The Board of Aldermen this week approved amending the city’s B-3 Neighborhood Business Zoning District during a special meeting.

The amended code requires that business owners meet certain performance standards before being permitted to operate.

The standards highlight physical appearance, sign requirements, lighting, fire hazards, the maximum noise decibel permitted, sewage and liquid waste discharge, air contaminants, odors, gases, vibration, glare and heat and forbid residential use.

Hours and off-street parking also are addressed.

“We want neighborhood businesses encouraged, but we don’t want any real harm to befall the neighborhoods that they’re in,” City Attorney Tim Melenbrink said.

The city’s I-2 light (neighborhood) industrial zoning code recently was amended to add similar performance standards.

Melenbrink said that he “saw no reason why that shouldn’t work with a B-3 district.”

“These are small. This should be mom and pop businesses,” Melenbrink said. “To charge them $500 and have them come through a double process of getting a conditional use permit — a (request) like that isn’t fair and it’s not conducive to mom and pop.”

Before, business owners were required to get a conditional use permit to operate and each time ownership changes the permit had to be revised or a new permit had to be granted.

Public Hearing

A brief public hearing was held in which a local RE/MAX real estate agent, Lola Carter, requested that computer sales and services be added to the list of permitted uses in the new code.

A client of hers wishes to purchase a space in Union that formerly was used as a hair salon on Church Street.

The business is low-traffic and customers likely are only in the business for a few minutes to drop off and pick up their electronics.

“I grew up in this town and I have watched that end of town decline, and it’s trying to come back. I think this would help,” she said, adding that vacant buildings invite vandalism and damages to themselves and neighboring properties.

Mayor Mike Livengood said it was their intention to allow computer sales and repair as a permitted use and approved the ordinance with the correction to the permitted use list.

The ordinances were approved 8-0.

Correction: A previous article said that Alderman Dennis Soetebier was not present. He was. The Missourian regrets this error.