City council adopts zoning changes for downtown Dover

 

From right, Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen presents the Mayor's Arts Award to the Delaware State News, accepting the award were managing editor Andrew West, features editor Craig Horleman, reporter Ashton Brown, photo editor Dave Chambers, publisher Tom Byrd and vice president/sales Tonda Parks during a city council meeting Monday evening in City Hall.  (Delaware State News/K.I. White)

From right, Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen presents the Mayor’s Arts Award to the Delaware State News, accepting the award were managing editor Andrew West, features editor Craig Horleman, reporter Ashton Brown, photo editor Dave Chambers, publisher Tom Byrd and vice president/sales Tonda Parks during a city council meeting Monday evening in City Hall. (Delaware State News/K.I. White)

DOVER — City council voted 9-0 Monday to approve a rezoning amendment that would allow conditional use townhouses and duplexes in downtown Dover.

The amendment would allow townhouse and duplex housing styles within the RG-1 zone as a conditional use, which was approved by the city’s planning commission on Sept. 21.

It also would revise the bulk standards for the RG-1 zone to be more consistent with downtown development patterns.

City Planner Anne Marie Townshend said the proposed ordinance would implement infill standards for development of vacant lots within developed areas.

“It also removes the language of apartments allowed in the RG1 Zone,” Ms. Townshend said.

“Multiple dwellings will be limited to placement within the in the RG-2 district only, which is the district most of the apartment complexes are in.

The proposed amendment is associated with implementation of the Downtown Development District and the Restoring Central Dover plan.

Ms. Townshend said the rezoning will encourage homeownership in the downtown area.

The amendment would also allow off-street parking as a conditional use and not a permitted use.

The areas along Division Street that are zoned C-1 (Neighborhood Commercial Zone) or C-1A (Limited Commercial Zone) or C-2A (Limited Central Commercial Zone) are where it might be appropriate to allow parking on a residential lot behind it.

“This change means that you couldn’t get off street parking without going to planning commission process,” Ms. Townshend said.

Council also voted 9-0 to endorse a letter to the Delaware Department of Transportation to study the Queen and Water Street and State and Water Street intersections.

City Manager Scott Koenig informed members that there had been inquiries from the public related to the intersection of State and Water Streets, noting both of these streets are State of Delaware maintained rights of way.

Although the city owned the traffic signal at this location years ago, through some work with the DelDot and the bond bill, the city was able to upgrade the signals and turn them over to the State of Delaware.

Mr. Koenig advised members that there are dedicated green arrows that allow eastbound and westbound travelers to turn north or south from Water Street onto State Street, and a straight through green bulb going east and west.

Going north and south, there are no dedicated green arrows at the intersection.

He indicated that there is a turn lane going southbound on State Street that allows for approximately three cars in the turn bay and there are conflicts with the traffic backing up at the intersection going north and south.

When the light turns green, since there is no green arrow, drivers have to wait for oncoming traffic or take a chance by going quickly first or going in between vehicles. Mr. Koenig explained that requests had been received in the past to install a green arrow to allow eastbound or westbound turns onto Water Street from State Street, however, at that time there was not enough traffic volume or turning counts to warrant the green arrow.

Since traffic volume has increased, which is the reason for the inquiry to study the area again to see if green arrows are needed.

In other business, the Delaware State News was presented with the 2015 Mayor’s Art Award during last night’s meeting a well.

The award is given to any individual or organization whose endeavors in the arts benefit the people of Greater Dover, including individual artists and performers, teachers, instructors, mentors, schools and educational organizations, non-profits, businesses, corporations, volunteers, supporters or advocates.

Angel Caldwell, Chalay Marie Horne and Claire Kolakowski was also presented with the 2015 Mayor’s Youth Arts Award, which target high school juniors, who have contributed to the Greater Dover arts scene.

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