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Council to amend zoning ordinance

March 26, 2019 GMT

In a move to ease the development of infill housing and provide developers greater clarity, the Odessa City Council will consider approving several amendments to the city’s zoning ordinance.

The City Council meets to vote on the proposed amendments at 1 p.m. today on the fifth floor of City Hall, 411 W. Eighth St.

Planning Director Randy Brinlee said City Council had adopted a comprehensive plan called Envision Odessa almost three years ago, and one of the major goals in that plan was to amend and update the zoning ordinance.

“These amendments are intended to provide the owner greater flexibility in use and development of their property and provide more clarity,” Brinlee said.

The amendments would create two new zoning districts — a residential district called single-family 4, and a mixed-use zone. Brinlee said the single-family 4 zoning eliminates another hurdle developers have to go through, while mixed-use zones would allow flexible standards for mixed-use developments, such as a development allowing for both retail and residential use. City Manager Michael Marrero has previously said the city has shown interest in bringing mixed-use properties downtown.

Brinlee gave a recent example, where he said Larry Bell wanted to develop an urban center that allowed for both office space and retail.

“Under our current ordinance, we can’t address that,” Brinlee said. “Under mixed use, we could.”

Brinlee said they would separate development standards for mobile home and RV parks, which currently have the same standards, requiring a minimum space size of 3500 square feet.

“That is way too big for an RV park,” Brinlee said.

Those standards will stay the same for mobile home parks, but Brinlee said RV parks will have a new minimum space size of about 800 square feet for the whole park.

Another amendment would lower the setback standards for lots from 100 feet to 20 feet. A setback is the minimum distance a building must be setback from a roadway. Brinlee said this change would allow more flexibility for development.

“We can have a greater flexibility on some of this infill development that we’re looking at,” Brinlee said.

Infill housing is a form of developing housing on already developed lots. It is a form of housing the city has focused more on lately due to an ongoing housing shortage in the city, and the city is looking at developing infill housing on vacant lots, primarily in District 1.

Another change to the ordinance involves allowing owners to request original zoning for their property as part of the annexation process, which Brinlee said would cut down on red tape. As it is now, owners have to wait until annexation is completely finished before the property is zoned.

Brinlee said he had spoken to local developers and said they were in support of the proposed amendments.

Should City Council approve the proposed amendments, they will need to approve them one more time before they are finalized.


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