Millville adopts significant updated zoning ordinances

How long does it take to approve a 30-page draft zoning ordinance? About 25 minutes (plus or minus a year).

The Millville Town Council unanimously approved a zoning overhaul during one of their shortest meetings of the year, on Aug. 11. A committee of council members, Town staff and others spent months writing a draft, which the Planning & Zoning Commission had reviewed for several more months.

“The Town of Millville adopted the most recent version of its zoning code probably about 10 years ago,” said town engineer Kyle Gulbronson of URS. “[The review was] based on the development trends in town … and stuff the council has found problematic.”

From lot sizes to setbacks, Gulbronson emphasized the council’s desire to make as many properties as possible compliant. The new numbers will make more lots conforming to the code. He recommended future reviews every five to 10 years.

In all, changes were made to the following sections of Chapter 155:

• Article V — Application of District Regulations (§155-8 Applicability of Zoning Regulations;

• Article VI — District Regulations, §155-9 AR-Agriculture Residential District, §155-10 R-Residential District, §155-13 C1-Route 26 Corridor/Town Center Commercial District and §155-14 C2-Town Commercial District);

• Article VII — Supplementary District Regulations (§155-28 Off-Street Parking by adding C. Design standards for parking areas);

• Article X — Conditional Uses (§155-49 Conditional uses enumerated); and

• Article XIV — Terminology.

“One of the most significant changes of the ordinance is the shift from special-use exceptions to a broader array of conditional uses,” said Seth Thompson, town solicitor.

The C1 shopping district was renamed “Town Center Commercial District,” since it won’t just be limited to the Route 26 corridor anymore.

“I think it’s something that’s overdue. … I think it clears up a lot of issues,” said Councilman Bob Gordon, although he acknowledged he was trying to understand a few minor details about the commercial districts.

“Anything that is permitted C1 is permitted in C2. Then there are additional permitted uses that are permitted in C2,” Thompson explained.

The council confirmed that removing appliance repair shops from the ordinance was intentional.

In other news, planning has begun for the Great Pumpkin Festival, this year to be held on Route 17.

The Millville Farmers’ Market continues on Thursday mornings from 8 a.m. to noon until Sept. 10, at Millville Fire Hall.

The next town council workshop is Tuesday, Aug. 25, at 7 p.m.