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Residents speak out on zoning

Several Thorsby residents voiced concerns Tuesday night on how a proposed zoning ordinance could affect them. The public hearing was held within a meeting of the Thorsby Planning Commission. It was the second public hearing held on the issue.

“I’m not happy that you’re dictating to me what size home I can build,” said resident Marilyn Collins.

She was referring to minimum square footage requirements for homes, which increase or decrease as the acreage of a given lot increases or decreases.

Planning Commission chairman Glenn Littleton said one type of zoning, residential infield, limits home size by percentage of the lot rather than square footage. This type of zoning, however, is used only for existing lots from the original town plan that might not meet current standards. Otherwise, the restrictions are in place to keep the appearance of the town uniform and to protect property values.

“I think your buffers are a little steep,” said Dan Henry, a longtime business owner, referring to the measurements of barriers between different types of property. For example, a certain space of trees would separate a business from an adjacent residential lot.

Henry also felt that commercial parking regulations should be relaxed to allow parking in front of businesses. One restriction in the ordinance appears to prohibit this.

In response to the comments, Steve Ostaseski of the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham said a zoning ordinance can be adjusted.

“It’s never meant to be stagnant; it’s meant to be a living document,” he said.

The proposed ordinance may be viewed at Thorsby City Hall or online at townofthorsby.com.