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Zoning ordinance set to receive total makeover

POSTED September 6, 2013 9:24 p.m.

Turlock residents can expect some serious changes in the zoning ordinance in the near future.

On Thursday night, the Turlock Planning Commission held a public workshop to discuss the possible changes to the numerous zoning requirements that are expected to be implemented early next year. Although no action was taken by the commission, it was presented with changes that are associated with the overhaul of the former zoning ordinance.

The two hour workshop presented possible changes to things like accessory structures, electrical fences, alleyways, drive-throughs and other entities that fall under the current ordinance.

Deputy Director of Turlock’s Development Services Department, Debbie Whitmore, stated the proposed changes are in hopes to make the new zoning ordinance fit better with the city’s general plan that was implemented last year.

“The main purpose is to recommend changes that will be more in sync with our general plan,” said Whitmore. “We’re trying to listen to local residents and business owners about what they want to see changed.”

According to city officials, the proposed amendments would also offer increased flexibility to business owners who are looking to do more with their property lines. For example, Whitmore emphasized the importance of increasing alley setbacks so that businesses can extend their business structures to maximize utilization of their space.

Another topic that stirred up conversation amongst the commission was the proposed allotment of a total 1,000 square feet to the building of accessory structures, or structures not directly connected to the property. Under the currently proposed zoning amendment, those looking to build accessory structures must build the structures under 15 feet, and follow the 1,000 square limit.

Commission chair Mike Brem opposed the idea, stating that this could give way to a property owner building 10 different structures, but still fall under the 1,000 square foot limit.

Although the commission will continue to hold workshops regarding future issues, Whitmore stated by allowing public exchanges, it helps the commission base its decisions off of public input.  She also stated that by allowing the public to play a role, it will further interest in the new zoning ordinance. 

“We’re trying to get more people engaged,” said Whitmore.

She hopes that the recommended changes will go into effect by early 2014.

 

On Thursday night, the planning commission also:

- Gave an update on the slurry seal projects set to begin on Berkeley Avenue.

- Announced that contractual bids for the Monte Vista street construction are set to begin on Tuesday.

- Announced that the Avena Bella Vista low income housing project opening has been delayed another 30 days due to lack of construction updates.

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