The Lebanon City Council approved a pair of zoning overlays that will cover a large portion of the city.
The group approved the South Hartmann Gateway Overlay, marking the latest step in bringing city leaders’ and citizens’ vision for the heavily-traveled corridor to fruition.
Lebanon Councilor Chris Crowell noted the five-year journey to the council’s approval included several public meetings and sessions to garner citizen ideas about the desired components of the area.
The overlay covers about 3,000 acres of land on or near South Hartmann Drive, including several large undeveloped tracts of land that are accessible from South Hartmann Drive. The plan outlines zoning aspects for housing, commercial, retail and quality of life.
“It’s not a perfect plan, as been pointed out by (Lebanon resident Derek Dodson) and others,” Crowell said. “This is something I think that we can be proud of. We’ll need to tweak it over time. We’ve had a lot of people speak in favor of this, and so I’m proud of it.”
“We had the South Hartmann Gateway plan that we’ve completed. This is the zoning that follows that plan,” Lebanon Planning Director Paul Corder said. “It’s always a good idea to have a plan in place and put the zoning in afterwards to reflect what the plan is saying.”
Corder said the underlying zoning would remain.
“I’m here tonight to tell you I think we’ve got a good plan, and I’m in support of this plan,” South Hartmann property owner Ensley Hagan said. “It’s by no means perfect, but we’re all human beings and we can’t create perfect things. I think this plan addresses the issues that the city council wants and residents of this town want to see happen. We’ve all said we don’t want to see another (Highway 231) or another (State Route 109) as an entrance to this city, and I think that this does it.”
The council also approved the Residential Infill Overlay, which is designed to promote walkable living; inspire incremental development; and encourage a mix of housing.
Housing types that fit into the overlay include granny flats, cottage courts, duplexes, townhouse, townhouse courts and small and medium-sized flats.
“As opposed to the South Hartmann overlay, this one is voluntary. It is not a requirement that you build this way. This is a voluntary overlay, so if you want to get some of the benefits that this overlay allows, you build this way,” Corder said.
Corder said one benefit is that developers would not be mandated to have plans approved by the planning commission, but rather get approval from the Lebanon Planning Department, similar to the South Hartmann overlay.
Corder said the overlay includes certain lot sizes and requirements that would control the density in the applicable areas.
“The idea here is that we’re going to create some residential types that would be allowed and encouraged in the downtown area — roughly, but not exactly the 1950s city limits boundary,” Corder said.
Corder said in the city’s current zoning codes, residential is not allowed in commercial general zones, however, the overlay would include a provision to allow some residential within the commercial general zone.