WILMINGTON — A process to update the Wilmington Zoning Code was initiated in September by the Clinton County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC) on behalf of the City of Wilmington and City Council.
The Warren County Regional Planning Commission (WCRPC) was hired by CCRPC to help facilitate the process and offer professional guidance in drafting a modernized zoning code. A steering committee for the project, known as the “Zoning Task Force,” was appointed by the City of Wilmington last August and has held monthly public meetings since September 25th of last year to review and offer input on a draft code, section by section.
Several motivations led to the decision to update the city’s zoning code, according to a press release from the City of Wilmington.
The version currently in place can be described as a traditional “Euclidean” code and was mostly adopted many decades ago and has undergone a series of amendments over many years. The current code has been critiqued recently in relation to some new developments, resident concerns, and the adoption of a new comprehensive plan in 2015.
Some of the primary concerns include lack of development flexibility, excessive parking requirements, deficient signage regulations, and little consideration of the character of the built environment in the zoning process. These issues as well as many others have been addressed during the process.
“The condition of our zoning regulations today is the result of multiple past ‘Band-Aid’ amendments, which has made enforcement difficult due to inconsistencies and conflicting standards,” said Brian Shidaker, Safety/Service Director for the City of Wilmington. “The goal of this zoning update was to get back to basics, by overhauling the structure of the code for ease of administration while being sensitive to existing development and catering our districts to what actually exists on the ground today.”
The proposed code simplifies the number of districts from 24 to 17 and brings the zoning code in greater legal compliance with state and national law.
Shidaker added, “There are specific sections in the current code that are in direct conflict with recent Supreme Court decisions and we have to make these changes to stay in compliance with law.”
Anyone from the public is encouraged to attend the Zoning Update Open House scheduled for 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 11 in the Municipal Building’s Moyer Community Room at 69 N. South St., to learn more about the city’s endeavor to modernize its zoning regulations.
Residents should receive a flyer to the event in their monthly utility bill, which they can also view along with the draft code and provide comments on the project website www.wilmingtonzoningupdate.com.