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  • Kevin Elliott

Zoning districts to be added to master plan

Plans to introduce five new zoning districts into the city of Rochester's Master Plan were discussed by the city's planning commission on Wednesday, January 3.

The city's planning staff and planning commission have worked over the last year to create five new zoning districts that surround the downtown area. The new zoning districts are intended to play off of the proximity to the city's downtown area by expanding some types of retail, mixed use and other activities permitted surrounding the downtown area, which have historically been limited to other uses no longer considered a priority.

Each of the new districts were designed to maintain a focus on the downtown area, but also serve to support the area and the city as a whole. Plans to incorporate the districts into the city's master plan were discussed during the process. However, staff and planning commissioners have said all five districts would need to be completed prior to modification of the master plan.

Planning commissioners spelled out the process for updating the master plan at the planning commission meeting.

Following the approval and adoption of all five districts by city council, the city will follow 10 steps to incorporate the districts into the master plan. The first step will require drafting a new zoning map to be reviewed by council, staff, the planning commission and the city attorney. An annotated map showing the difference between the proposed zoning and previous zoning will be included. Under the process, each new district will include a memo describing each new district and the rationale for the changes.

The process also will include holding a town hall meeting to explain for the public what is happening, as well as the process. A public hearing will also be required to adopt the new zoning map.

Following the adoption of an updated zoning map that includes the new districts, a text amendment to the master plan would be needed. That process also would require a public hearing and approval by city council.

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