A public hearing at the Civic Center Tuesday aims to clear up any confusion over El Campo’s new Unified Development Code while hearing concerns about its content.
City Council approved the UDC in April, a code which, for the most part, simply brings existing building requirements together in a single document.
“I’d say 95 percent of it is consolidation,” City Planner Jai McBride told the Leader-News Thursday. “But there may be a bit of confusion. This is a way to reach out to the public and, hopefully, provide a better understanding.”
Lot set back requirements, landscape requirements, zoning and the like are not changing, they are simply consolidated.
The only major changes the UDC presents are a corridor overlay program affecting all of Mechanic and Jackson streets as well as the West Loop along with outdoor storage regulations in industrial areas.
“It’s like 5 percent of the whole thing,” McBride said, adding, “It’s designed to clean up the area and benefit the community, but it could be revised. It should be reviewed every two years.”
With requirements on new construction or rebuilding, the corridor overlay is designed to create change over the course of decades. It does not require existing businesses to make changes so long as they continue to operate out of the same building.
“We are never going to knock on a business’ door and say you are not in compliance (with corridor overlay requirements). They can forever operate as is,” McBride said.
In city terms, they remain existing, non-conforming structures – metal buildings or businesses that sit too close to the road, for example.
New construction, however, would be required to have front facades of brick, glass or concrete board, for example.
“People have heard UDC and only hear corridor overlay. There has been quite a bit of confusion.”
The program, in the Duson Room at the El Campo Civic Center from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 11, is open to everyone. It will start with a presentation explaining the UDC before moving on to a question period and a chance for the public to provide input.
The information will then be compiled and the UDC’s new requirements re-presented to Council for consideration. There are no plans to change ordinances approved years or, in some cases decades, ago.
“We want to educate on existing code separate and what’s new. The goal is to make sure everybody understands,” McBride said.