NOLANVILLE — The City Council approved an ordinance to establish regulations for the creation and designation of a planned development district as a specialized zoning district during a meeting Thursday at the J.W. Sims Community Center.

Sally Burchet, land planner for the city, provided the recommendation report to the council on the proposed zoning ordinance amendment to add a planned development district-zoning category. It will give developers more flexibility with land projects.

Burchet said she has been working with the city manager and the Planning and Zoning Commission to work out the pros and cons of having a planned development district in the city.

“We talked about wanting to make sure it would meet the needs of the development community without sacrificing any of the goals or objectives of the city,” she said. “That includes making sure the city does not object to any proposed lot sizes.”

Innovative development

The district promotes innovative development that is sensitive to surrounding land uses and the natural environment.

Burchet told the council there have been thorough discussions on key components of the zoning district, such as health, safety and schools as well as commerce activities in the surrounding area.

The district also makes efficient use of land that will result in smaller networks of utilities and streets, as well as lower development costs.

City officials are excited the planned development district would mean more affordable housing for families looking to settle in the area.

“Right now the zoning ordinance has several categories that are basically residential or nonresidential, and a planned development district is like a blank slate,” Burchet said. “It’s a wonderful tool to come up with something that is superior to traditional zoning.”

Council members were in favor of the proposed ordinance.

“I know the P and Z has taken a lot of time to go over this, and the land planner and city manager have taken a lot of time to work on this,” Councilman Dennis Biggs said. “So it looks like it will be really good to me.”

The city has not yet selected a specific location for the planned development district. Burchet said it could take at least two years for the project to get started.

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