City Council voted unanimously at a special meeting Thursday to extend special zoning options to property owners on East Second Street.
Amendments to Planning and Zoning Ordinance 10-02 also included the removal of language pertaining to marijuana distributors so as to prevent the city from being responsible for regulation of marijuana related businesses.
The omission does not bar distributors or change the permit process for them.
Councilor Steve Henderson said the amendments relating to Second Street could be described as a “cleaning up” of the ordinance. He said the goal is to promote economic development.
“The idea is to mirror what we did on West Second Street,” he said.
West Second Street falls under the C-4 Commercial Business District, known before the amendments passed as the C-4 Westside District.
C-4 regulations allow for buildings to take up a greater amount of lot space, with only 5 feet of space required behind the rear of a building and the property line.
The minimum requirement in the C-2 district on East Second Street is 35 feet. Property owners in the C-2 district are required to allot more space for parking and landscaping than those in C-4, as well.
Under the new amendments, owners of lots on the eastern half of Second Street can apply for the more lenient development standards of their neighbors to the west.
City Planning Director Michael Vickers said the alterations allow for better use of available space, since many lots on East Second are shallow.
The vote has already had an effect.
Chad Merchant, who runs commercial developer 444 Real Estate in Lubbock, Texas, attended the meeting to learn the fate of the Family Dollar store he was intending to build on the corner of North Orchard Avenue and East Second.
He said the changes open the door for the new business.
“Well, we can build a store there now,” he said.
Development standards were also amended for residential districts, and will allow for residences in some districts to be built on smaller lots.
Henderson said permitting the use of smaller lots should “make it easier and not as expensive” to build.
Language pertaining to marijuana was omitted as part of Thursday’s amendments due to concerns that the city could be held responsible for regulation of local medical cannabis trade were the language kept.
Councilor Jason Perry expressed particular concern with the wording.
“When you specify businesses in zoning, then you become the enforcer of licensing,” he said. “The state needs to deal with that.”
Marijuana businesses will be held to the same application process as other enterprises wishing to establish themselves in the city.
The amendments made Thursday were discussed and presented as motions during a public hearing last week, with the exception of one “clarification” according to Vickers.
He said that a statement in the part of the ordinance pertaining to C-4 district was discussed during the hearing but not put forward as a motion at that time.
The phrase states, “The district is available, upon application to the Planning and Zoning Commission under the rules of the Commission and City Council to property owners,” those being property owners on Second Street.