The second reading of the annexation ordinance for 1140 East Main Street passed unanimously on Monday night and the Residential 2 (R2) zoning for the approximately 17 acres also passed with a 5-3 margin.
City council members debated over the medium destiny definition of the R2 designation. The R2 designation allows for 207 units per acre, according to Matt Summers of the Planning and Zoning Commission.
“The maximum is 207 units per acre but it’s unlikely a developer could build that many on this particular lot because of the sink holes on the property. The Planning and Zoning Commission would not allow any buildings to be built over a sink hole,” said Summers.
But council-woman Karen Tingle-Sames was more interested in the number of apartment units to be allowed on the property noting single family homes are also in demand in the area and they create a revenue for the city through property taxes while apartment housing does not.
Councilwoman Connie Tackett agreed single family homes are preferable but apartment communities in the city were approaching capacity. Mayor Tom Prather added the apartment vacancy rate is about 2 percent. The annual influx of newcomers to Georgetown is anywhere from 800-1,000 people.
“We need a place for these people to live,” said Prather.
“The market controls the supply and demand for housing,” said councilman David Lusby, and suggested the 17-acre plot was perhaps well suited for multi-family units. “This property is fairly close to I-75 and the quarry and might not be a good choice for single family homes.”
The city’s comprehensive plan is a tool to guide zoning decisions. It is a plan that assigns zoning possibilities for undeveloped land so that developers can build within those zoning restrictions. The comprehensive plan does allow for the R2 designation on the land in question. Comments presented by Attorney Bruce Lankford, for the applicant, said that should be enough.
“The council has already indicated R2 zoning is allowable and my clients have already said they will build within those guidelines. You can’t change your mind now,” said Lankford.
The council ultimately agreed with Lankford and the zoning ordinance passed. Conversation did however turn to the comprehensive plan itself and the possibility it might be too vague, with further restrictions needed to disallow for developer’s changes to preapproved plans by the council. Council members recalled other plans that were submitted then changes were added that included more apartment units. These changes were still within the R2 guidelines but were not the ratio of single-family apartments dwellings that were submitted to council as part of the concept plan.
“That is the business of the Planning and Zoning commission,” said Prather. The mayor tasked the Planning and Zoning commission for a review of building standards that define each of the zoning requirements.
The council allowed Brent Combs of Thoroughbred Engineering, to add his expertise to the discussion.
“We don’t need to change the existing zoning requirements; we can add more specific zoning subcategories to the ones we have.”
The council received the observation favorably and it was noted. Summers was then asked to prepare a report on how best to conduct the overview of zoning standards to be presented at a future meeting.
In other council actions:
— The mayor commented on the successful ceremony at Cardome which transferred city property there to the Catholic Dioceses of Lexington.
— The mayor is pleased with continued road completion at Lanes Run Business Park but reported on a 10 year old problem with road completion issues at Village Lane. The city will partner with two other organizations to pay for the costs of these improvements and subsequently file suit against the builder to recover the cost of completing the project.
— The first reading of the Amendment to the Human Rights Commission was read. One of the changes included the stipulation that any potential resident filing a complaint must be a resident of Scott County for a minimum of one year in order to file a human rights complaint.
The council went into executive session pursuant to KRS61.810 (1) to discuss a personnel issue. No action was taken.
Jackie Anders can be reached at email@example.com.