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Board recommends new zoning ordinance

The City of Russellville took the next step in a long journey toward downtown redevelopment Monday when the planning and zoning board voted to recommend a new zoning ordinance for consideration by the Russellville City Council.

Mayor David Grissom and NACOLG’s Nathan Willingham presented the ordinance to the board Monday evening. The multi-page ordinance lays out new rules for the established downtown area, with one of the biggest changes being “to allow upstairs residences as uses that are permissible upon appeal” Willingham said. “The city would have some discretion as to whether they approved or disapproved of those upstairs uses and would have a lot of discretion with regard to general façade improvements and architectural features.”

The ordinance also lays out new design and architectural feature guidelines “that would be required of new construction and major renovation downtown,” Willingham said.

Of interest to members of the zoning board was to what extent the new ordinance would impact existing businesses. Willingham said that current businesses would not be required to make any immediate changes whatsoever; however, should a business choose to make any renovations, those renovations would then need to fall under the guidelines of the new ordinance. Any proposed changes would need to meet those new guidelines. All new construction will fall under the requirements of the new design guidelines.

The board unanimously approved sending the ordinance to the city council for approval. The text of the ordinance will be published in its entirety prior to a city council vote.

If the council votes in favor of the ordinance, the particular of the lengthy ordinance will be developed into an administrative guidebook to explain the new requirements in a more accessible way, incorporating pictures and diagrams. An appointed five-member review committee will be in charge of determining whether renovations and new construction comply with the ordinance guidelines.

 

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