Changes could come to the interstate corridors as the Cleveland Municipal Planning Commission approved a new Interstate Zoning District during a meeting Tuesday.
The new zone would allow the use of LED billboards that comply with state law at Interstate 75.
Jonathan Jobe, director of development and engineering for the city of Cleveland, said due to state regulations, only one LED board could be constructed at Exits 25 and 27. He said there was the potential to have two at Exit 20.
Establishing the new zoning district also set restrictions on vendors at the locations. Jobe said it was written to keep ”transient” sellers from setting up shop at the interstate corridors.
Jobe said large LED billboards would be limited to the interstate corridors as a way to test how the city may want to allow them in the future. Smaller LED boards are already allowed in some areas of the city. Flashing LED boards are prohibited. Brightness of the displays is regulated by state law.
“It makes economic sense on the interstate because they are very expensive to install, and the advertisers want the most bang for their buck,” Jobe said.
Creating a new zoning district specifically for the Inman Street East area was considered and then tabled at the request of commission member Larry Presswood.
City planner Corey Divel said establishing a new zoning district to allow denser building on Inman Street East had been discussed in the past. Changing the zoning could allow more residential as well as business building on the lots. Divel said under the current zoning not much could be changed.
Setback requirements from the right of way would also be decreased, creating more space to be built upon. The addition of sidewalks to the street was also discussed, but is not currently in the works. However, an architectural plan for sidewalks, on-street parking and landscaping has been developed.
The change affects the stretch of Inman from Bible to Hill streets.
“Right now we are just looking at the ordinance to create that zone. Then we will go back and rezone the property,” Divel said.
The lots were previously zoned Commercial Highway.
“The intent is to create a gateway into downtown. It actually takes out some of the uses in commercial highway … any change in occupancy or use would come before you guys … generally it is more lenient,” Divel said.
Divel said the majority of the new zoning district deals with suggestions, not requirements.
Existing structures would be grandfathered into the new zoning, according to Jobe.
Presswood asked how the guidelines had been developed. Divel said it was a compilation of central business district and neighborhood commercial guidelines.
Presswood requested a decision on creating the new zoning district be delayed until next month.
The planning commission also approved the Cleveland Comprehensive Plan. The plan serves as a guideline for projects for the future but does not guarantee completion.
Projects proposed in the plan would make “Inman Street and the business district more pedestrian friendly, improving way finding and signage along APD 40 into downtown and coordinating citywide flood study efforts,” according to a plan summary.
Adoption of the plan and three smaller area specific plans were approved.
The planning commission also approved a zoning request by Don Cartwright “to change from one nonconforming use to a less offensive nonconforming use.”
Cartwright operated an auto repair shop at 606 Nevin Lane as an accepted nonconforming use. Recent changes to zoning ordinances now allow the planning commission to approve a switch from one nonconforming use to another, if members deem the new business to be less offensive to the neighborhood image and operation. Cartwright plans to use the land as a car sales lot. The switch was approved unanimously.