Ordinance re-write progressing

By Messenger Staff | Published Wednesday, November 28, 2012

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Work on the City of Decatur’s Zoning Ordinance is moving along and should be finished up by mid-December.

That’s the assessment of city Planning Director Dedra Ragland during a report to the city council Monday night.

“We’ve reviewed the first six sections of that document,” she said. “The subcommittee’s work should be complete in two weeks – by mid-December.”

The ordinance was rewritten by a consultant and submitted to the city, but was in need of a thorough review by a citizen panel appointed by the council for the job. Although its meetings are open to the public, Ragland said so far, only the subcommittee members and staff have been present.

The rewrite is designed to clarify and streamline the multitude of codes that regulate building in the city of Decatur.

The subcommittee is chaired by Bob Bastian, whose term as chairman of the P&Z Commission ended Oct. 31. Members include P&Z vice-chair Lisa Estrada and member Davey Edwards, land-use attorney Patricia Adams, Ragland, and Mayor Martin Woodruff, who is an ex oficio member.

Woodruff praised the group for its work.

“They’re going through a long, technically detailed ordinance,” he said Monday. “There’s still a lot of correction work to be done. They’ve worked really diligently, and I appreciate what they’ve done.

“The object is to end up with a document that is consistent, that works.”

The subcommittee is working to see that the draft ordinance meets the expectations and goals identified by the P&Z and City Council in 2008. Once their review is complete, Ragland and Adams will go through it again before it is presented to the Planning & Zoning Commission as part of a public hearing.

After one or maybe two public hearings, the draft ordinance will be presented to the city council for approval, then sent back to the consultant for a final draft, which would be submitted to the council for final approval.

“Some of these sessions have taken longer than anticipated,” Ragland said.

The subcommittee’s next meeting is Wednesday evening at 5:30 p.m. at the City Council chambers.

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