Eight new zoning classifications have been proposed for the city of Covington's zoning ordinance.
These new zoning classifications, if adopted by the city council, would replace 12 other classifications which city planning officials believe are either outmoded or overly cumbersome.
The new zoning classifications were presented to the public at a Monday night meeting at The Center for Community Preservation and Planning.
The new classifications are the result of a study conducted by the city last fall which examined existing zoning conditions to find a way of implementing the recommendations of the U.S. Highway 278 Livable Corridor Initiatives Program.
The purpose of the LCI study - funded by a federal transportation grant - is to support local planning which links transportation and land use in activity centers in an effort to promote connectivity and walkable communities.
As one of Covington's busiest and most vital throughways, U.S. Highway 278 was selected to highlight the study. Covington has contracted with the city planning firm, Market and Main, to revise its zoning ordinances.
"There's something missing with Highway 278," said Aaron Fortner, a principal with Market and Main at Monday night's meeting.
Fortner has previously said that the existing zoning conditions on U.S. Highway 278 and the surrounding areas do not encourage connectivity and a community environment because there are no requirements for sidewalks, street trees, open public spaces, etc.
"Every street should have a sidewalk; every street should look great. Every street should have street trees," Fortner said.
Fortner said his firm is two weeks away from having a public draft of the zoning recommendations available. Once it is ready, the draft recommendations can be read on The Center's Web-site at www.thecenter-newton.org.
After the public has had time to give their input, Fortner said the zoning recommendations would be presented to the Covington Planning Commission in October.
Fortner emphasized that existing uses would be "grandfathered in" to the new zoning ordinances once the city formally adopts them. Developments which have already been permitted but have not yet had construction begin will also be grandfathered in.
Under the zoning draft recommendations, an entirely new zoning district would be created: NR-3, Neighborhood Residential 3. This new district would allow for the building of townhouses such as the ones in Walker's Bend and in Clark's Grove.
Fortner said this new district would ideally be applied to streets on the fringes of neighborhoods which are closer to the city's main corridors.
The Highway Commercial (HC) classification would be replaced by a new district called Corridor Mix (CM). Fortner said the new classification brings with it an incentive for more mixed-use development and for the re-development of existing commercial uses.
Another substantial change to the ordinances would be the lumping together of the multi-family residential district (R-4) with the Residential, Light Commercial district (R-LC) into a new district called CR for Corridor Residential.
This new classification could be used on such areas as Washington Street or the Bypass Road, Fortner said. The new district would allow for apartment buildings and commercial uses among other things.
"Something's got to happen with these corridors," Fortner said. "We don't like the way they look today.