The Town Council met for a Study Session on January 9 to review the downtown portion of the draft Land Development Code (LDC).
Jamsheed Mehta, the Interim Town Manager, introduced the draft document to Council, focusing on Downtown and Mixed Use Zones and noting that the earliest vote on the document would be in March. If adopted, the code would help realize Council’s stated objectives for downtown, including creating local character and developing an identity for the town center. The Town’s adopted long range plans all call for this land use upgrade, to enable the vision of the community.
The downtown LDC serves a market segment that the Town is missing — a walkable main street. Places that have adopted similar laws that enable walkable neighborhoods have experienced significant economic development. With the first infrastructure phase of Marana Main Street and roundabout underway now, enabling land use is the next step.
Today’s portion of the LDC is part of an overall revision to the LDC, which will rezone everything in town except for the specific plans. Initial LDC meetings with landowners and the development community have been positive.
Frank Cassidy, the Town Attorney, got into more details on the workings of the proposed land development code for Downtown and Mixed Use Zones. The code is an optional overlay zone that creates an extra choice for any downtown landowner to opt in. Because of Prop 207, no change in property rights will be made without any property owner’s written consent.
Specifications for the two newly proposed zones, Downtown (DT) and Downtown Neighborhood (DN) are dimensional things – like heights and setbacks – and if the developers meet it, there is no argument. It’s giving the developer the express service that otherwise would take months.
This version of the code is an initial draft, so the Council study session was a time to give feedback and ask questions. Council recommended that the code proceed to Planning Commission, at the next regularly scheduled meeting on January 31, at 6:30 p.m.