New Market discusses downtown moratorium

By Patrick Fisher

The New Market City Council continues to deal with the changes of a growing community as it discussed the possibility of a development moratorium for its downtown at its Wednesday, Nov. 10, meeting.

Brad Smith of the New Market Planning Commission presented the moratorium, adding that the commission is discussing zoning the downtown area as a B1 district and working on a proposal for historical downtown preservation.

New Market City Administrator Thomas Terry said it was assumed that New Market’s downtown area will have some redevelopment and that property in that area will be changing hands in the future. The moratorium will help the city prepare long-term designs for the downtown. The planning commission is concerned that without appropriate designs for the area there could be land uses and designs that are inconsistent with the community vision of the downtown.

Councilmember Tom Michaud asked why it was to be zoned a B1 and not a B2 district. Mayor Jim Friedges said there already was a B2 district in the community.

Michaud asked if the moratorium would require a public hearing. New Market City Attorney Andrea Poehler said since the moratorium was considered an internal affair a public hearing wouldn’t be required.

Terry said that if the city enacts the moratorium the council would have to decide if it should take effect immediately or at a later date. If a later date was set it would give anyone who has projects for the area sufficient time to get the project done or presented to the city.

Michaud asked how the moratorium would affect the plans for a small strip mall being built in the downtown area by Tracy and Troy Friedges, next to O’Shea’s Market on Main Street.

Terry said while no plans had been presented to the city staff, they had been told that the foundation for the building would be put in before winter.

Poehler said if the council does enact a moratorium it should exclude the building currently being built.

Mayor Friedges and Councilmember Curt Sticha both agreed that a moratorium was needed. Sticha said he wanted to get opinions from people in the community and find out if there were other plans for buildings in the downtown area.

Terry said the city should also begin making plans for a study of the downtown area. While neither the study nor the moratorium needed approval that night, the council should begin the process for them.

The consensus of the council was to have the moratorium ready for approval at its November 24 meeting, and to begin the process for the study and to have the owners of the strip mall provide plans to the city.

Planning Commission

The council unanimously approved an amendment that would make changes to the city's planning commission.

Among the changes is that commission members must be residents of the city. Currently two members of the commission live outside the city limits. In addition, length of terms will be increased from two to three years.

Terry said the amendment would go into effect on January 1, 2005, which should give them enough time to appoint new members for the two positions currently held by non-residents.

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