AUBURN — Auburn residents raised concerns Thursday with the city's 75-percent draft of the updated zoning code.
Around half a dozen people addressed the Auburn City Council during a formal public hearing. Issues with the code ranged from unclear definitions and typos to concerns about billboards and storage of large construction equipment and motor homes.
Trista O'Hara, a Chapel House board member, said staff from the homeless shelter spoke with the city council in February about a tiny house project they had planned. O'Hara said the city was provided with project blueprints that listed the dimensions of the houses they wanted to build. Now, O'Hara said, the minimum square footage regulations in the proposed zoning code are larger than the tiny homes Chapel House planned to build.
Construction on the first tiny house is supposed to start this year. The first house will go to a local homeless veteran, O'Hara said. She requested for the city to either update the draft to include Chapel House's project or allow the project to be grandfathered in, since city officials previously voiced support for the project.
"We were pretty shocked to see that although we had been before the council to talk about our project, a lot of the things that are now being discussed wouldn't work with what we had previously brought forward to the council," O'Hara said.
Two residents who were impacted by a cellphone tower proposed on Allen Street requested the code include a uniform policy for alerting neighboring property owners of new construction projects going on in their area. Karen Walter said she would like residents to be notified five days in advance of such proposals being introduced at the city planning board meeting. Alisa Lawton said she is unhappy that the proposed code decreases the radius for notifying neighboring property owners from those who live withing a 400-square-foot radius down to a 200 square-foot radius.
Keeping with the rules of a public hearing, council members were not allowed to directly respond with residents' concerns, but Mayor Michael Quill said all concerns will be addressed by city staff.
"Keep in mind that this document is 75-percent complete," Quill said. "What our intentions are, is that everything brought up this evening or everything we've received through other communications will be factored into the final product."
Another public hearing, which will address the 100-percent completed draft, will take place during the Nov. 30 Auburn City Council meeting.
In other news
• Members of the council and city staff recognized the city's water filtration plant employees for "all the time, effort and expertise" they put into dealing with Owasco Lake's blue-green algae issue, City Manager Jeff Dygert said.
Eight employees were honored and given certificates from the mayor.
"We appreciate all the work you guys do," Councilor Jimmy Giannettino said. "I'm proud to call you my coworkers."
• Council members unanimously voted to move the council meeting scheduled for Nov. 23 — Thanksgiving Day — to Tuesday, Nov. 21. The meeting will start at 6 p.m.