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City Eyes Changes to Restaurants in Zoning Code

Ordinance introduced that would amend the zoning code to revise the definitions “associated with food service operations and restaurants.”

took the first step Monday night toward making a few changes to the zoning code regarding restaurants in the city.

Ward 2 councilman introduced an ordinance that would amend the zoning code to revise the definitions “associated with food service operations and restaurants.” 

He said the zoning code needs updated to clarify the distinctions between food-service operations and restaurants.

“I don’t know when the last time we updated those definitions,” he said. “There’s been a lot of change in the actual private sector practices in the restaurant business. You’ve got fast-casual, something like , which is in between fine dining and fast food.”

Bullock said a recent review of the zoning code doesn’t reflect those changes in “a practical manner.”

“We also have changes in the commercial corridor, where we have vacancies and a foreclosure crisis,” he said.

“How does a business impact a neighborhood and how does a business interact with a neighborhood? Now we’ve got them all in a jumble, so if we wanted to take actions, or manage, or regulate businesses differently, we don’t have that ability.

According to the ordinance, the proposal would add specific sections to the code including fast-food restaurants, “automobile-centric” fast-food and carryout restaurants.

But Bullock said it’s still too early to start drawing new zoning maps. City council referred the issue to the planning commission.

“This is a preliminary step to clarify our thinking,” he said.

Dru Siley, the city’s director of planning and development, said he hasn’t yet fully reviewed the proposed ordinance.

“We’ll talk to the council members, we’ll talk to the chair of the planning commission and we’ll figure out a time to talk,” he said, adding that it will likely appear on the first planning commission meeting in 2012.

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