Dover council set to vote on townhouse, duplex zoning plan

DOVER — City council will vote on a rezoning amendment that would allow conditional use townhouses and duplexes in Downtown Dover during tonight’s meeting.

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.

Additionally, the proposed ordinance would implement infill standards for development of vacant lots within developed areas.

“It makes some changes to the type of uses in the downtown area,” said Dawn Melson Williams, principal planner for the city. “This gives people more flexibility with the housing styles.”

Following a public hearing before the Planning Commission on Sept. 21 where no members of the public spoke with regard to the proposed ordinance, members voted unanimously to recommend approval of the proposed ordinance as amended.

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

City Planner Ann Marie Townshend said there’s a lot of interest in redeveloping downtown during the city’s planning commission meeting on Sept. 21.

“The Restoring Central Dover Plan specifically states flexibility in housing styles as something that we should amend the Zoning Ordinance to incorporate, so this is the step to doing that,” Ms. Townshend said during the meeting.

“The city did a pretty comprehensive review of the commercial zones, and they do believe that they need to do a similar review of the residential zones.

“But they didn’t want to hold up this change until that’s done, because no matter how quickly they would like to work on things, sometimes it takes much longer than they would like,” Ms. Townshend added. “They didn’t want to halt some of the development interest that they have been seeing.”

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

“Homeownership is a high priority in the Downtown area,” Ms. Townshend said. “Allowing a variety of housing styles provides for a variety of homeownership opportunities, a variety of affordability levels, which furthers The Restoring Central Dover Plan.”

The amendment would also allow off-street parking as a conditional use and not a permitted use, said Ms. Melson Williams.

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.

But Ms. Townshend thinks that if a residential lot is going to be used specifically for off-street parking, then it should be a conditional use and not just a permitted use.

She said if there is a parking lot as a principal use on a property, the planning commission has the proper tools to impose conditions on it.

The City Council meeting will be held at 7:30 at City Hall, 15 Loockerman Plaza.

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