At its Monday night meeting, the village council unanimously approved a new zoning designation called the Downtown Business District, intended to support economic growth along Madison Street.
The ordinance limits the construction or alteration of buildings in the district to a list of approved uses, including, for example, retail stores, financial institutions, fitness centers and art galleries.
The most contested aspect of the new district has been the elimination of the requirement for Madison Street businesses to provide two parking spaces. Residential buildings on the street will still be required to provide two parking spaces per unit.
When the matter came before the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) last week, member Richard Scafidi objected, saying businesses were being given “a complete free pass on parking.”
The new ordinance lists restaurants and other business types that create a need for parking as “conditional uses,” allowing the village to assess required parking on a case-by-case basis rather than an “unrealistic generally applied parking ratio,” according to a staff report provided to the council.
Aside from properties currently used as parking lots that are zoned residential, all properties in the new district are zoned for business uses. Though the village’s Business Improvement District (BID) Committee has discussed the idea of including some residential properties on land that the village might later seek to acquire for added parking in the district, no residences were included, according to Village Administrator Michael Sturino.
Following suggestions made by the ZBA during two meetings on the topic, some minor changes were made to the original ordinance created to form the district.
The definition of a “catering” establishment, which is not permitted in the district, was amended to ensure that a carry-out restaurant did not fall into the category, and upscale “wine merchants” were excluded from the prohibition barring new liquor stores from opening in the district.
The ordinance passed by the council also prohibits all secondhand stores (except antique stores) and repair business that create undesirable sounds or odors. It requires buildings to have their primary entrances facing the street, and limits the height of buildings to four stories or 50 feet, whichever is greater.
Residences in the district are not allowed in street-front space, and must be part of mixed-use developments. They are required to have a lot area per family of 1,250 square feet or more.