The city finally placed the code re-write debate and possible recommendation to Council on the agenda for the Planning & Zoning Commission on September 13th, 2022, at Litchfield Public Library at 7:00pm.
Due to some questions regarding the meaning of the word “partially” in Option 3, the Commission voted to continue the discussion at their next meeting to allow staff to more clearly define that option. It has always been my understanding that “partially screened” meant that the six-foot height of an adjacent screening wall or an equal height of dense vegetation would be sufficient to comply with the revised Code.
None -the-less, it was encouraging to see that in the announcement on the agenda, that the City Staff recommended to chose “Option 1”. Here is the text of the agenda item;
ZONING CODE SECTION 31.04 “SCREENING OF NON-PRINCIPAL USES”
Staff recommendation at this time is to support option 1, strengthening the code language to enhance the originally intended protections from parking unscreened RVs and other equipment on residential properties. This draft language is as follows:
“Such items shall be completely screened from view of BY adjacent and nearby properties and the public rights-of-way and parks by a wall or fence not to exceed six feet in height AND/or dense landscaping, TO ENSURE THE EQUIPMENT IS COMPLETELY SCREENED FROM VIEW. DENSE LANDSCAPING IS NOT SUBJECT TO HEIGHT LIMITATIONS. EQUIPMENT that IS more than six feet in height shall be set back a minimum of two feet for every foot of height from any side or rear property line FROM NATURAL GRADE.”
This is good news for us, as it follows the Code interpretation of the earlier Board of Adjustment ruling on April 7th, and retains the strict interpretation that has served the City well since our incorporation.
We can only hope that the vociferous Special Interest Group that want’s to liberalize the Zoning Code for their own financial gain is defeated in its attempt to have the Commission rule in their favor and chose option 3 – allowing unrestricted RV, trailer and large vehicle storage in rear and side yards within The Park!