The city’s zoning and subdivision regulations need significant revision to be compatible with the city’s current vision for the future, according to a newly released report.
The document, called the zoning diagnostic report, was prepared for the city by Behan Planning and Design of Saratoga Springs. It was released Thursday.
It is an early part of what is expected to be an 18-month review and update to the city’s land use rules, which will consider zoning and subdivision regulations together as a “unified development ordinance.”
The report identified seven areas where changes are needed, including: economic development; affordable housing; neighborhood and community character; streetscape and parks; zoning districts; review process improvement; and sustainability and the environment.
Addressing all those issues will require at least some change, according to the report, though some of the changes would be interrelated.
“As the city moves forward into its second century as a city, it must sustain its growth and prosperity without compromising the unique character, historic buildings, and open space that have drawn new residents and businesses to relocate here and tourists to visit,” states one section of the report.
Work on the zoning update started in January, and a public meeting to hear critiques of current zoning was held in February.
The overall goal is to bring the current zoning and subdivision rules into compliance with the city’s 2015 comprehensive land use plan, and consider other studies that have been done since the previous zoning update, about 15 years ago.
The new comprehensive plan puts emphasis on maintaining rural areas around the city and concentrating development in the city core, while also promoting environmental sustainability.
A public meeting to discuss the findings will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 27, at 6:30 p.m. on the third floor of City Hall.
Based on reaction at that meeting, draft language for zoning changes will be written.
“The city looks forward to the public workshop and listening to the feedback regarding the general policy direction and items of concern,” said Mayor Joanne Yepsen.
Behan is being paid $129,300 to develop the new rules, with much of the money coming from a grant from the state Energy Research and Development Authority, under the state’s Cleaner, Greener Communities program.
The report can be reviewed at www.saratogaspringsudo.com.
Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.