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Input sought on downtown land use

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, April 14, 2018
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Decatur residents have a chance next week to provide input and ask questions about a possible change in the downtown land use map.

Last year, the city’s Main Street Board asked the city to consider taking different boundaries that exist in the downtown area – including the Main Street boundary and historic overlay district – and making them match the downtown land use district.

In addition, they proposed expanding the downtown land use district to Ash Street on the north and Brady Street on the south.

The downtown land use district is a mixed use district, which means it will permit several different zoning areas, including single family, multifamily residential, office, commercial, retail and some light industrial.

City Planning Director Dedra Ragland said residents often misunderstand the difference between land use and zoning, and she hopes the public meeting will help explain what the proposed changes would mean for residents living in the downtown area.

“Our proposal is about land use. We’re not trying to change the zoning. But it could aid zoning down the road, so when we say ‘land use’ we are talking about how the land is actually used, and when we talk about zoning, zoning permits certain land uses within a zoning district,” Ragland said.

This would allow more flexibility for property owners in the ways the land can be used, including allowing more business in the downtown area.

The meeting is 5:30 to 7 p.m. Monday, at Decatur City Hall. Members of the city council, planning and zoning commission and city staff will be on hand to receive input and answer questions regarding possible changes to the downtown land use map.

The city will hold another public meeting later in the month regarding a similar proposal for the Hale Street corridor. More information on that meeting will be included in an upcoming Messenger story.

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