Plans to rezone Rochester's Central Business District into several smaller districts in order to better meet desired land uses and zoning ordinances were introduced on Monday, April 10, to city council members.
Rochester Deputy City Manager and Economic and Community Development Director Nik Banda said the planning commission has been working with city staff for months on developing a future and use plan for the Central Business District by addressing the area on a block-by-block basis. On Monday, Banda presented the council with the first of several new districts that will be introduced.
The proposed Downtown Edge-1 District would include about three blocks serving as an extension of downtown's core, and would run from W. University to Second Street, and from the west alley of Main Street to east side of Walnut Boulevard. The new district would expand the downtown's core area and encourage the expansion of business and the tax base of the community.
With the core area of the downtown already being maximized with many established uses, and limited area for new businesses downtown, the Edge-1 district would expand the business area while creating a transition to residential neighborhoods.
"We didn't want to change large areas and create conflicts, so this first area is for the Downtown Edge-1 District," Banda said.
The proposed district includes guidance for development standards, permitted uses and those uses that would require conditional approval. However, Banda noted changes to the city's ordinance codes would be needed at a later date to enforce the proposed uses. The plans before council on Monday, he said, would be the first step in creating the district, not the ordinances.
"It essentially eliminates automotive suppliers," he said. "We don't want that as a buffer on the alley. It's more of a service industry area... it's not a radical change from the Central Businesses District, but it takes out some uses."
The district would also limit building height to three stories, and ensure that no buildings are taller than those in the adjacent downtown district.
Councilwoman Ann Peterson said, upon being presented with the plan for the first time, that she wanted more information about how the district would function with adjacent districts, as each side of Walnut, for example, would be in two different districts.
"I would like to table this until we can see (the districts) together," she said.
Banda, as well as councilman Jeffrey Cuthbertson and mayor Cathy Daldin, who both serve on the planning commission, agreed that the plans would be easier to envision if side-by-side districts could be presented. However, additional proposed districts aren't expected to be drafted for more than a month....continued on page 2