Proposed zoning changes that would ban second-floor balconies on the front of homes, restrict the planting of hedge fences in front yards, and define height limits for homes that are being elevated are among the items on the agenda at a meeting of the West University Zoning and Planning Commission at 6:15 p.m. Thursday (April 11) in the Municipal Building, 3800 University Blvd.
The ZPC and City Council will follow the meeting with a joint public hearing on the matters at 6:30 p.m. April 22 in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.
Also included on Thursday’s ZPC agenda are items on:
•Property maintenance, which largely addresses what constitutes a weed;
•Noise regulations, which would remove a prohibition against shouting vendors and peddlers, add generators to a list of potentially offending machinery and lower the acceptable decibel levels for all equipment; and ban the public use of gongs in a religious observance or prayer;
•Amend city ordinances regarding outdoor lighting.
These are the city’s summations of the three major proposals under consideration Thursday and at the public hearing with City Council:
Second floor balcony prohibition
Scope of Proposal: The proposal would establish definitions for “porch” and “balcony”. The proposal would prohibit balconies from the second floor level if located in the front yard and reiterate where a railing is allowed. One of the principal purposes of the amendment is to help prevent overcrowding in the front yard and help maintain adequate light and air and an open streetscape.
Fence-like Hedges in Front Yards
Scope of Proposal: Existing ordinances restrict man made fences in front yards. This proposal restricts “fence-like hedges” or natural fences in front yard areas. A fence-like hedge is vegetation or foliage having the characteristics of a fence and growing higher than 36 inches. A sunset provision for non-complying fence-like hedges is proposed for a three year period to end on Oct. 1, 2021. The commission believes that this proposal would enhance public safety and help protect visibility and “streetscapes” in the city’s neighborhoods.
Certain Structure Heights in Floodplain
Scope of Proposal: The proposal would give some flexibility for those existing residential structures which have been flooded and are located in the 100-year floodplain, and are being elevated to comply with floodplain regulations. The roof structure could be elevated equivalent to the height the foundation structure is being elevated, not to exceed 39 feet.
Thursday’s agenda can be accessed here.