Zoning takes up most of council meeting

By Staff, 03/21/17 10:49 AM

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PRESCOTT – Planning and zoning took up most of the 90 minutes of the March meeting of the Prescott City Council Monday night.

It began with City Attorney Glenn Vasser addressing the need for the council to approve a resolution so the city could enter into an agreement with James Walden and Garver LLC to do a study of the city’s zoning ordinance and map, along with recommending changes. Vasser said it could take as long as a year for this to be done and would cost more than $25,000. In the end, he told the panel, the city may need a new planning and zoning ordinance. It was pointed out the money for the study has been budgeted for years.

Prescott Mayor Terry Oliver said the council planning and zoning committee will be given a training workshop on the changes. Vasser said he expects Walden to meet with the council and committee and for this to be a comprehensive deal. He added the city needs a new ordinance and map. The resolution was approved.

Vasser continued, saying he was troubled by last month’s meeting and the lack of foundation the council had concerning zoning. He pointed out there’s a zoning map at City Hall that can be copied and taken home, though it’s not complete as it’s several years old and changes have occurred in Prescott. “This is why we’re having a guy do this.”

Most of the new areas are zoned industrial or commercial, but when they’re annexed, they automatically become R-1, or a residential zone. Vasser expressed concern at the council’s apparent lack of knowledge concerning zones in the city. He said zoning in Prescott is predominantly residential. “It concerns me you don’t know this. You need to know what the zones are, and you also need to read the ordinance and know the procedure, and not wait for a hearing.”

The current zoning ordinance, he added, is 50 pages long. He reminded the council, it was initially studied by the planning and zoning committee, then brought before the council, returned to the committee for changes, taken back to the council where it was approved. Yet, he added, members of the council said the ordinance was “confusing and ambiguous” at the February meeting.

Walden, he said, may come in and change everything. He reminded the council members the law is dynamic, not static and changes need to be made periodically. When the first zoning ordinance was drawn up, Vasser said, there was no such thing as manufactured homes and it had to be amended for mobile homes.

He urged anyone who is looking to purchase a manufactured home and move it inside the city limits to first consult with an attorney before spending any money.

In other business, the council was presented with a list of upcoming events from Jamie Hillery, executive director of the Prescott-Nevada County Chamber of Commerce. She reminded the panel the annual banquet is next month, and said the Chamber is working on a bi-annual community craft and garage sale. Letters, she said, have been sent to area businesses asking for them to participate. A billboard will be erected to advertise the event, with other advertising done as well.

The council approved a resolution allowing the city to pave a section of Hines Blvd. from Hwy. 371 to Hines Trucking. The funding is 100 percent state aid. It was pointed out the county is doing the gravel road portion.



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