By Josh Staloch
SEYMOUR – The city of Seymour will be making major changes to its site plan ordinance following months of review by the Planning Commission, said City Administrator Sean Hutchinson, who detailed the modifications at the Nov. 8 Joint Committee meeting.
Under the changes, which will be sent to City Council for a vote at the Nov. 22 meeting, any development occurring next to a single-family or R2 development must submit a site review plan.
“This is something that should have been in place many years ago,” Hutchinson said. “So, if you’re a commercial entity, a multi-family entity or an industrial entity, you’re going to have to submit a plan and, depending on the scope of your project, you’ll have to be doing things to meet that criteria.”
Mayor Ryan Kraft said the changes will make it easier for incoming businesses to know what the city expects of new construction projects before they break ground.
Kraft used the construction of a parking lot at Subway as an example.
“They came with 20 pages of planning, just for a parking lot,” he said. “It includes waste water management and all these other things, None of that was required, but that’s what they provided. Why? Because that’s what they’re used to doing in every other community. We didn’t have anything like that.”
Hutchinson said there is built-in wiggle room to allow the city to work with businesses in unique circumstances.
He highlighted a clause in the ordinance which states, “Any person or persons aggrieved by any decision of the Planning Commission related to denial of a site plan may appeal to the City Council. When in the judgment of the commission it would be inappropriate to apply literally a provision of this chapter due to an extraordinary hardship, the planning commission may wave the provision.”
“As this was coming together, we didn’t want something that’s going to pose a stumbling block for future development,” Hutchinson said. “There is a variance process in here as well. This isn’t going to be an absolute, absolute. But we want to try to follow it as much as we can.”
Discussing the variance clause in the ordinance quelled some concerns board members had about the new regulations possibly keeping businesses from coming to Seymour.
“I like that it’s not an absolute,” Council President Roger Behnke said, “because I don’t want to scare off any possible businesses coming in.”
• The Joint Committee also approved sending the council a plan to increase city employee salaries by 2% to adjust for the cost of living.
• The city will be parting ways with a 2011 Ford Ranger used for municipal work. The truck will be heading to auction as part of Seymour’s plan to get rid of excess equipment.