At issue: TBA’s conditional rezoning request on E. Front
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Update: Correction, the planning commission is only considering the whether or not the conditional rezoning offer is ready for a public hearing.
Tonight the Traverse City Planning Commission (PDF) will officially consider a conditional rezoning request by TBA Credit Union for a project at E. Front St. and Hope St. The issue was introduced to the PC last month and a large part of the concern during the discussion was the extensive parking lot being proposed.
*** Planning Commission Meeting • 7PM • 2nd Floor Governmental Center ***
The conditional zoning request is being used because the current zoning doesn’t allow for financial institutions or drive-through facilities. The Master Plan (City Planning) calls for an extension of downtown where land-use is more dense with taller buildings and circulation is increasingly more conducive to people on foot–basically, built to attract people for multiple reasons. It does not call for auto-centric development or surface parking in the hopes of moving away from the stroad land-use pattern there now. The request is to rezone these two properties, upon conditions offered by the developer.
What is conditional rezoning?
Conditional zoning (REagle) is a new addition to the state zoning enabling act (2005) and was recently used in Traverse City to alter zoning for the CVS project on West Front St. Conditional rezoning is a tool that allows communities to rezone property based on an owner’s voluntary offer of conditions. Those conditions are to be consistent with community plans and need to address general welfare rather than private interests.
The reason a community might consider conditional rezoning requests valuable, and thus allowable, is to facilitate development on unique pieces of land, to limit certain uses, and to make it a legislative decision as opposed to the more lengthy administrative process of rezoning–the latter has a higher standard of review.
Some communities choose not to consider conditional rezoning as a tool to better ensure the intent of the Master Plan. They may also choose to avoid what some label as “spot zoning”, where integrity of plans and zoning on the books is open to be changed with each new development. Communities who engage in conditional rezoning also put themselves at risk of being perceived of choosing winners or losers, in addition to possibly earning reputation for not honoring past planning.
Tonight is a public meeting and the Planning Commission
has the option of recommending a zoning change with the conditions offered, turning down the request, or requesting further information for a possible decision at a later date.is determining if the offer is sufficient to approve for a public hearing.
All the above is as I currently understand the law and the request. It is also not meant to be comprehensive. If you’re interested, come to the meeting and learn more about the process and its possible impacts. If you can’t make the meeting and have an opinion, please email the City Planner, Russ Soyring (firstname.lastname@example.org) who will pass your email on to the commissioners.
Or, you can also contact commissioners directly and, as always, let us know your questions or ideas in the comments section.
NOTE: I serve on the City’s Planning Commissioner. Any opinions expressed above are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Planning Commission as a body or as individuals.
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