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Morrow passes zoning revisions

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

The Morrow City Council made several revisions to the city's zoning ordinance, on Tuesday, that will impact residents, as well as businesses.

While some restrictions on homes and businesses have been eased, tighter restrictions have been placed on kiosks operating inside larger businesses and department stores.

Sylvia Redic, grants and zoning administrator for the city, said the revisions simply "cleaned up" previous definitions within the ordinance.

"We already have regulations about it," she said. "From time to time, we may look at the code and see that some language needs to be updated."

The revisions in the ordinance are wide in scope, but deal specifically with the use of residential and business property. Highlights of the new rules include the following:

* Boats, boat trailers, travel trailers, pick-up campers, coaches, tent trailers, and motorized dwellings can remain parked on driveways or side yards facing the street for up to 48 hours at a time. Previously, no such vehicles were allowed to be parked on areas facing the street at anytime.

* Stores in Morrow can now use retractable metal security screening and burglar bars while the business is closed, as long as they can be stored completely out of public view during the day. Previously, metal screening and burglar bars were not allowed to face any public street at any time.

* Internal security devices, such as bulletproof glass, are now permissible in businesses in the City of Morrow, provided that the glass is clear and well-maintained. Scratched, hazy or discolored bulletproof glass will not be permitted.

* Kiosks, or any other portable business structures, are permitted indoors and limited to retail establishments with publicly accessed areas of 25,000 square feet or more under common ownership or lease. Only one kiosk per 25,000 square feet is permitted and no more than three kiosks are permitted within a single property. All kiosks located within a single retail business must be of identical design, and spaced at least eight feet apart.

* No alcoholic beverages, or tobacco products, shall be sold from a kiosk.

According to Redic, kiosks within Southlake Mall are specifically excluded from the new rules regarding kiosks. Until now, businesses operating from kiosks within the city have been difficult to regulate, she said.

"What we have had happen is that some of the bigger businesses will close off a single lane and turn it into a separate business," Redic said. "If I contact a department store and set up shop there and they say OK, I've totally circumvented the business-permitting process. Also, I haven't had any evaluation to see if I am standing there in an area that isn't safe.

"Anything can be done, as long as it is done well," she continued. "We want to make sure that no one is stringing cords across hallways ... making sure that people aren't selling things that are regulated, such as food or alcohol. We also want to make sure it matches and looks nice."

The city council unanimously struck down a section of the revised ordinance which would have allowed for group homes to be operated within the city limits. Redic said that state law requires that cities allow the operation of group homes, and that the matter would be re-visited in about 30 days.