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Clay Council passes revised zoning ordinance

By Crystal McGough

For The Tribune

The Clay City Council unanimously passed Zoning Ordinance 2018-01 to rescind and replace the former Ordinance 2006-07. The Planning and Zoning Committee voted unanimously at its December meeting to recommend the council adopt the new ordinance.

Ordinance 2018-01 is a revised version of the original, removing redundancies in the verbiage and consolidating the ordinance to make it easier to use.

According to Councilor Dennis Locke, in Ordinance 2006-07, references and definitions were spread out, causing it to be difficult to find certain references. Locke said that the new structure put all the requirements together, and all of the definitions together, so that the document is easier to follow.

“There was a lot of duplication, thumbing here and then going over there to reference this and sometimes it contradicted itself, depending on where you were looking,” he said. “So it was a major cleanup of the zoning ordinance.”

The sections addressing Highway Commercial and Legacy Commercial districts were removed, and former Legacy Commercial properties that do not fit in any other districts will now be listed as Current Use District (C-U).

“We don’t have a highway, and then Legacy Commercial wound up being a catch-all,” City Manager Ronnie Dixon said. “It just made a jumble of stuff. Current Use takes its place, basically. It’s a new name. Present Use is what it was called before.”

He gave the example of Clay Publix shopping center.

“Unless a tornado or something tears it down, that’s always going to be a grocery store shopping center, so we’re not going to zone it something like Town Center Commercial that doesn’t allow a large grocery store with a shopping center connected to it,” Dixon said. “So it would be Current Use, and it’ll stay that way.”

During the meeting, Mayor Webster also announced that the official groundbreaking for the new Clay Public Library, located beside Clay Elementary School, will be Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at 4 p.m.

“Let everybody be aware that we have sort of broken ground on the new library,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll have an official groundbreaking next Wednesday around 4 o’clock. If you want to come out and be a part of that, we’d love to have everybody out that we can get out there.”

Webster said that he and Dixon have met with the superintendent and will continue meeting every two weeks to keep up with the money that is being spent.

“As it looks right now, the numbers look good,” he said.  “We’re looking at saving money in every aspect that we can.”

Webster said that there is no set date for the library to be finished.

“We’ve talked to the contractor, we don’t have a set date,” he said. “When you start putting deadlines on things, people get nervous and start wondering if there’s going to be any fines issued. But we are going to keep a pretty close eye on it. So far, we’re ahead of schedule.”

Dixon added that he believes the project will be completed within the school year.

“The people who are doing the earthwork and digging the footings, and then the people who are pouring the slab, we have said we wanted that done in the month of January, and the framing to be done in the month of February,” he said.

“After we get out of that, we’ll be in the dry. If you’ll think about it, it’s nothing but a big house. The way that it is designed, it’s just a big, slab, wood-framed house. Unless there is something really unforeseen, either by the architect or the engineer that they missed, we should end during this school year with no problem.”

In other library-related news, with the council’s approval, the mayor appointed Polly McClure and Kenyonia Wright to fill two vacant positions on the Library Committee.

Councilor Dennis Locke announced the School Grant Award winners for December 2017 as: Clay Elementary School teacher Lisa Michelle Williams, who will purchase books for her classroom library; Clay-Chalkville Middle School English/Language Arts teacher Jordan Perrin-Tyler, who will purchase two Chromebooks and charging stations; and Clay-Chalkville High School English teacher Melanie Gaines, who will purchase contemporary fiction and non-fiction texts.

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