When they met Tuesday, Leavenworth city commissioners discussed how wide they want to make a planned commercial zone on North Fourth Street.
City officials are looking to rezone the mostly residential area of Fourth Street between Seneca Street and Metropolitan Avenue to a commercial zone. Exploring rezoning and recruitment options to encourage commercial retail development along North Fourth Street was a goal set by commissioners earlier this year.
Commissioners were asked Tuesday how far they wanted to extend the commercial zone on each side of Fourth Street. City Planner Berrin Nejad presented maps with five proposed buffer zones ranging from a distance 100 feet from the center of Fourth Street to 300 feet.
“So essentially you’re looking for how deep to go,” Mayor Larry Dedeke said.
Commissioners reached a consensus in support of the 300-foot buffer zone. No formal action was taken during what was a study session.
Commissioner Phil Urban said he thought the commercial zone should extend for a half block each side of Fourth Street.
Dedeke said the commercial zone needs to extend a minimum of a half block.
According to Nejad, the 300-foot buffer would affect 165 buildings and 182 parcels.
Nejad said in some cases an entire block may need to be zoned commercial because there already are areas along Fifth Street, which is to the west of Fourth Street, that are zoned for commercial use.
Commissioner Mark Preisinger asked how the rezoning would affect current residents in the area.
“They would be grandfathered in residential wise,” City Manager Scott Miller.
Residents wouldn’t be allowed to add onto their existing houses once the area has been rezoned for commercial use but they could make improvements within the existing space of their homes.
Urban asked city officials to look into making it possible for property owners to do something such as adding on a garage without having to go through a lot of hoops.
Miller expressed concern that what is allowed through grandfathering for one area of the city would have to permitted for the entire city.
The rezoning will not come automatically. According to Nejad, the process will include changing a city future land use map as will as public hearings before the Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Commission.
Miller said the city will be the applicant for the rezoning process.