Mayor Pushes to Relax Zoning

Ross: Strict Rules ‘Not Blythewood’

BLYTHEWOOD – Last month it was announced that Town Council proposed to ‘rethink’ its restrictive, or what many in the town consider progressive, sign ordinance that was passed in 2009. So far, the only corresponding groundswell of criticism of the ordinance is that it is not administered fairly by Town Hall and that the high rise interstate signs should not have to come down in 2020.

On Monday evening, Mayor J. Michael Ross asked Council to reconsider possible revisions to the current Town Center District zoning regulations (Ord. 155.182) that support the Master Plan, which envisioned the future Town Center as a pedestrian destination for which a number of regulations were adopted.

Town Administrator Gary Parker read from the ordinance: “The Town Center District is established and intended to encourage the development of the town center as the principal focal point of the entire community with a vibrant mix of retail, service, office, restaurant, entertainment, cultural, civic, government and residential uses that create a strong sense of place. The Town Center District is also established and intended to provide a public realm and streetscape with aesthetically pleasing architecture, landscaping, signage, lighting, utilities and other features especially inviting to pedestrians. The design of buildings in the Town Center shall be based on the architectural traditions of the Midlands and contemporary interpretations thereof. Accordingly, the architectural and other design standards of this section are applicable to all new land uses, new construction and major improvements within the Town Center District.”

Parker said the Mayor would like to discuss in a work session those businesses that might come in the future who might not want this.

“We were looking at some of the sketches,” Ross said. “There was so much comparison with us (Blythewood) looking like Davidson, N.C. and Baster. Folks, that’s not what Blythewood is.”

Ross blamed the lack of economic development in the town on these stricter regulations.

“We need to revisit this, to (embrace) something more practical than dream,” he said. “If we want to see good economic development, but with restrictions that are fair to the people, then I ask you to consider this.”

A time for the work session was not decided.

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