Will the city build up?

Brent Finnegan -- August 1st, 2006

The city is considering a zoning proposal to “help separate single-family homes from large apartment complexes and allow developers the freedom to make more efficient use of the available land for population concentration,” according to a story in Monday’s DNR. The city wants to change R-3 to R-5.

If this is what it seems to be, this would be a good thing for the city as well as the county. Particularly if the roads continue to be improved, and provided the public busses run more often. It could help stem some of the suburban sprawl on the edges of town, which would reduce the need to annex into the county in the future. According to Article K, the R-5 zone is residential, not commercial. With a special use permit, developers can build “multiple family dwellings greater than four stories and/or fifty-two (52) feet in height…”

But I can’t really say building up is an upcoming H’burg trend. The city recently amended the ordinance to allow low-density, commercial-friendly districts designed to “promote neighborhood cohesiveness, walkability, connected transportation systems, community green spaces and protection of environmental resources.”

If you look at the zoning map (which you have to have download some funky program to view) the areas that are currently R-3 are near JMU housing (north and south of Port Republic), the east end between Reservoir and East Market, along Old Furnace Road, and the north end of 42.

City planners will hold an open house at 409 South Main Street on August 7 between 4 and 6. Then the planning commision will have a public hearing on the 16th. It should be a veritable landlord meet and greet.


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