Cleveland Municipal Planning Commission members approved rezoning property around each of Cleveland’s Interstate 75 exits.
“Interstate Gateway zoning — you formed that a couple meetings ago — We are going to set the boundaries now around Exits 20, 25 and 27. It’s intended to guide future development in the undeveloped areas that are around Exit 20,” development and engineering director Jonathan Jobe said.
“It is the intent of these regulations to establish standards that will be reflective and protective of the community amenities in gateways along or adjacent to Exit 20 and the Spring Branch Industrial Park, Exit 25 and Exit 27 along Interstate 75 to enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Cleveland and Bradley County. It is the intent of the Interstate Gateway Corridor Overlay District regulations to protect and enhance the existing character of the land throughout the district,” according to planning commission documents.
The new zoning will allow for LED billboards that comply with state laws to be installed.
Exit 20 will have the largest Interstate Gateway Zone because it has the most undeveloped land. Jobe said Exits 25 and 27 are almost fully developed.
The zoning limits what businesses can be established in the zone. Fireworks, temporary sales and transient vendors are prohibited.
“Actually it is pretty extensive … what is not permitted and what is permitted,” Jobe said.
Councilman George Poe said he would like the city to find a way to prevent business owners from selling out of tractor-trailers, such as one is doing on South Lee Highway.
Planning Commissioner Larry Presswood suggested the city could review the business permit process and not approve such businesses.
Presswood asked how the city would ensure the billboards stay within the required brightness limits. Jobe said he would look into how brightness could be measured.
The state requires LED billboards on the highway to be at least 2,000 feet apart.
“You could possibly get three at Exit 20,” Jobe said. “They are pretty expensive, so they don’t go up everywhere.”
The planning commission also approved amending the zoning ordinance to allow permitted uses in the Heavy Industrial zone as conditional uses in Light Industry zone.
The changes allow for flexibility within the zone, and were suggested by the Industrial Development Board.
Presswood suggested amending the ordinance to disallow R-3 residential as a permitted use in a light industry zone.
R-3 residential allows for apartment buildings in a zone but no single-family houses.
The commission plans to get input from Doug Berry, Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce vice president for economic development, before discussing the issue.