Gary Herzig

Herzig

Upcoming changes to the Oneonta city code were discussed at a Monday night Legislative Committee meeting in City Hall.

The city is in the process of working on the redesign of Market Street as part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig said at a Feb. 3 Common Council meeting. The code needs to be changed to ensure all other development on Market Street is consistent with the redesign project's goals, he said.

At Feb. 3 meeting, the council voted to adopt a law that would temporarily halt issuance of permits for properties that front Market Street within the Mixed Use-1 Zoning District. The law would take effect after a public comment period at next week's council meeting Tuesday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. in City Hall.

The purpose of the six-month moratorium is to ensure there's no development on Market Street before the code changes take effect.

Fourth Ward Council Member Kaytee Lipari Shue asked city Code Enforcement Officer Stephen Yerly if existing businesses and storefronts would be expected to retrofit within that zoning district once the code is changed.

"There are exceptions when you can't force compliance with new codes, but usually what happens is things are grandfathered in and then as updates are made, they're brought into compliance with whatever code's in place," Yerly said. "Long-term, the idea is that we would enact a code that over time as people updated the building, we would be enforcing new material standards (and) light standards and stuff in that code would be enforced as things were brought in."

Yerly said the 6-month moratorium is still an appropriate length of time and that he's hoping to have a finalized draft for the city's Planning Commission this month. The Planning Commission, Legislative Committee and the Common Council all have to weigh in on the changes, Yerly said. Somewhere along the line, he said, the county also has to give its recommendation.

Yerly said he received the county's position on the moratorium today.

"They're in agreement that this is in line with our Comprehensive Plan, so there probably wouldn’t be much pushback," he said.

Yerly said the city is looking to update the zoning district to a "form-based code," which is more based on aesthetics than the type of usage.

"What we have right now says you can do certain things in certain zones," Yerly said. "What we're trying to do is move toward a direction where our code is more involved in what's built, how it looks and how it flows with what's there instead of what type of use goes on in the building. The idea is to make that whole area more cohesive."

He said there haven't been any permit requests for the stretch on Market Street where development is temporarily halted.

Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at skarikehalli@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.

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