by Kathy Crawford
A proposed unified development ordinance and zoning map is becoming an important topic at the city of Tracy, with potential growth on the way to the small town.
City attorney Lisa Rehard said the zoning commission has worked for many months to update Tracy's zoning, which was last updated in or about 1983.
“Obviously, circumstances have changed quite a bit since then,” said Rehard. “The law's changed since then and the city's changed.”
Rehard said the proposed zoning ordinance takes three separate documents and simplifies it into one. The zoning includes land use regulation, sets forth classifications, and permitted uses within the classifications.
The second aspect of the ordinance is subdivision regulations, which Tracy currently doesn't have.
“It's kind of uncommon for a city not to have (subdivision regulations),” said Rehard. “So, the proposed ordinance brings Tracy up to par with other communities in the area.”
For example, new houses are required to connect to the sewer instead of using septic tanks. Since Dudley Alexander has planned for some time to build 43 new homes in Tracy, the connection fees will help the city financially.
A third aspect of the proposal is to incorporate into the ordinance the flood plain regulation, which the city updated in 2002 pursuant to the Department of Natural Resources and federal rules on flood insurance.
Rehard said that the proposed ordinance will change existing zoning from three classifications to four. Currently, the city has residential, commercial and trailer park. The proposed new classifications will be residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial.
“Under the new zoning, there will be no trailer park classification,” she said. Instead, it will be zoned as commercial.
She said that most of the commercial areas on the proposed map already are zoned as commercial with a couple of exceptions. Specifically, she noted new commercial zoning along First and Second streets because much of this area has developed into commercial use through the years.
Passing the proposed zoning ordinance could bring with it new commercial development, said Mayor Rita Rhoads in a later interview. She said that Bill Mann wants to build a truck stop near the southbound ramp for Interstate 29, and other possible developments include a small strip mall and small hotel.
Other changes in the proposed ordinance include the park, which currently is zoned as residential, will change to commercial. However, the actual park use will continue, Rehard said. Also, the tracts of land on the east side of Highway 92 will be zoned for industrial use.
Rehard said some uses are permitted in the industrial zone that are not permitted in commercial such as manufacturing assembly, adult entertainment, campgrounds, food manufacturing, and gas or fuel storage.
“There are infrastructure and screening requirements as part of the development,” Rehard said. Requirements for lighting in parking lots, as well as limits on signage and outdoor storage, are also in place.
Rehard assured residents that anything that is currently a legal use under the existing zoning will remain legal even if there's a change in the classification.
“If you have a legal use in place right now, it will remain legal even it's not technically correct under the new zoning,” she said.
With no objections from about a dozen in attendance at the public hearing, the zoning commission voted to recommend the new zoning ordinance and zoning map to the board of aldermen at the May 21 meeting. Another public hearing will be held during that meeting that begins at 7 p.m. before the board votes on whether to make the proposed zoning and map ordinance.