A measure that would allow more housing units to exist on acreage within the city limits than presently permitted will be on the agenda for a Mount Airy Board of Commissioners meeting today.
The proposed change was triggered by a 56-unit apartment complex that Wynnefield Properties, a Jamestown firm, is developing at a site on Edgewood Drive near Walmart. As an engineer for the project was preparing to submit plans for the apartments, the size limitation was noted when the appropriate city zoning regulations were reviewed.
“That’s what kind of brought it to our attention,” explained Emily Hines, a city planner.
However, that issue highlighted the need for the ordinance to be changed, both to accommodate the planned Edgewood Place apartment complex and other such projects that might arise.
“It makes sense in this day and time,” Hines said of relaxing the density rules.
During its 2 p.m. session today at the Municipal Building, the board will consider setting a public hearing for another meeting later this month on a resulting proposal. It seeks to alter a portion of the city zoning ordinance affecting density of residential group developments.
The change would increase the number of dwelling units allowed per acre from five to 12. This would come into play with projects such as apartment developments containing multiple buildings, for example. The plans for Edgewood Drive call for seven separate buildings, including a clubhouse.
Essentially, given that landlocked conditions now exist in Mount Airy with a limited amount of open land available for development, the change in regulations would permit more people to live in a space than present limits allow.
“It would help with sprawl and eliminate some sprawl,” Hines added Wednesday.
The Vision Plan, a long-range planning document adopted by Mount Airy officials in 2001, recommends that high-density developments of up to 12 units per acre be permitted in the city. “This type of development may be necessary to support regional centers or major employment areas,” says a planning staff memorandum to the mayor and commissioners which points to the restrictive nature of present regulations.
“It’s still not a huge amount,” Hines said regarding the 12-units-per-acre proposal.
“Some (communities) would actually consider that more of a medium density,” the city planner added.
Since the new limitation will require a public hearing before it can be implemented, the commissioners today will consider setting the hearing for Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. at City Hall.
Also at this afternoon’s meeting, the commissioners will:
• Consider a budget ordinance amendment regarding a police car that was totaled in a collision last year. It will allow the 2012-2013 municipal budget to reflect $20,355 in insurance proceeds received for the Dodge Charger involved;
• Consider reappointing a member to the Housing Authority of Mount Airy, a group that oversees the city’s public housing neighborhoods;
• Give special recognition to Eleanor Powell, a former longtime employee of The Mount Airy News who recently retired;
• Conduct a public forum during which citizens may speak on any city government topic;
• Hold a closed session related to matters of economic development.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or email@example.com.