Auburn City Council discusses zoning changes

Auburn City Council discusses zoning changes

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - The city of Auburn is providing a new way to enhance and encourage retail, as well as commercial and hospitality development.

The City has targeted South College Street and the I-85 interchange as an area to be subject to new rules which will help with aesthetics and accessibility to commercial business such as hotels, restaurants, car dealerships and gas stations.

These new zones, called the South College Corridor District and the Interstate Commercial District, are similar to changes that were made during the Renew Opelika Road project.

"We loosened some of the restriction as far as development approval time frames for applications required on Opelika Road, when that effort was culminated and adopted we decided to take a step back and look at other parts of the city that might benefit from similar regulations," explains Planning Director Forrest Cotten.

The proposed zoning changes would provide developers with a more streamlined review and approval process.

It will also create a consistent corridor aesthetic by providing an area that is geared toward service uses, but it would exclude residential development.

"We really looked at it as a commercial preservation district meaning this is a prime area to locate commercial tax revenue generating uses and so we actually took residential use out of play so residential uses were removed from being permitted at all," explains Cotten.

At Tuesday City's Council meeting, members decided to table the proposal after property owners came forward asking to opt out of the districts being considered.

The city says this streamline process would not affect public input, with this proposed approval process.

"We don't feel like anybody is lost in the process. We feel like it is a win-win," says Cotten.

The proposed zoning districts were unanimously approved by the planning commission.

The council will hear the proposal again in coming weeks.

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