Zoning regulations on hold

Posted in: News
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Feb 20, 2014 - 8:42:03 AM

What was supposed to be a special Marlow City Council meeting turned into a general discussion resulting in no action.
Brannyn McDougal of Gray Planning Services was expected to recommend zoning regulations to a joint session of the Marlow City Council and Marlow Municipal Authority. McDougal was unable to attend.
Members of the planning and zoning commission were present.
City administrator Jason McPherson said it was the first time the boards had ever, officially, been in the same room.
“And that’s a good thing,” McPherson said. “Planning and zoning meet on the third Tuesday, and the city council meets on the fourth. You don’t want a city councilman to go to a commission meeting where he might base his decision on what happens there.”
The commission makes recommendations to the council. The Council must then approve or deny the recommendation.
New regulations will ease problems for the commission, the city council, and residents, according to McPherson.
“Zoning regulations we have right now are out of date,” McPherson said. “They were never really put together. There was a generic set of codes out there, and it is daunting. We started this a year ago.”
McPherson handed existing city regulations to McDougal. From those, McDougal developed a plan for the city.
“She took a picture of the map that was adopted in 1988 and began piecing it together to give us a new map,” McPherson said. “Our old map refers to a comprehensive plan that no one can produce.”
Current regulations are in such disarray, a rock quarry could be located among residential homes.
McPherson said lack of proper zoning regulations were at the heart of the difficulties the American Legion Post had selling property last year.
“It’s a community-type building that’s in an R-1 (single-family, residential) code,” McPherson said it is unclear how the post got its R-1 zoning.
“With this, the staff has a better handle on what can be done. Part of it is to clean up all the hoops people have to go through,” McPherson said.
Another example of zoning challenges was a resident wishing to put a mobile home on E. Main Street. The issue took three months to resolve because it went back and forth between the commission and the council before finally being rejected by the council.
“He wanted to bring in a mobile home, and we are cleaning that up,” McPherson said. “The commission has said they do not want mobile homes inside the city limits, so with this, it cleans it up,” McPherson said.
If a resident wants to request a variance from zoning regulations, a process is available to them.
“If they want to take the matter to the commission, we can give them a one-page application and, with a $100 (fee), we will do the rest. You have to fight your own fight because I can’t make recommendations to the commission,” McPherson said.
The process clarifies regulations and makes them understandable to residents.
“Things have changed a lot since the 1970s,” McPherson said.
 The city council will have its regular monthly meeting Tuesday.