Tuesday, March 6, 2012

preserving R1 zoning

A land use plan to redistribute LLT properties was discussed at District level workshops Saturday. The importance of a stable real estate market and preserving the residential zoning ("R1 - single family houses) were identified as keystone commitments to our community's future and especially for the future of our neighborhoods.

The HRQL commission plans to group some of the continguous lots together and subdivide into larger lots. This will decrease density and allow for more options on the homesites. Some lots along the drainage canals will be used to manage storm water flow and others maybe available for parks and parkways.

The public was assured the existing zoning will be preserved, as many of the LLT lots are residentially-zoned "R1" for single family houses.

Preserving residential zoning is a keystone commitment in another plan,  "Our Vision" , presented in 2008 to the parish council. It will be difficult for the councilmembers to preserve R1 on the LLT lots if they begin to take R1 in established neighborhoods and turn it into commercial through spot zoning.  It will set precedent.

Recently, the Planning and Zoning Commission conducted a public hearing on a zoning application to change R1 to General Commercial, C2. The council will take its final vote on this Docket 03-12 sometime in the next month or so. The reason for the zoning change request is not clear and the docket lacks enough information for residents to fully participate in this discussion. There is no information on the leaseable warehouse in question, nor the proposed use as a micro-brewery.

  The property is a single parcel of land with two different zonings, which reflects the historical commercial depth of 200 feet and the current law prohibiting commercial beyond 250 feet from the highway. In this docket, the request is for commercial incursion of a total of 600 feet.

The abutting properties are all zoned R1 and are beautifully restored homes in an established neighborhood. The R1 property in the docket is part of this neighborhood; for some reason the homesites were never developed and the majority of the land has been vacant for decades.  The property owners constructed two apartment complexes and in doing so restricted themselves from accessing the residential property.  The property now has a new owner.

On the commercial portion of land on the highway sits two occupied apartments. The rear apartment complex is on both commercial and R1 zones. Behind the apartments, on the R1 land, is a warehouse which was once used only for storage. It is now proposed for any variety of commercial uses which may be allowed in commercial zones. The applicant indicated one of his tenants maybe a brewery which would require Industrial zoning. There is no information on the brewery  nor the warehouse in the docket folder.

This type of spot zoning is illegal and the neighborhood is set to fight to preserve the R1 zoning and remain a family orientated neighborhood.

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