Panel considering city zoning usages

Broad revisions being discussed for city's zoning codes


FORT MADISON – A move has been underway for a while now to redistrict business sections in Fort Madison.
Healthy discussions have been taking place in the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission under the direction of Building Director Doug Krogmeier and are extremely preliminary.
Krogmeier said public hearings will be held to discuss the changes when a recommendation is finalized.
According to the discussion at Tuesday’s monthly meeting of the commission, the business districts will be divided into four areas with B1 being the area specific to downtown Fort Madison from 6th to 10th Streets along Avenues G and H, north to the alley between Avenues E and F.
B2 would be the corridors adjacent to the B1 district. District B3 would be the corridors throughout the rest of Fort Madison along the highway and then B4 would be the district from 48th Street west along Highway 61.
“We’ve been working on zoning code updates and we’ve got a list of uses,” Krogmeier said.
He said the list of the uses and definitions that were included in information for the commission helped clear up what businesses would be examples in each district.
New chairwoman Barb Asay requested that even if districts have a historic name such as Santa Fe District or the downtown district, she preferred to use the B1 – B4. – not sure this is a question?
Krogmeier said B1 was downtown and B2 was the central area surrounding the downtown.
“B3 is the community corridor, which is the rest of the highway through town, and then the Highway district is what I’m calling the west end and that’s B4 for now,” Krogmeier said.
There will still be residential zones although there won’t be as many, but the preliminary talks focused on the uses of the Business districts.
Matt Emmett, one of the commission members, said not everything that would be appropriate in B1 (downtown) would be appropriate in B2. Krogmeier said historically the boundary for the proposed B1 and B2 would be the alley between Avenues E and F.
“In my view, B2 is the blending between business and residential. There could be things that are special-use in B2.”
Krogmeier said he allows single family detached properties in B2 but doesn’t think that should be allowed in B1.
The group started going through the different types of businesses that would be permitted in the B1-B4 districts, and also what businesses could be allowed if they applied for a special permit.
Collier said in her position as the Fort Madison Chamber Coordinator and in her work with Main Street, the downtown always has included Avenue H as well as Avenue G.
“For me in my position, downtown includes H. It just always has. Main Street was that circle from 10th to 6th. So to me, anything you would allow on G, can be on H just right there, though,” Collier said.
Krogmeier asked if businesses on H would not be allowed on G.
Asay  said the businesses fit together, but if there are facade or aesthetic requirements, would they be the same on both streets even with Avenue H not having the same parking or entrance issues.
A debate surfaced over the size of grocery store that would be allowed in the first two districts. With Aldi in what would be B1, the group debated on whether they would want another grocery that size in the immediate downtown. A lot of the debated uses were tagged with special use permit designations, but the recommendation of the panel was to grandfather those businesses, but not allow additional businesses that size in the downtown.
They also debated drive thru restaurants in the B1 and B2, but again the conversation was to push any development in that model to the community through special use requests and there the conversation could be had about parking and drive thru lanes, etc, that would be required with drive thru and drive in food service.
"I'll give you an example. 513 Avenue G is about to come down and if someone wanted to put a restaurant in the building next to it, and there's a nice flat wall, you could do drive thru in, that's in this district," Krogmeier said.
Asay said there were several places in the downtown that could work. Krogmeier said those are historically a special use permit.
"I don't see anything wrong with a special use permit, if someone can figure out the logistics," she said.
The zoning revisions will require multiple meetings and additional conversations before public meetings will be held and recommendations are sent to the City Council.
The commission will continue the discussions on a broad range of zoning issues at further meetings.

Fort Madison, Planning and Zoning, meeting, discussions, rezoning, downtown, businesses, news, Pen City Current, Doug Krogmeier, Barbara Asay,


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