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Dayton addresses zoning, updates development codes

October 9, 2018

A dozen or so residents, engineers and developers listened as the city of Dayton rolled out updated development codes and unveiled future zoning.

The presentation was made by Brian Mabry, AICP, principal associate of Kendig Keast Collaborative (KKC) who was hired by the city to assist in the construction of the Unified Development Code (UDC).

The work began back in May of this year and with the meeting on Thursday night, Sept. 27, the team has achieved the mid-point of their goals.

“By December of this year, we hope to have finished the code drafting in modules, made our presentations to PAC, staff, and then rolled out the completed codes in an online publication,” said Mabry.

Public hearings are scheduled between January and March of 2019 so there is still time for public input once the codes have been published.

Mabry said they expect adoption of the Unified Development Code in March 2019.

The certified urban planner listed their goals with the UDC including organizing the regulations into a simplified, logical, and coordinated code.

“It’s important that we format the code in a way that is user-friendly with graphics and tables that depict land development concepts,” Mabry said.

In addition, he said they wanted to infuse general improvements to bring the regulations up to contemporary standards and expectations, streamline development review provisions so that they are clear, illustrated, and take less time and expense, and do all in a coordinated way that included the implementation of the city’s Comprehensive Plan, Downtown Plan, and Park Master Plan policies and objectives.

Kimberly Judge, assistant city manager of development services, said the work was significant for the city.

“It’s very important. The reason why so is because it directs the growth of our community. It’s going to drive what we want Dayton to be in the future,” she said.

Judge said it will also allow the city to protect property as well.

“A lot of people hear the Z word (zoning) but understanding it is so important,” she said.

Judge pointed to some incompatible land uses that could have occurred in the city limits recently, but luckily had some development regulations in place that prevented those uses from coming in.

“Now we have more of a tool with zoning in order to help protect residential property,” she said.

She expected zoning would begin next year if the UDC is passed by city council.

“We will have more opportunities for the public to come in and voice their opinions and look at the proposed maps. It will be very important that they come out and help us with their advice,” Judge said.

The UDC consolidates the City’s development-related laws into one document, lays out how land is divided up for sale; how streets, sidewalks, and other public features are designed. It also makes it clear how land is used, landscaped, parked and designed and gives developers regulations on outdoor signage.

Mabry also said it removes duplications and inconsistencies, act as a single source of standards, procedures, and definitions, and ultimately simplify interpretation, administration, and enforcement.

“What it is not,” Mabry said, “is a property tax policy, annexation policy or capital improvements program.”

Neither does it relate to building code or construction standards. Those are already in the code and will not be changed in development codes.

Who benefits the most?

“Residents will benefit the most because it will help protect the value of their home, the most important thing for them.”

The existing code document for Dayton does not include the zoning codes and other regs have been revised.

“We have made some changes to allow more flexibility within the codes like minimum lot sizes. We’ll allow for some exchange of open spaces for smaller lots,” she said.

The provision didn’t affect one developer who attended the meeting.

“It’s standard codes. I have no problem with any of these,” said John Johnson who is developing Fordland Estates.

“If the city wants a park in an area, we’ll do that, and it allows us to do other things to enhance the property for homeowners and for the developer,” he said.

Johnson said the requirements don’t really cost the developer.

“We just factor that in and if we have to have green space, then we develop it,” Johnson said.

Judge said the development codes won’t be changing every year.

“We try not to change them that often,” Judge said. “Normally, you’ve taken the time out to have the public meetings and gathered input on what the community wants and then you follow the plan. The only time we will see codes changing will be when something isn’t working,” she said.

That’s different with electrical, water, or sewer when regs and technology change.

“We’re not making changes to our development code as it relates to construction,” she said.

The city uses an internet-based program where developers can put in their information regarding their development and the software will give them the standards all under one umbrella.

With the fast growth of the city already underway, city council invested in the Planning Department and has moved them into the old police department.

“We saw a need for additional employees,” Judge said.

She has set a standard for getting building permits approved and expedited quickly.

“When we saw that we were getting more plans in for review, and more inspections, we went ahead and added additional staff,” she said.

The goal is to have most plans approved and returned within 10 working days.

“Especially with the potential growth coming our way, we didn’t want to wait until it comes, we wanted to be prepared before then,” she said.

The move also entices developers to come where the environment for new developers is friendly and efficient.

Jared Riggenbach of Baseline Corporation is working on the largest residential development in Dayton at River Ranch.

“We want to stay up on the development codes as we do our work,” he said.

He was pleased that the city was updating the codes.

“It’s not scary to us at all. It’s a good thing to make the code more comprehensive, easier to understand and interpret, and easier to find the information we need,” he said.

“It’s consistent with what a lot of cities are already doing and have. They’re just modernizing theirs.”

The first phase of the development at River Ranch will be approximately 680 acres.

“We’ve submitted the first subdivision plats. One section of small lots and one section of large lots,” he said. The first boulevard coming off SH-146 is also underway.

Riggenbach’s company is doing the survey and civil engineering work for the project of single-family homes.

He couldn’t confirm it but believed there are as many as five homebuilders involved.

He was also impressed by the process.

“These are great people out here. Nothing has been approved yet, but it’s been a pleasure to work with everybody at the city and the planning commission. Everybody’s friendly and reasonable,” he said.

dtaylor@hcnonline.com

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