General News

Posted on: May 11, 2017

City taking input on proposed planning/zoning ordinance revisions

State St rain garden

The city’s Planning Division is seeking public input on a package of proposed ordinance revisions, which address off-street parking, landscaping, and fencing.


The ordinances are scheduled to be introduced at the City Commission meeting next Tuesday, May 16. The three were drafted together because of the amount of overlap between them, particularly as it relates to screening between residential and commercial properties.


The proposed ordinances will apply to multi-family residential complexes, office, commercial, and industrial developments. They will affect only new development or significant redevelopment of a property.


The parking and fence revisions will ensure consistency with other regulations, clarify definitions and how regulations should be applied, and eliminate nonconforming situations where redevelopment would be difficult. The landscaping provisions are new, though there currently are minimum standards throughout the zoning ordinance.


View the draft language on the city’s website, battlecreekmi.gov/planning. Planning staff encourage property and business owners to call 269-966-3320 with questions, as each property is unique and multiple factors may apply. Staff can discuss how the proposed regulations could impact existing parcels, as well as redevelopment plans.


Parking, Chapter 1284

The only regulatory change is that maximum parking standards are proposed to address future large parking lot expanses, especially those often not filled to capacity. Using land for unused parking lots has implications for stormwater management, groundwater pollution, and limits future development potential. The draft provisions allow exceptions for developments that can justify larger parking lots.


Landscaping, Chapter 1285

Current zoning requirements provide minimal landscaping standards, which are inconsistent and incomplete. The proposal places landscaping requirements at the time of parking lot redevelopment or proposed new parking lot for non-residential uses, including greenbelts, trees, and shrubs. This will provide for stormwater management that could reduce or eliminate the need for retention basins or underground storage.

 

Fencing, Chapter 1298

The proposed fence ordinance will apply to new or replacement fencing on all properties. The changes would better define what constitutes a fence, clarify when a permit is needed, and outline permissible fence materials, as well as regulate allowable fencing based on property use, and not by zoning district.