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City's zoning ordinance under review

By Ed Brock

Jonesboro residents will soon have a chance to speak their minds about the city's zoning ordinance, particularly about the kind of residential development that they want to see in the city.

The city will hold a public hearing on June 2 at 6 p.m. in the municipal courtroom to discuss the ordinance, Jonesboro City Manager Jon Williams said.

"Basically we're just looking at residential zone requirements and coming up with some new options and also providing some clarification to the design quality we want to see," Williams said.

Currently the city has a moratorium on new development as the ordinance is being worked on but the city council will probably be participating in the Atlanta Regional Commission's Livable Centers Initiative in the near future.

"If we end up in an area that will be developed we want to be ready with our ordinances," Jonesboro Mayor Joy Day said.

During Monday night's council meeting Day and the council discussed the changes that have been made to the ordinance.

"I like the fact that there are some options for the developers," Day said. "You can have a denser development but the expectations would be higher."

Developers building multi-family residences like apartments or town homes could also make a contribution to a public fund for parks and recreation facilities rather than installing a pool or tennis court in their facility, Day said. They could also include more green space.

The city has to balance its desire for quality development with the needs of the developers, Day said. At the same time, Council member Ed Adair said, "Builders build and move on, but the residents of Jonesboro have to live here."

Adair said he doesn't want to see any development over two-stories in areas adjacent to residential zones and doesn't like high-density developments that put more houses on smaller plots.

"I don't like so many houses because Jonesboro has little property left to build on and I don't want to see an impact on surrounding homes," Adair said.

A little more control over the zoning will be necessary as the city works with the LCI project, Council member Yvette McDonald said.

"We're just really excited about what's going on with our downtown and we want it to be the best for all of our citizens," McDonald said.