A committee that’s worked for a year and a half to develop recommendations for zoning changes in Ann Arbor’s near-downtown residential neighborhoods has been unable to reach agreement. So it’s now likely that the city’s planning commission will weigh in on the controversial issue. The outcome of changes – if approved by the city council – could affect the density of residential development in the city.
At a recent working session, planning commissioners were briefed on a draft report from the R4C/R2A advisory committee, which has been meeting since December 2009. Both kinds of zoning district were established in the 1960s: R4C allows for multiple-family residential dwellings, such as apartment buildings, while R2A zoning limits density to two-family residential structures. The committee was unable to reach consensus on its recommendations, nearly all of which relate to the R4C districts.
At the June 14 planning commission working session, two commissioners who serve on the committee – Jean Carlberg and Tony Derezinski – expressed frustration at the outcome. The draft recommendations don’t provide any guidance about where the city might encourage greater density, Carlberg said.
Derezinski, who is the city council’s representative to the planning commission, added that many committee members worked hard, but were interested in protecting what they’re used to, especially concerning density and parking in their neighborhoods. As it stands, he said, the report won’t be helpful to the city council. Derezinski supported the idea of having the planning commission study the issue and make its own recommendations.
Commissioner Evan Pratt suggested that the first question to ask is whether there should be greater density, and where – the answer to that would guide the recommendations.
In a follow-up phone interview with The Chronicle, Wendy Rampson – the city’s planning manager, who also attended the working session – said there are several possibilities that planning commissioners might pursue. They could discuss the report at one of their regular meetings and make their own recommendations or comments about it. Those recommendations and comments could be made either informally – communicated to the council via Derezinski – or through a formal resolution or memorandum.
Another option would be for the commission’s ordinance revisions committee to tackle it first, developing specific ordinance language that the full commission could then review and possibly recommend to the city council. Or commissioners could ask to hold a joint session with the council, she said, to talk through these issues directly.
Regardless of how the planning commission proceeds, Carlberg will no longer be at the table. The June 14 working session was her last meeting as a commissioner. Her term ends on June 30, and she did not seek reappointment. The former city councilmember served 16 years on the planning commission, overlapping with her 12 years (1994-2006) as a Democrat representing Ward 3 on the council. Eleanore Adenekan was nominated during the council’s June 20 meeting as a replacement for Carlberg – her nomination is expected to be confirmed at the council’s July 5 meeting.
R4C/R2A Zoning: Background
In recent years, the city of Ann Arbor has undertaken several major initiatives to overhaul regulations related to development. Two of those – A2D2 (downtown zoning) and AHP (revisions to area, height and placement requirements) – are completed. Still in the works is ZORO (zoning ordinance reorganization), a comprehensive zoning code review.
Another major initiative has been the review of R4C (multiple-family residential dwelling) and R2A (two-family residential dwelling) districts, which were set up in the 1960s. Though a formal review process started about two years ago, the issue has been around since at least the mid-1980s. At that time, city planning staff conducted a review of the North Burns Park area, which ultimately led to a downzoning of that neighborhood from R2B – a zoning category that allows for group housing like fraternities and sororities – to R2A. The sense at that time, according to Rampson, was that R4C districts were appropriate places for greater density and student housing.
Rampson said that sentiment is reflected in the city’s central area plan, which was developed in the early 1990s and later incorporated into the city’s master plan. [.pdf of central area map] The central area plan included several recommendations related to zoning, but the planning commission at that time didn’t act on those proposed changes.
The issue emerged again a few years ago – Rampson said there seemed to be a change in attitude about whether R4C was still appropriate for certain areas in the city. In particular, residents in Lower Burns Park lobbied for rezoning of R4C districts to R2A or R1A (single-family houses), and in October of 2007, the council passed a resolution directing planning staff to explore rezoning in that neighborhood. According to reports in the Ann Arbor News, in late 2007 the planning commission recommended that only Golden Avenue be downzoned to
R2A R1D (single family) – a recommendation that the council approved on Feb. 19, 2008. Other parts of Lower Burns Park were not rezoned.
At that same Feb. 19, 2008 meeting, the council unanimously passed a resolution directing the planning commission and planning staff to do a more comprehensive review of residential zoning in the central area. However, no action resulted from that resolution. A nearly identical resolution was introduced a year later by Tony Derezinski (Ward 2) – which the council passed at its March 2, 2009 meeting.
The resolution identifies the rationale for undertaking this effort:
Whereas, the Central Area Plan, dated December 21, 1992, recommends four Implementation Program “Priority Action Strategies” as follows:
- HN1 – Analyze zoning nonconformities related to area, height and placement regulations for the Central Area neighborhoods and determine if amendments are needed to make the regulations more consistent with established development patterns;
- HN12 – Amend the zoning ordinance and map to clearly identify areas to be maintained or encouraged as housing;
- HN14 – Reinforce student neighborhoods in the area south and west of Central Campus by developing new zoning definitions and standards that support organized group housing opportunities;
- HP17 – Develop site design standards that encourage creative design while maintaining sensitivity for existing neighborhood character;
Whereas, The Non-Motorized Plan, dated December 6, 2006, provides guidance for land use and zoning to support walking, bicycling and transit;
Whereas, The Downtown Plan, amended December 1992, recommends in Section III to protect the livability of residentially-zoned areas adjacent to downtown;
Whereas, A majority of the lots in the residential districts in the Central Area are non-conforming due to lot size and lot width, and a significant number require variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals to make modifications or additions to the existing non-conforming structures;
Whereas, The resolution of October 15, 2007 directing the City Planning Commission to review rezoning in the Lower Burns Park neighborhood revealed (through the staff report, public hearing, written public comments and Planning Commission discussion) the need to review the R2A and R4C zoning districts more comprehensively within the Central Area rather than one isolated neighborhood at a time;
Whereas, The City Planning Commission believes that modifications to the zoning and ordinance requirements for residential districts in the Central Area could enhance the livability of these neighborhoods for owner-occupants and renters through a comprehensive review and appropriate changes to the minimum lot size, minimum lot width, setback, density, building height, open space, parking, landscaping and possibly other site related issues; and
Whereas, The City Council has requested that the Planning Commission and City staff find ways to reduce the need for developers to utilize Planned Project development applications as a way to accomplish the City’s goal to ensure that development proposals are more sustainable and that all efforts involving changes to City Zoning regulations involve extensive public involvement …
That resolution led to the formation, in the summer of 2009, of an advisory committee that was charged with studying the R4C/R2A issue, getting input from the public and community stakeholders, and presenting recommendations to the planning commission and city council for possible changes in these zoning districts.
Underpinning discussions of changes to R4C/R2A is the question of how much density should be allowed in these areas. Though there were smaller projects that caused concern, two large housing proposals in particular – The Moravian, and City Place – brought the debate to the forefront for people on both sides of the issue.
The Moravian, a five-story, 62-unit building proposed for the section of East Madison Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues near downtown Ann Arbor, was rejected by the city council in April of 2010. It was proposed as a planned unit development (PUD), located in an area zoned R4C. City Place is a “by right” housing project proposed in an R4C district on the east side of South Fifth Avenue just south of William. Approved by the council in September 2009, it called for tearing down several older houses and constructing two new apartment buildings. However, its developer, Alex de Parry, subsequently proposed a different project on that same site – Heritage Row – which would renovate the houses and build new apartment buildings behind them. That project, a planned unit development (PUD), has been rejected by council. City Place has not yet been built.
In July 2009, Mike Anglin (Ward 5) proposed a moratorium in R4C/R2A districts, with the intent of halting the Moravian and City Place projects until the advisory committee work was completed. The moratorium was voted down at the council’s Aug. 6, 2009 meeting, though a different moratorium was approved at that same meeting. It applied to demolition only in a limited geographic area. It was the assigned area of study for a committee appointed by the council to weigh the possibility of establishing a historic district there – a two-block area just south of William Street on Fourth and Fifth avenues. The study committee recommended establishing a historic district in the area, but that recommendation was rejected by the council, and the moratorium expired.
The R4C/R2A advisory committee was initially expected to complete its work by September 2010.
Committee members are: Tony Derezinski (city council representative), Jean Carlberg (planning commission representative), Chuck Carver (rental property owner representative), Ilene Tyler and David Merchant (Ward 1 residents), Wendy Carman and Carl Luckenbach (Ward 2 residents), Ellen Rambo and Michele Derr (Ward 3 residents), Julie Weatherbee and Nancy Leff (Ward 4 residents), and Ethel Potts and Anya Dale (Ward 5 residents).
R4C/R2A Zoning: Draft Committee Report
The introduction to the nine-page draft report of advisory committee recommendations includes this caveat:
Due to the complexity and extent of the issues identified during the study, it was not possible to reach a consensus on all of the recommendations listed below. The draft recommendations are the best effort at addressing all Advisory Committee concerns and represent the majority opinion of the Advisory Committee.
The report includes seven primary recommendations, with accompanying analysis. [.pdf of draft recommendations] Recommendations relate to: (1) rebuilding structures that don’t conform to existing zoning; (2) rezoning certain areas from R4C to R2A; (3) reducing minimum lot sizes and eliminating minimum lot widths; (4) revising density calculations; (5) exploring the creation of zoning overlays; (6) revising parking standards; (7) changing requirements for lot combinations.
Aside from a general recommendation regarding non-conformance, the recommendations all relate to R4C districts. Although R2A zoning was also discussed, the report noted that the committee felt the issues for that zoning district were minimal. No changes to lot area, lot width, density or parking were proposed for R2A, though the committee suggested downzoning some current R4C districts to R2A.
Draft Committee Report: Non-Conformance
The report states that committee members, backed by public feedback, wanted to keep the existing streetscape in the residentially-zoned, R4C/R2A areas, including the size and massing of current buildings there. This was of primary importance, more so than facilitating greater density. Many of the current buildings were constructed before existing zoning standards, and are non-conforming – especially related to lot size and setbacks. If a building is destroyed, current ordinances would require that whatever is rebuilt would need to conform to existing zoning.
The committee supported allowing buildings to be reconstructed, under certain conditions, with a similar size and dimensions as the original structure, even though it would not conform to zoning.
Recommendation: The Advisory Committee recommends that Chapter 55, Section 5:87 (Structure Non-Conformance) be revised to allow reconstruction of non-conforming structures in R2A and R4C districts according to the following standards:
- Allow the ability to re-construct structure if damaged due to fire, flood, or other calamity.
- Reconstruction should not be allowed in case of voluntary destruction or demolition by neglect.
- Establish time limit (18 months) on how long after destruction the reconstruction of nonconforming structure is permitted.
- Establish time limit on building completion, once construction has started.
- Require that replacement structures must be of similar style, massing and character.
- Allow non-conforming multiple-family structures to add units and floor area without ZBA [Zoning Board of Appeals] approval, if the additional units or floor area is located within the existing building footprint. Additional units must meet density requirements; however structure can be non-conforming for lot area and setbacks.
- Allow for additions to existing multiple-family structures without ZBA approval if the addition complies with all setback and required open space standards for that district. This is currently permitted for single-family houses ONLY.
Draft Committee Report: Rezoning
Two areas – Hoover/Davis, and Dewey/Packard/Brookwood – were identified by the committee as priority areas for rezoning. The areas had been previously recommended for rezoning as part of the city’s central area plan, to help maintain the existing pattern of development in those neighborhoods. According to the report, the committee felt there might be other areas that should be rezoned as well, but that more research is needed.
Recommendation: The Advisory Committee recommends that select areas [Hoover/Davis and Dewey/Packard/Brookwood] be rezoned from R4C to R2A.
Draft Committee Report: Minimum Lot Size/Lot Width/Setbacks
The existing minimum lot size in R4C districts is 8,500 square feet, but 83% of parcels are non-conforming for this requirement. The majority of these parcels are also non-conforming for lot width, which is about 40 feet. The committee felt it was important to bring zoning closer to the established development in these areas, according to the report.
Recommendations: The Advisory Committee recommends the reduction of minimum lot sizes to 4,000 square feet for all parcels in R4C zoning district and elimination of the minimum lot width requirement. No changes to existing setbacks are proposed.
This change would bring 985 parcels into compliance, out of a total of 1,633 R4C parcels that currently don’t comply with existing zoning. The changes would allow for more flexibility in configuring new building and in remodeling existing structures, according to the report.
Draft Committee Report: Density Calculations
The report notes that the city’s current method of calculating density encourages the construction of six-bedroom units – the same minimum lot area is required, regardless of the number of bedrooms in a unit. This type of apartment appeals primarily to students, the report states, and the committee wanted to encourage a mix of bedroom types that would appeal to a broader range of renters.
Recommendations: The Advisory Committee recommends instituting a graduated scale of calculating density based on the total number of bedrooms provided in each unit. Existing density is calculated based solely on lot area per unit, regardless of the number of bedrooms within unit.
Regulations were proposed for three different unit types: 0-2 bedrooms, 3-4 bedrooms and 5-6 bedrooms. [.pdf of draft density calculations] No changes were proposed for rooming houses or group housing, such as fraternities, sororities and co-ops.
Draft Committee Report: Overlay District
The committee was interested in protecting the existing pattern of development and streetscape in R4C neighborhoods. The most feasible way to do that, according to the report, would be to form guidelines that would protect against: (1) out-of-scale buildings; (2) design that’s incompatible with the neighborhood; and (3) inappropriate lot combinations. An overlay could also allow for flexibility in the site design – for example, possibly modifying area, height and placement (AHP) standards in certain areas.
Recommendation: The committee recommends that zoning overlay districts be explored as a tool for protecting massing, setbacks and streetscape of neighborhoods experiencing redevelopment pressure within the R4C zone.
Draft Committee Report: Parking Standard
The committee felt the current method of calculating parking encourages the construction of six-bedroom units. The same number of parking spaces is required – 1.5 spaces per unit – regardless of the number of bedrooms. The goal is to encourage limited infill of smaller units, while giving property owners the option of providing more units with fewer bedrooms, according to the report.
Recommendation: Revise parking standards based on unit type (above), increasing parking requirements as number of bedrooms in units increase. Existing parking standards require 1.5 spaces per unit. Investigate off-site parking storage concept and alternative parking methods.
The proposed parking requirement is:
- 0.5 spaces for each 0-2 bedroom unit
- 1 space for each 3-4 bedroom unit
- 2 spaces for each 5-6 bedroom unit
Draft Committee Report: Lot Combination
No consensus was reached on this issue, but most committee members wanted to put a limit on lot combinations to prevent construction of large buildings that might undercut the historical scale of the streetscape, according to the report.
Recommendations: The committee recommends that no more than two parcels be allowed to be combined with the resulting parcel not to exceed 10,000 square feet.
R4C/R2A Zoning: Planning Commission Discussion
At the planning commission’s June 14 working session, Matt Kowalski, the city planner who’s taken the lead on this project, gave a brief review of the advisory committee’s work, and presented a draft report to commissioners that was discussed at the committee’s final meeting earlier this month.
He noted that the committee had been formed in mid-2009, and started meeting in December of that year. It held a total of 10 meetings, plus public forums with different groups: neighborhood associations, rental owners, housing inspectors and others. A survey of students was conducted as well, to gauge what kind of housing students currently live in, and what their preferred options would be. The survey yielded 223 responses. [.pdf of survey results]
After presenting draft recommendations at a public meeting in March of 2011, the group made some tweaks, Kowalski said. They met in early June to go over the final version of recommendations, he said, but “there’s not a consensus on the vast majority of the issues.” The report he presented to planning commissioners at the June 14 working session did not yet reflect the discussion at the committee’s final meeting. [.pdf of draft recommendations]
Tony Derezinski, the city councilmember from Ward 2 who served on the committee and who sponsored the council resolution creating it, described the final meeting as the most productive one they’ve had, but said the overall effort was contentious. A lot of people are protecting what they’re used to, he said, especially concerning density and parking. And because the committee members represented so many different perspectives, it was difficult to reach agreement. He noted that initially the committee did not include representatives from landlords, but Jean Carlberg had pushed for that, and it had been a good addition to the group, Derezinski said.
Derezinski acknowledged that he hadn’t attended all the meetings, but felt that the committee had done all it could do. He suggested that planning staff were in the best position to come up with consensus recommendations for the city council, adding that councilmembers would no doubt get direct feedback about it from the community, too.
R4C/R2A Zoning: PC Discussion – Density
Carlberg spoke next, saying she would choose her words very carefully. One challenge was that the committee members consisted of primarily single-family homeowners and agents for rental properties, she said. So when they were looking at where to have greater density, or where to remove multi-family zoning, the results weren’t surprising. Many times it seemed like the group would take one step forward, she said, then at the next meeting take two steps back.
The draft recommendations don’t provide any guidance about where the city might encourage greater density, Carlberg said. No committee members represented people living in apartments, or people interested in developing more dense housing – those voices weren’t at the table. It was a very unrepresentative group on the issue of where to locate denser housing, she said, and additional meetings wouldn’t help. “I found it very frustrating.”
Erica Briggs asked if there was any consensus on what areas should have less density. The draft report recommends that two areas be downzoned from R4C to R2A: (1) the Hoover/Davis area; and (2) the Dewey/Packard/Brookwood area.
Evan Pratt asked what the role of the planning commission should be. Should commissioners review the report and make comments, or make their own recommendations to city council?
Wendy Rampson, head of the city’s planning staff, recommended that given its outcome, the report should probably go directly to the council. Many issues are intricately related, she said, which adds to the challenge. In addition to density, another issue is the physical configuration of houses that have been converted into multi-family dwellings. The goal is to try to keep the same pattern and massing, she said, and not end up with bigger buildings and bigger lot sizes.
Form and density are definitely challenges, Pratt said. He wondered whether a zoning overlay district might be the best option.
Bonnie Bona agreed with Pratt that they need to wrap their arms around the issues of form and density. Rampson said a lot of the committee’s discussion for increasing density related to how the zoning could allow for additions to existing structures so that units could be increased without tearing down buildings or “sticking people in basements.”
Bona said she hoped they wouldn’t see downzoning like the city council authorized in Lower Burns Park, without balancing it with upzoning for greater density elsewhere. She added that she would hate to see this process get bogged down because they can’t reach consensus. The result will be projects like they’re seeing on South Fifth Avenue, she said, with houses being torn down and big box structures built.
Bona was referring to the City Place development by Alex de Parry, which the city council approved in September 2009. It conforms to existing zoning, and calls for demolition of several houses on South Fifth, to be replaced by two buildings separated by a surface parking lot with 24 total units, each with six bedrooms. De Parry hasn’t started building that project. He has proposed an alternative development called Heritage Row, which would entail renovating seven houses and constructing three new apartment buildings behind those houses, with an underground parking garage. That project, a planned unit development (PUD), has been rejected multiple times by council. See Chronicle coverage: “Heritage Row Status Update”
R4C/R2A Zoning: PC Discussion – Non-Conforming Structures
Diane Giannola brought up another issue: Zoning non-conformance. She questioned the draft recommendation, which calls for revising city code to allow for reconstruction of non-conforming structures in R4C and R2A districts, under certain conditions. That is, if a structure that doesn’t conform to zoning is damaged by fire or flooding, for example, it could be rebuilt in a way that was also non-conforming to zoning in that area. Shouldn’t the zoning simply be changed instead? she asked.
Derezinski said that was originally proposed, and it “got nailed” by committee members. The question is whether you rely on experts, or on people’s feelings, he said – it’s a tension.
Giannola argued that they should either revise the zoning or leave it as is – but they shouldn’t give people permission to ignore the zoning. Isn’t that the purpose of zoning – to tell people what they can do? She said she has a problem with making an exception for something that’s already wrong. That seems ridiculous, she said.
Reconstruction of non-conforming buildings was something that the owners of rental property on the committee wanted, Carlberg said. They don’t want the zoning to change, and they want the ability to rebuild without losing their property’s economic benefit.
Bona said it might be good to have an exception, especially for smaller lots. Kowalski noted that most lots aren’t wide enough to conform to existing zoning. The majority of structures don’t conform and couldn’t be rebuilt, he said – and owners like what they have.
R4C/R2A Zoning: PC Discussion – Second Opinion?
Kirk Westphal wondered whether the city council might want another opinion – perhaps the planning commission should weigh in. Derezinski noted that with so many non-conforming properties, you end up getting a lot of projects that are planned unit developments. Those PUDs allow for variances in zoning – essentially, a type of customized zoning for each project – which often results in a “hailstorm of opposition,” Derezinski said. He suggested that the planning commission at the least review the committee’s work and make recommendations to the council. Whatever they do will be controversial, he said.
Carlberg noted that the recommendations should also substantiate why they’re suggesting certain changes. Yes, Derezinski said, and also how the recommendations fit into the city’s master plan. Where do they want the community to go, with respect to zoning? If the planning commission believes that density is a good goal, they should say that, he added.
The committee’s process was as good as it could get, Derezinski said. They bent over backwards to get input – it took twice as long as expected. There were good people on the committee who spent a lot of time on the effort, he said, but he didn’t think anyone’s mind was changed. If the draft recommendations go directly to the council, he added, they won’t be useful.
Westphal asked whether the city council has discussed this issue. Not since it formed the advisory committee, Derezinski said.
R4C/R2A Zoning: PC Discussion – More on Density
Pratt returned to the topic of density, saying he wasn’t sure whether the draft report recommendations would result in greater or less housing density. That’s the first question that should be addressed, he said – they shouldn’t dive into details until it’s clear what the goal is for these zoning districts. What do people want to accomplish?
If the city council wants to scale back density and have less of a threat to existing neighborhoods, that’s one thing, Pratt said. But if councilmembers want to clean up the rental stock and add density in these districts, that would result in different recommendations.
Derezinski indicated that he’d prefer the second alternative, and that as a councilmember, he’d welcome the planning commission’s input. The city council has a lot on its plate, he said. Councilmembers want the expertise of people who know the issue – planning commission, supported by staff. Then it’s up to the council to accept or reject whatever recommendations they’re given.
One place to start, Pratt said, is to ask whether existing zoning in those R4C/R2A areas is a good thing. Is it the highest and best use of zoning for that area? If not, what changes can be made to reach the density goal that they feel is appropriate? And it’s not just density, he noted. There’s a boxy building at the corner of Liberty and Third that’s just two stories, but it’s really ugly, he said. How can they regulate zoning that won’t result in big box buildings – perhaps a zoning overlay would be the best approach.
Briggs said that density makes some sense for the city’s future, but not at the cost of destroying a neighborhood’s fabric. Although some people say that increased density is an assault on neighborhoods, she said, she believes it’s possible to achieve some sort of balance.
Carlberg noted that another challenge: There’s no financial gain for someone to build an apartment that looks nice and fits into the neighborhood. There was no one on the advisory committee who represented the perspective of a developer, she said. Many members didn’t even live in an R4C district – they lived next to one. So they didn’t have the experience of living in a mixed-use neighborhood with large apartment buildings from the 1950s.
Westphal clarified that the city’s master plan makes mention of density, but doesn’t have any action items related to it. He said he liked the idea of a zoning overlay – for many people, the issue isn’t so much about the size as it is about the form and massing of a building, he said.
Carlberg pointed out that small lots in these districts pose another challenge. The zoning currently calls for a minimum lot size of 8,500 square feet – and 83% of parcels in the R4C zoning districts do not conform to that size. Even for lots that meet that minimum standard, it would be hard to build a structure with the appropriate form on a lot that size. Carlberg also noted that for many people, it wouldn’t matter what the building looked like – they don’t want apartment buildings in a residential area with single-family homes.
Bona suggested a couple of approaches that the city council could take. The council could direct the planning commission to change the zoning to match structures that are already on the parcels in R4C and R2A districts. Or the council could direct the commission to make recommendations for increasing density in other ways, such as creating new zoning for certain areas, or using design guidelines.
Carlberg voiced support for the planning commission to weigh in, saying that the city council could then wrestle with both the advisory committee report as well as the commission’s recommendations.
Derezinski said the council shouldn’t be intimidated by the politics of it – there’s going to be controversy. “Isn’t that really inevitable?” he said. It goes back to whether they are a direct democracy or a representative democracy – and he’s in favor of adding the filter of councilmembers’ own judgement. There was a decent public process, he said, but the council will ultimately need to decide.
Pratt asked if the committee had discussed parking. That was a big concern, Rampson replied. [The committee's draft report calls for an increase in parking requirements based on the number of bedrooms, not the number of units.]
Briggs noted that you can’t separate the issues of parking and density. You can’t talk about the need for density because of sustainability, she said, then turn around and say you also need more space for cars.
Rampson said the student survey yielded some interesting results related to parking. [Among the results: 70% of respondents said they have a car, 98% said they use the car to run errands, and 66% said that having more options for shopping and amenities within walking distance of their home would encourage them to not have a car.]
Based on the discussion by planning commissioners, Rampson said, it seemed there was consensus for the commission to review the R4C/R2A issue. She said she’d schedule a time for commissioners to be more fully briefed by staff.
In a follow-up phone conversation with The Chronicle, Kowalski said he’s revising the draft report based on committee member comments at their final meeting, and will present that version to planning commissioners at one of their regular meetings later this summer. In a separate phone interview this week, Rampson said it’s possible that some advisory committee members will submit a “minority report” to accompany the full committee report, giving their alternative recommendations.
Rampson described several possibilities that planning commissioners might pursue. They could discuss the report at one of their regular meetings and make their own recommendations or comments about it, either informally – communicated to council via Derezinski – or through a formal resolution or memorandum. Another option would be for the commission’s ordinance revisions committee to tackle changes to R4C/R2A districts, developing specific ordinance language that the full commission could then review and possibly recommend to city council. Or commissioners could ask to hold a joint session with the council, she said, to talk through these issues directly.
Ultimately, it will be city councilmembers who decide what action, if any, to take on proposed zoning changes.
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