By MARY RAINWATER
The Palestine City Council approved changes to a zoning article Monday that would allow buildings in the city’s Central Business District to be utilized as residences without having to obtain a special-use permit.
The decision involved approval of an ordinance that amended “Appendix A, Zoning, Article 4, Zoning Districts, Section 4.6 Zoning Use Graphs,” regarding which zoning districts permit the use of a “work-live unit.”
It also amended the definition of a “work-live unit” as it is defined in “Section 3.3 Uses definition.”
According to Director of Development Services Jeffrey Lyons, the amendment approved by council allows a work-live unit “by right” on any property within the Central Business District (a defined area of downtown Palestine).
“By allowing the work-live units ‘by-right,’ those choosing to occupy an area of the CBD would not be required to have a special-use permit to reside in the same building as a business,” Lyons explained.
The new definition of the “work-live unit” excludes the verbiage “multi-story building,” Lyons said.
“All buildings located in the Central Business District are not multi-story,” Lyons said. “No single story building could be used as a ‘work-live unit’ as long as the definition is specific to a multi-story building.”
Lyons also reported that those making changes to a structure to convert it to a residence would be required to obtain the proper building permit, just as any other resident.
“Those in one-story buildings would be allowed to add a residence to the center or rear of the building and to maintain a ‘business front’ in the building.”
A discussion about possible parking problems in the downtown area as a result of the changes also occurred prior to the ordinance’s final approval by council, with members basically agreeing that the issue could be addressed as circumstances dictated.
“I would love to hear that we have a parking problem downtown,” council member Steve Presley said. “It would be a great problem to have.”
The ordinance was approved 5-1 by the council following a public hearing held previously in the meeting. Council member Will Brule cast the lone opposing vote, voicing concerns about the “by-right” portion of the ordinance.
Also during the meeting, the council approved a budget amendment that provides $15,000 to the police department for use in battling the drug problem in Palestine.
Council members had previously voiced concerns about the growing drug problem in the city, and seemed pleased with the making the funds available to the police department for the issue.
According to Palestine Police Chief Robert Herbert, the moneys will be used for a drug enforcement program in the city that includes increased surveillance, enforcement and more.
In other business Monday, the Council:
• RECOGNIZED Buck Kelly for achieving Master Code Professional Certification and recognized Kelly Hughes for achieving Fire Marshal Certification.
• APPROVED the City Manager Report and the Consent Agenda.
• APPROVED a proposed contract from Trane for Performance Contracting pending the favorable outcome of the third party review firm.
• APPROVED Letter of Commitment from Trane for the analysis of the City Water Meter Project.
• APPROVED an Ordinance approving a specific use permit to allow a work-live unit in the existing building located at 101 Avenue A, which is generally located at the northeast corner of North Sycamore Street and Avenue A. The applicant is Allen Herrington.
• APPROVED a subdivision replat of residential zoned property located at 17 Anderson Drive in the Hill Crest Addition plat as Lots 7 and 8, of Block 4. The replat created one single lot being called Lot 7-R. Applicant John and Ann Mottern.
• APPROVED an Ordinance approving amendments to “Appendix A, Zoning, Article 4, Zoning Districts, Section 4.6 Zoning Use Graphs” adding the use of a sound and video recording studio” and adding a definition to “Section 3.3 Uses definition.”
Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org