The Harrisburg City Council is scheduled to vote on a proposed zoning code ordinance tonight that should include a few amendments.
Councilwoman Shamaine Daniels, chairwoman of the building and housing committee, said her planned amendments will be to expand uses in the various districts under the amended code, following concerns raised at public meetings held across the city.
The goal is to simplify the code with nine districts but also to ensure those categories have the possibility of other uses under a special exception process, rather than a more expensive variance fight, Daniels said.
“Having a lot of uses for a property that is large may be the better thing anyway,” she said, referring to the former U.S. post office property on Market Street, which has been filling up with industrial tenants and is destined for a “downtown center” zone.
The owner of that property, Adam Meinstein, has expressed concerns recently regarding the zone and how that could limit his existing uses in the future. He also operates a parking business at the site.
Daniels said she expects the warehousing and parking to be “grandfathered in.”
“People will be able to use their property the same way they use it today,” she said, adding that she does not expect the new zoning to negatively impact that site.
Hoping to address a separate public concern, Daniels said she plans to add restaurants to the industrial category to create more flexibility.
She also said she expects this ordinance to be a living document that can be easily updated as the city works through other changes, including a comprehensive plan revision.
“If we’re seeing a lot of requests in a certain area for special exceptions, maybe we will need to rezone,” she said. “Right now, we have cumbersome zoning codes. I think at the end of the day this code is a lot easier to use.”
The council meets at 6 p.m. Here is the agenda.