Calera planning commission recommends zoning changes

Changes may be on the way for Calera’s zoning ordinance, after the city’s planning commission Tuesday agreed to recommend a new ordinance to the City Council.

If approved during the council’s Oct. 5 meeting, the ordinance would bring a few changes to Calera’s current zoning guidelines, explained Jason Fondren, an employee with the KPS Group, a planning and urban design company.

The new ordinance would limit the size of institutional developments, like churches, schools or hospitals, allowed in zoned residential districts, Fondren said.

“In this ordinance, those institutional developments have a size limit, which would help keep traffic congestion down in those residential areas.

Mobile homes also would be affected by the new ordinance, as the “manufactured homes” would not be allowed in any zoning districts not currently zoned for them.

The proposed ordinance also would require storm shelters in every mobile home park in the city.

On the business side, the new ordinance would require businesses with parking lots of 40 spaces or more to landscape around the lot.

“If there is existing vegetation on the site that can be used, this ordinance would allow the staff to accept that instead of requiring them to clear everything out and then landscape it,” Fondren said. “That could help keep some existing trees in the city.”

Planned unit development in the city also will be affected if the updated ordinance is approved, as the new document would lower the planned unit development land requirement from 200 acres to 150 acres.

“PUD is usually good for the community because the developer has to present everything to you before they do it,” Fondren told the commission. “Generally speaking, a PUD project is usually beneficial to the city if the city works it right.”