City Council Passes Zoning Changes Except For Wedding Venue, Airbnb Adjustments | Local News

Kokomo City Council has approved numerous changes to the City of Kokomo zoning ordinance, including requiring new commercial boarding houses to receive an exceptional use permit and allowing residential units on the ground floor of downtown buildings.

Proposed changes that would affect new wedding and event venues and short-term rentals are notably removed from the order.

Kokomo-Howard County Plan Commission is reconsidering proposal that all new wedding and event venues and short-term rentals first receive a special Exceptional Use Permit from the Zoning Appeals Board of Kokomo before they could operate such a business within the city limits.

The proposed requirement was among more than a dozen proposed changes to the city’s zoning ordinance that the Kokomo Plan Commission sent to the city council for consideration.

But after talks with the city administration and receiving a few phone calls about the proposed changes, Greg Sheline, executive director of the Kokomo-Howard County Plan Commission, and his department may overrule the proposal to require a requirement. special exception permit for the new marriage and location. centers or only require it in certain areas, such as in the downtown commercial area.

“If you look at our C2 (medium to large scale commercial) area, a banquet hall is a permitted use. You can have a wedding in a banquet hall,” Sheline said. “So maybe we leave that and maybe keep a special exception in a few other areas like downtown shopping or something. …

“You don’t want to over-regulate, but we need to have something on the books, and we just need to understand what it is.”

Sheline said her department is also going back to the drawing board for short-term rental properties, i.e. Airbnbs. Currently the city does not have regulations in its zoning ordinance specifically for short term rentals.

City Council voted unanimously on Monday to suspend council rules and give first and final reading approval to other proposed zoning ordinance changes.

Reasons for the proposed changes vary, but Sheline said earlier this month that some of the changes are aimed at preventing what the planning commission office considers unnecessary hearings before the Kokomo BZA.

“When you’re on the Board of Zoning Appeals … and you see the same cases all the time, that means your zoning ordinance isn’t working,” Sheline said at the July 12 Planning Board meeting. “You can’t fix everything, but when we can fix it, we want to try to fix it so we don’t overload the Board of Zoning Appeals with cases that really don’t need to be heard.”

Here are some of the more notable changes that are now part of the city’s zoning ordinance:

Commercial Boarding Schools

It is now mandatory for any new pet boarding house wishing to open in the city to first receive a special exception use permit from the BZA.

The ordinance also defines a commercial boarding house as “an establishment used for the lodging, keeping, overnight stays or training of animals which are not the property of the owner of such establishment”.

Residential city center on the ground floor

The city’s zoning ordinance only allowed residences in the downtown commercial area, but only on upper floors. Now residential units in the downtown commercial district are permitted on the ground floor.

To do this, however, the owner or developer of the property would first need to receive a special exceptional use permit from the BZA.

Accessory structures

Now, the maximum size of an accessory structure, such as a garage or shed, can be 1,500 square feet or 100% of the square footage of the main structure. Previously, the limit was 1,000 square feet.

Sheline said the change was proposed because of the city’s annexation efforts over the past few years.

“When we annexed many properties several years ago, we had some zoning in the county and some zoning in the city,” Sheline said earlier this month. “In the county, you might have a fairly large barn or garage. Now that it’s in town, you’re only allowed 1,000 square feet, which can be pretty small.

According to the Kokomo-Howard County Plan Commission office, the BZA heard six waiver applications last year to appeal the 1,000 square foot standard for accessory structures.

Large multi-family dwelling

In recent years, the city has seen more and more large-scale residential developments. In the past, any housing development larger than 17 units that wanted to come to town had to receive a special exceptional use permit.

Now these developments will fall under a new area – M3, large scale multi-family residential.

Maintenance of commercial signs

The city had no regulations regarding the maintenance of commercial signs. Now, with the passage of Monday, that has changed.

Businesses are now required to carry out routine maintenance of their signs so that they “remain in good condition”.

The new law does not specify how often or how often maintenance must be performed. However, he defines panel maintenance as: “any maintenance task performed on a planned and continuous basis to identify and prevent problems before they lead to equipment failure. Some common routine maintenance includes regular inspections or maintenance work such as changing light bulbs, cleaning or replacing broken items.

Parking and storage units

The city has seen an influx of new indoor and outdoor storage units being built. Previously, the city’s zoning ordinance required parking for all new storage developments. While many older storage units have a main office, many of the newer town ones do not, requiring developers to obtain a waiver from BZA.

The amendments adopted on Monday eliminate this requirement.

Now, storage buildings without a main office will no longer be required to have parking. Storage buildings with a main office will need to have at least three parking spaces, and indoor storage facilities will need to have at least 10 parking spaces.

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