Auburn gains new development rules

February 26th, 2019

By Dave Kurtz | KPC Media - The Star

After more than two years of work, Auburn’s new Unified Development Ordinance has become reality.

The new version replaces a 1989 ordinance with updated rules to govern zoning and building in the city.

In the final vote Tuesday night at City Hall, the Auburn Plan Commission agreed to slight changes made by the Auburn Common Council last week.

Among the changes, the council removed five pages of landscaping standards from the proposal.

Mayor Norm Yoder questioned the idea of landscaping rules at a Plan Commission meeting in January.

“We’ve never done that. Do you want the city to get into that business is the question?” Yoder said last month. “I’m not sure why we’re doing it. It’s a whole, new thing. It’s not been vetted in the public at all.”

For businesses, the landscaping standards would increase costs, the mayor added.

“I’m not really in favor of adding costs when they’re going to make improvements to the city of Auburn,” Councilman and Plan Commission member Jim Finchum said at Tuesday’s meeting.

Another change increases the maximum height for a multi-family residential building from 40 to 45 feet, at the suggestion of Councilman Kevin Webb.

The new code creates two multi-family housing districts instead of one, differentiating large apartment complexes from duplexes.

The final version also drops earlier proposed rules for positioning of residential driveways.

Another change revises rules for election signs, which will be limited to 32 square feet. They may be installed up to 60 days before an election and must be removed six days after the election.

The first version of the new rules would have restricted use of political signs to 30 days.

“That’s not substantial enough for a fall campaign,” Yoder had commented at the January Plan Commission meeting.

In another change, special temporary signs will be allowed for 10-day periods. The limit was increased from seven days, at the suggestion of Councilman Mike Watson. They remain restricted to four times per year at any location.

The biggest beneficiaries of the new code could be large-scale developers and the city’s planning staff.

“It’s certainly more user-friendly,” Amy Schweitzer, director of Auburn’s Department of Building, Planning and Development, said about the new ordinance in a November interview.

Schweitzer said she expects commercial and industrial developers won’t have to call her office with as many questions.

The Auburn Plan Commission worked on the new ordinance at almost every one of its monthly meetings in 2018.

The draft version of the final document can be found on the City of Auburn's Public Meetings webpage. Follow these breadcrumbs from the Public Meetings webpage: Plan Commission Meeting Documents > 2019_MeetingInformation/ > 02.12.2019_PCMeetingDocuments/ > UDO/ > 2019.02.05_PostCityCouncilApproval_CompleteUDO.pdf 

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