearing was held on the presentation of the final draft of the revised zoning code that Community Development Director Barbara Dulworth provide to the Planning Commission. No member of the public spoke at the meeting.

City staff has been working with consultant, ZoneCo Inc., to simplify and rewrite the code since November 2019. During the process, a steering committee, consisting of representatives of stakeholders, including architects and engineers, a business owner, resident, contractor and downtown stakeholder, met multiple times to review and provide comments on long-range planning, the goals of the regulations and the draft code. In addition, Dulworth said, a technical committee, comprised of the city staff members, including herself, the city manager, law director, public works director, fire chief and duty fire chief and vacant property inspector, reviewed the proposed regulations. Comments, questions, and invitation to review the draft zoning code has been solicited to the general public, she said, as well as specific groups.

The outreach included the following:

• Posted on the city’s website;

• Question/comment/surveys solicited via the website and social media;

• Focus-group of downtown stakeholders;

• Presented to Planning Commission and City Council at several meetings.

Dulworth presented commission members with the first part of the final draft at the July meeting. It was reviewed in three stages, with the last four chapters of the final draft presented at the September commission meeting. City Council also received a review of the draft code at its Oct. 4 meeting.

The proposed zoning code, Dulworth said, is a culmination of all of the reviews, calibrations, community goals, feedback, and comments. She went through the major changes within the 168 page code Monday and provided explanations for the numerous questions commission members had on various issues that concerned them.

Dulworth emphasized to members who expressed concern about existing properties not being able to be in compliance, “The zoning code is for new development. So an existing house, in say (a pre-existing) subdivision, they are not regulated under the same code, unless somebody was to demolish the house entirely and redevelop the lot. … (but not) if the house was originally built under a different zoning code.”

Upon satisfaction with Dulworth’s answers, the commission unanimously approved the proposed code.

At the end of the meeting, Dulworth told commission members she expects there there be adjustments to the new zoning code after implementation.

“We fully expect that probably six months after this becomes effective, we’ll probably will come back to Planning Commission with some revisions. It always happens, there is always something that was missed, or something overlooked, or something that’s not working right. This is not written in stone, as you know, that you’ve been on Planning Commission, will be changes. We expect there will be some adjustments.”

Commission member Merrill Asher told her he was glad to hear her say that because he had some concerns about some things in the new code.

The final draft will be presented to the Sidney City Council for approval to become the official new Sidney Zoning Code. City staff’s goal, Dulworth previously said, is to get the updated zoning code adopted by the Sidney City Council by Jan. 1, 2022.

Revised code will next go to City Council

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.