Planners OK changes to zoning ordinances
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Nov 27, 2013 | 654 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Amendments to current city zoning ordinances were considered by the Cleveland Municipal Planning Commission Tuesday.

If approved by the Cleveland City Council, these changes would allow for staff oversight in buffer requirement issues and further define permitted exceptions in current zoning.

The buffer requirement reconsideration was presented as a solution to a required barrier that neighbors did not want so close to their property.

“We were approached by Whirlpool ... they had a buffer that had to be installed along their new parking lot along Michigan Avenue ... once it was up, the homeowners it was designed to protect, they do not want it,” said Jonathan Jobe, director of development and engineering.

The barrier consists of trees and a fence. The adjoining property owners want the fence to be removed, and have submitted a letter to the city requesting action.

“The fence is like right out their front door. It’s way too close. They would rather see the trees and the parking lot,” Jobe said.

Jobe said the barrier will block drivers’ view when Michigan Avenue is widened. The Tennessee Department of Transportation has said this section will have to be removed. The Planning Commission approved an ordinance change that would allow the development and engineering director to approve a modification to a barrier if following the requirements would create a safety issue or otherwise negatively impact the neighborhood.

An ordinance was approved to allow zoning for Commercial Highway as a conditional use in Light Industry districts. A final ordinance was passed to allow properties that have been permitted to use land for purposes not allowed in the current zoning to be able to use the land for another “non-conforming use” as long as the new use was “deemed less offensive.”

City Planner Corey Divel said passing this ordinance amendment would allow for homeowners to transition to uses more closely resembling current zoning. This ordinance would apply to properties that had been “grandfathered in” to allow the land to be used for something other than for what it is currently zoned.

All ordinance changes require a vote by the Cleveland City Council.

The Planning Commission also voted to change its meeting to the third Tuesday of the month. Jobe said this would shorten the time property owners had to wait for rezoning requests to be considered by the Cleveland City Council.

A plat revision to allow some lots what had been designated as communal green space in the Lakewood subdivision to be converted into sellable lots was also approved. The request for the change was made by the homeowners’ association. Jobe said the subdivision would still meet the 20 percent green space requirement for the cluster subdivision. Planning commission member Larry Presswood said the city should reconsider this ordinance because many times the “green space” is simply a retention pond and not usable land.

A rezoning for 7 acres on McCann Drive from Low Density Residential to Multi-Family Residential was approved.