City planners reviewing change in setback rules

By LARRY C. BOWERS larry.bowers@clevelandbanner.com
Posted 4/19/17

The Cleveland Municipal Planning Commission is preparing to recommend significant changes to the city’s setback requirements for R-1 residential home construction.

Planning Commission …

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City planners reviewing change in setback rules

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The Cleveland Municipal Planning Commission is preparing to recommend significant changes to the city’s setback requirements for R-1 residential home construction.

Planning Commission members have established perimeters for the changes they would like to see, and Senior Planner Corey Divel is to compose an ordinance to address the proposed amendments. The ordinance will also consider impervious surface and green space requirements.

After extensive discussion with local homebuilders, and a review of setback requirements in other municipalities across the state, city staff and the planning commission support a big cut in front and rear setbacks to proposed home construction.

Setbacks are currently 30 feet in R-1 residential, and the proposal is to established a 25-foot setback in the front and 15 in the rear. This is a total change of 20 feet for the length of the lot. The side setbacks would be 10 feet in R-1.

The changes would conform to existing Bradley County requirements.

The city’s planning staff met with several members of the Ocoee Region Builders Association following the March planning meeting to discuss the proposal. They want setback requirements within all residential zoning to be established with the same setbacks as zones in the county.

All county residential districts have front setbacks of 25 feet, side setbacks of 10 feet and rear setbacks of 15 feet.

Builder and Bradley County Commission member Charlotte Peak has emphasized the difference in requirements is often confusing to contractors who work in both the city and county.

The planning staff pointed out there is no provision for reduced setbacks for accessory structures in Bradley County.

Once Divel has put together a new city ordinance on the new setback requirements for R-1, it will come back to the planning commission. With approval it would be forwarded to the City Council for final discussion and action.

In other planning commission business Tuesday:

— Following a long series of comments and discussion, the planning commission unanimously denied a request to rezone approximately 1.9 acres of property located at Tennessee Nursery Road and Martin Drive N.W.

A potential property buyer was asking that the parcel to be rezoned from R-1 Single Residential to Mixed Use. This change in zoning would allow him to renovate an old building, and even construct an adjacent building if needed. The current zoning does not allow this.

Heath Davis, broker, said the interested buyer would like to replace a broken overhang at the front of the building. He said he also wants to clean up the property and use it for storage of some equipment and vehicles.

It was discussed that the property is part of the old nursery business, and located beside a parcel owned by the city being used as a storage site.

Councilman David May Jr., a member of the planning commission, and District 3 Councilman Tom Cassada, said they have received several calls from residents in the community who oppose the rezoning. Cassada added the city may buy the property.

Davis said the potential buyer is also a nearby resident.

— The commission later approved an amendment to the city’s zoning ordinance to create provisions to allow greater density in the zoning districts for multi-family uses.

The move could increase density in such buildings as high-rise apartments.

Divel pointed out such requests must still go before the Cleveland Board of Zoning Appeals, which Peak chairs.

— A request was tabled for a plan of service, annexation, and rezoning of about 3.9 acres at 1682 South Lee Highway, a few hundred yards south of the Scott Furniture business.

The parcel is located on a hill, several hundred feet from South Lee. The city has taken in the first 200 feet of the road. The county has the remainder of the roadway, but has designated it will not maintain the road.

After lengthy debate, the requests were tabled for at least a month as city staff look into options.

— The planning panel approved two routine consent items:

One was a request by the Cleveland/Bradley Industrial Development Board for a site plan of Spring Branch Industrial Park on Cherokee Gateway Boulevard south of Cleveland.

The new business park is zoned Commercial Highway and is within the Interstate Gateway Corridor Overlay Zoning District.

Also on the consent agenda was a request by Peak for preliminary/site plan approval for two lots she owns on Stephens Road. The property is zoned R-2 Low Density Single and Multi-Family Residential.

— In new business, the commission approved a request by Donald Harris for preliminary plat approval for Douglas Court on Georgetown Pike at 18th Street N.W. The property is zoned R-1 Single Family Residential, and the plat was by Richmond Surveying.

— The Planning Commission voted unanimously against a request from the City Council. The request was a possible amendment to the city’s zoning ordinance concerning the waiting period for re-application for a zoning change, following a denial. The commission rejected the suggestion, saying they feel a one-year wait is adequate.

— Also receiving approval was a request to apply infill standards for property on Aurora Avenue at 13th Street S.E.

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