The Warren County Commission voted 3-0 Monday to adopt the first five articles of an updated zoning order.
County officials said the changes in the zoning order are necessary with the continuing growth of population in the county, which has risen 33 percent in the last decade.
“We hope this will promote more growth, but not let us lose our sense of home in this county,” said Lynn Gluntz, Warren County Planning and Zoning administrator.
The update includes some changes to the county’s zoning maps, which Gluntz said provides for more specific zones.
“Before, we had commercial/industrial zoning, which was a much broader term,” she said. “Now we have two (types) of commercial zones and two industrial. Properties along Interstate 70, Highway 47 and a few on Highway TT will now be zoned either Commercial 1 or Commercial 2. Those types of properties were in the business district already.”
Gluntz said the new zoning map will also include two types of residential zoning, high density for property in or near higher populations and low density for properties in more rural areas.
“The new residential zoning will make it easier for people to come into the city limits as a city grows,” she said.
The new order, which has been in the making for the past four years, was adopted after a series of public hearings to gather input from citizens were held throughout the county since last May. Presiding Commissioner Arden Engelage said the biggest concerns from citizens were if the rezoning would change what they could do with their properties or if rezoning would raise taxes. He said it would not do either.
Something entirely new to the zoning order is setback requirements, or regulations that dictate how far a new building will be situated from the road and from nearby property lines, Gluntz said. People applying for building permits will receive a copy of these requirements in their permit packets.
Northern District Commissioner Dan Hampson said the logic behind these requirements is to help quell property line disputes involving an existing structure.
“Many times when there’s land or border dispute and you have a structure along that property line it just complicates the situation,” he said. “Putting distance between property lines and structures will help make better neighbors.”
Gluntz said planning and zoning officials will begin this week working on the next five of the 16 articles of the zoning order.
The original zoning order was adopted in 1985 and hasn’t been updated since Aug. 1, 1994.