The Danville Area Planning and Zoning Commission began discussions Thursday to revise the city’s 2000 zoning ordinance.

Issues briefly brought up included: decide the pertinence of the city’s approximately 15 zoning districts; facilitate infill development; promote mixed-use development; redevelop targeted areas to foster development, excluding residential uses in industrial-zoned areas; different zoning regulations for larger churches in neighborhoods; billboards as nuisances; nonconforming multifamily dwellings in the R-2 single-family residential district; and converting single-family dwellings to multifamily unbeknownst to the city.

“It’s happening more and more,” Danville Geographic Information System Specialist/Planner Chris Milliken said of the latter issue.

But Commission Chairman Ken Cunningham said these smaller apartments are what some people can only afford to live in, otherwise they’d be homeless.

“We don’t like them,” Cunningham said of the multi-unit houses.

But the commission must also think about the social issues with zoning flexibility, Cunningham and Milliken agree.

Another zoning issue is locations for mobile homes and manufactured housing.

Milliken said it’s not necessarily to be stricter, but “perhaps review how they’re allowed to be placed.”

Also, the commission may opt not to require all special-use permits go before the commission for action in the B-1, neighborhood business district, as now is required.

Cunningham supports any permits being handled by city administration.

Danville Public Development Director John Heckler said the department is looking to be more “efficient and effective” in handling zoning issues.

Another major issue is rezoning notifications by the city for major changes to the zoning ordinance.

Changes to the ordinance seven years ago resulted in many properties being changed inadvertently, with the need to correct them over the years.

Also, the city settled litigation last year regarding property owned by Donald Richardson on Gilbert Street that had been zoned in the Renaissance District.

The properties at 109-111, 115 and 117 N. Gilbert St. and 116 and 118-120 Pine St. were zoned B-3, general business when Richardson purchased them 40 years ago.

Under the court agreement, the properties on Gilbert Street revert back to B-3, general business zoning.

The Pine Street properties are classified as R-3, Renaissance zoning, but may be used for accessory parking lots to a permitted use on the Gilbert Street properties.

Richardson claims he was not notified of the zoning change and found out later that the property was rezoned R-3, Renaissance zoning.

Heckler has said the city followed proper procedure by putting a notice in the newspaper about substantial changes being made to the city’s zoning ordinance.

Milliken said again Thursday night that the state only requires the city publish a general notice in the newspaper.

But aldermen have questioned whether the city this time should notify property owners of any changes.

Milliken said a decision will have to be made.

The commission is revising the zoning ordinance to assist in the implementation of the city’s comprehensive plan.

“It’s really our only tool regulating lane use in the community,” Milliken said.

He said it might not necessarily be a fun process, but hopefully it is educational and enlightening.

The revised plan won’t be adopted until around November. This follows issue identification, such as tattoo parlors or other controversies; reviews and revisions; and input from focus groups, such as Renaissance Danville and Downtown Danville Inc., and the public at open houses.

“We want to make sure as many people know what we’re doing,” Heckler said. “If people have comments, we want to hear them.”

A good example of this was when residents spoke last fall in support of the city not allowing commercial development north of West Newell Road as part of the city’s new comprehensive plan and future land-use map.

The city’s zoning commission will further discuss revising the zoning ordinance at its 5:15 p.m. March 1 meeting at city hall.

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