Update from RNT: Rome-Floyd Planning Commission at 4-4 stalemate on housing road setbacks; issue moves to City Commission.

Update from RNT: Rome-Floyd Planning Commission at 4-4 stalemate on housing road setbacks; issue moves to City Commission.

The Rome News-Tribune reports that the Rome-Floyd Planning Commission deadlocked 4-4 on whether to allow reducing road frontage for new homes from 60 to 40 feet. Because of that deadlock, the proposal moves to the City Commission for further consideration.

Among the topics before today’s Rome-Floyd Planning Commission is the proposal to reduce the road frontage from 60 to 40 feet and side yard requirements for development. The package, including the planning staff recommendation, is below. The planning commission meets at  2:30 p.m. Thursday in the Sam King Room, City Hall. You’ll find an expanded agenda below:
ULDC Ordinance Amendment
Background: In spring of 2021, planning staff was asked to prepare a list of bureaucratic language that could simply and easily be stricken from the Unified Land Development Code (ULDC) to make residential development easier in the interim while consultants are working on the rewrite of the ULDC. The list was drafted into an ordinance amendment that was named the Omnibus Amendment to Eliminate Red Tape, which was presented to the planning commission at their regularly scheduled June meeting. Planning staff’s proposal did not include any language about reducing lot widths or road frontage requirements.
During the planning commission meeting, a suggestion was made to allow for the reduction of the lot width and depth requirements. Planning commission discussed this, but ultimately voted to approve the amendment as staff presented it, without the option for lot width reduction. On June 21, 2021, The Rome City Commission approved the Omnibus Amendment, but included language allowing for the possible reduction of the lot width from 60 to 40-feet on local roads if approved by the Planning Director and Chief Building Official. The amendment did not include any language regarding the road frontage requirement.
Staff Recommendation: Planning staff’s Omnibus Amendment was intended to remove unnecessary barriers to housing development. During the planning commission meeting, much of the discussion about supporting the idea of adding language to be able to reduce the lot width requirement was to allow for infill redevelopment of urbanized areas and to prevent sprawl. Planning commission members decided to not include the additional verbiage regarding lot width to give other departments a chance to comment, like the engineering and public works departments, fire marshal, etc. Planning staff was also present for the housing committee meetings in 2021, during which the chair of the committee repeatedly touted the need for smart growth and redevelopment along existing infrastructure, like roads, water, and sewer.
The ability to create parcels with only 40 to 60 feet of road frontage would be consistent with the character of many urbanized areas of the City of Rome. There are many parcels throughout inner city neighborhoods that have between 40 and 60 feet of road frontage, including but not limited to, Old East Rome, Between the Rivers, South Rome, North Rome, the Celanese Mill Village, the area around upper Avenue A and Maple Street. Historically, it was common to see smaller parcels as many of the people who lived in these homes did not have cars. This style of development can be continued and is still being developed in many inner cities, but it would be imprudent to do so without taking vehicular traffic into account. This style of development is more proper in urbanized, pedestrian-friendly areas, where cars can remain parked, and residents can move about on foot. The Rome City Commission has repeatedly stated the need for additional housing and there is already an administrative variance option to allow for lot width reductions, which is virtually meaningless without also reducing the road frontage.
Therefore, staff believes it would be improper and counterproductive to recommend denial of the proposed ordinance amendment, given that 50% of what is needed for narrower parcels and infill development has already been approved. Instead, staff recommends approval of allowing for an administrative variance to allow for the reduction of the road frontage from 60 feet to no less than 40 feet under the following conditions:
1.That the proposed administrative variance option shall be limited to parcels zoned for single-family use(HT-R, LT-R and S-R).2.That the proposed administrative variance option shall be limited to parcels served by existing city-owned public utilities, specifically, water, sewer, and roads.
Rome – Floyd Planning Commission ULDC Ordinance Amendment
Section II. Side Setback in Single-Family in Suburban Residential.There is no need to be able to reduce the side setbacks for HT-R and LT-R as the side setback is already five feet. However, there are also many inner-city parcels that are also zoned Suburban Residential, which should not have been given that their parcel size is more consistent with parcels zoned High Density Traditional Residential and/or Low Density Traditional Residential. Planning staff knows that it is too late to rezone entire residential blocks given that staff is currently reviewing a rough draft of a proposed new code.
Therefore, staff recommends approval of allowing for an administrative variance to allow for the reduction of side setbacks within Suburban Residential zoning from seven feet to no less than five feet with the understanding that planning staff will only consider approving an administrative variance under the following conditions: 1.That the proposed administrative variance option shall be limited to parcels served by existing city-owned public utilities, specifically, water, sewer, and roads.

EXPANDED AGENDA

 

 

NEW BUSINESS: City of Rome and Floyd County Re-adoption of the Unified Land Development Code for calendar year 2022. ULDC Text Amendments To allow for an administrative variance to reduce the road frontage requirement and the side setbacks. To allow for townhouses and tri/duplexes along major roads, with restrictions. To allow for an administrative variance to reduce the distance requirement between billboards.
CITY OF ROME APPLICATIONS: Z22-01-03For property at 410-414 E. 1st Ave., Floyd County Tax Parcel(s) J14F062, J14F063, J14F064, J14F065, J14F066, J14F067, J14F068, J14F071, Applicant/Owner Echota Realty Company, Inc. & Buckel Design Group, LLC request(s) rezoning from Community-Commercial & Light-Industrial to Multifamily-Residential.
Z22-01-06For property at 0 Woodrow Wilson Way, Floyd County Tax Parcel I13W002, Applicant/Owner The Berry Schools & Gateway Development Corporation requests rezoning from Multifamily-Residential & Community-Commercial to all being Multifamily-Residential.
The Rome City Commission will conduct a Public Hearing on Monday, January 24, 2022, at 6:30 PM in the Commission Chambers, top Floor, Rome City Hall, 601 Broad St., Rome, GA 30161, or as otherwise directed by the Rome City Commission, pursuant to any applicable law or order by state, federal, or local authorities, to act on the recommendations made by the Planning Commission. The meetings are open to the public. All documents are available for public review.
 FLOYD COUNTY APPLICATIONS: SUP22-01-08For property at 135 Wax Road, Floyd County Tax Parcel K17010, currently zoned Suburban Residential, Applicant/Owner Chris Goodwin requests Special Use Permit to use existing new structure for personal storage & to store lawn service equipment.
Z21- 11-01 For property at 1879 Pleasant Valley Rd. & 1934 Pleasant Valley Rd., Silver Creek, GA 30173, Floyd County Tax Parcel L17138 & L16240, Applicant/Owner Janice Hopkins/Estate of James Gribble requests rezoning from Suburban-Residential to Agricultural-Residential.
Z22- 01-04For property at 87 Shannon Road, Floyd County Tax Parcel L11W106, Applicant/Owner Floyd County/Bruce Ivey requests rezoning from Suburban-Residential to Heavy-Industrial.
Z22- 01-05For property at 32 Pierce Hill Road, Floyd County Tax Parcel M10Y035, Applicant/Owner(s) Monty & Diane Slaughter requests rezoning from Light-Industrial to Suburban-Residential.
Z22- 01-07For property at 100 McHenry Drive, Floyd County Tax Parcel I15W209, Applicant/Owner McHenry Ventures LLC requests rezoning from Office-Institutional to General-Heavy-Commercial.
The Floyd County Commission will conduct a Public Hearing on Tuesday, January 25, 2022, at 6:00 PM at the County Administration Building, 12 E. 4th Avenue, Rome, GA 30161, or as otherwise directed by the Floyd County Commission, pursuant to any applicable law or order by state, federal, or local authorities, to act on the recommendations made by the Planning Commission. The meetings are open to the public. All documents are available for public review
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