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Town looks at new commercial zoning regulations

Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 11:45 am

Town officials are considering a new zoning that would better accommodate a variety of business in Warsaw.

On June 6, the Warsaw Planning Commission met to discuss a new category that was proposed by Town Manager John Slusser and labeled Commercial and Light Industrial (C-3).

Slusser said the town’s Comprehensive Plan, as approved by Warsaw Town Council on May 9, envisioned a district that would allow for a mixed use zoning that combined commercial uses (C-1 and C-2) with manufacturing (M-1).

“It was evident that there were certain uses that were neither M-1 nor C-2 that were desirable and appropriate within town, but had no appropriately created zoning district,” said Slusser.

According to Slusser’s proposal, the C-3 zoning districts would contain no fewer than 25 acres and be located along major arterial roadways such as the Route 3 Bypass Corridor.

“It also makes it be on the outskirts of town, which is what we’re thinking anyway,” Planning Commissioner Krista Sisk noted. “So this [minimum] 25 acres is pushing [the zoning] towards the outside of town.

The proposed district by its design would encompass business that had limited or no retail functions.

“Say…if somebody wants to own a store in [a C-3 district] and sell dresses,” Slusser posed. “My opinion is that [retail is more for] C-2 and C-1, and if we’re going to merge it all together, then pretty soon there’s no reason to have a C-3.”

Slusser envisioned that the new zoning would include financial centers, health and fitness, urgent care centers, cable companies, Laundromats, nail salons, gas stations, convenience stores and auto repair shops.

Slusser also listed restaurants, including fast food and takeout as a potential option within the C-3 district.

“It just may be a good idea to have it there, and then it can serve the public and employees [of nearby businesses in the zone],” said Slusser.

In addition, Planning Commissioner William Washington suggested office complexes within the new zoning that would be suitable for grouping medical specialists such as pediatricians and dentists into one area.

The proposed districts would also allow for light industrial and utility uses with a conditional use permit (CUP) that included contractor yards, warehouses, terminals and pumping stations for water and sewage.

In rationalizing the requirement of the CUP, Slusser said: “We don’t know what they might be manufacturing. Their idea of what light industrial is may be different from ours.”

Buffers would separate C-3 zones in Warsaw by a minimum of 10 feet from commercial and zoning districts and 25 feet from residences.

The planning commission voted unanimously to send the proposal to town council for their consideration on Thursday, June 13 at 7 p.m. in town hall.