City of Auburn Planning Board

The City of Auburn Planning Board will be overhauling the city's zoning code within the next month. 

AUBURN — Members of the City of Auburn Planning Board hope to have a fully revised city Zoning Ordinance completed by the beginning of October.  

The city is updating its zoning code to better align with the city's Auburn Sparks Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) program, which involves redeveloping downtown and the Owasco River corridor. The BOA program is nearing completion of its second of three phases.  

During Tuesday's planning board meeting, Senior Planner Stephen Selvek said the revised code is about 75-percent complete. He plans to have the final code ready for the planning board to review during next month's meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 3 so board members can make any final recommendations before sending the code to city council for adoption. 

Selvek said the council should be able to vote on the new code by mid-October. 

This is a "comprehensive update," Selvek said. The old code will essentially be repealed and replaced by the newly-revised code. 

The "most significant" change to the code will be a switch to a more form-based code for the downtown section of the city, Selvek said.

"What (form-based code) does is focus on the overall design and layout of a site, as opposed to each and every single use," Selvek said. "It's more concerned with preserving the overall look and appearance of downtown and how we as pedestrians interact with the downtown (rather) than regulating whether or not someone can have a restaurant or a bar in certain place." 

Selvek also said the new code will be easier to navigate and understand "for both a developer that wants to come in but also a lay person who may be working to expand their business or something of that nature." 

"It's organized much more efficiently," Selvek added. "There's still a lot of technical language, given the nature of the zoning code, but finding the information in it should be significantly easier." 

The completed code will also include regulations for a public arts plan, which will establish procedures for displaying art in public spaces.  

While small changes have been made to the city's Zoning Ordinance over the years, the last major overhaul was in the early 1990s, Selvek said. 

Staff writer Natalie Brophy can be reached at (315)282-2239 or natalie.brophy@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter @brophy_natalie. 

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City Reporter