The Mount Vernon City Council approved an ordinance for the Business 30 Overlay District.

The ordinance states that anyone wanting to build in the Business 30 Overlay District needs to put in an application for approval, including any new property, improvements to a building, or redevelopment of an existing property. The sites need to have an application form, site plan, building elevations and any additional information.

Any buildings built in the Business 30 Overlay district will need to have the property zoned or rezoned for the use, which would require being presented to the planning and zoning commission and the Mount Vernon City Council.

Mount Vernon city administrator Chris Nosbisch said that he wanted to keep a lot of the design elements for buildings to be developed handled via the zoning overlay, not spelled out in an ordinance.

“I think it would be a mistake to put the design guidance into an actual ordinance, because you’re going to lose some of that flexibility on building materials and design aesthetics the overlay allows,” Nosbisch said.

Nosbisch noted that adhering to strict visual aesthetics will give all buildings in a development the same look, which is what community members said they hoped to avoid with any new development.

When Mount Vernon city council member Scott Rose asked if there were advantages to keeping the overlay to going to an ordinance, Nosbisch noted changes to the overlay district can easily be done in one council meeting. Changes to ordinances can take up to three meetings.

Nosbisch noted that because any new businesses or industrial developments might be the first in these areas, they would still need to come before Planning and Zoning and the Mount Vernon City Council for prior approval. The only instances that would not need prior approval would be residential properties developed in the zone.

Because of the multiple layers in the overlay process currently, Rose moved to approve the ordinance.

Mount Vernon city council member Tom Wieseler seconded, noting he appreciated the work of staff and consultants to develop what is best for the city of Mount Vernon.

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