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Parking, buffers among comp plan tweaks


The Ellis County Joint Planning Commission on Wednesday considered recommendations that would match county regulations to its comprehensive plan.

The comprehensive plan was adopted by the county this fall.

Of the 11 recommendations made by consultants concerning unincorporated areas of the county, members agreed to make three changes and wanted more information on two other proposals Once the commission receives that information at next month's meeting, its response to all 11 recommendations will be forwarded to the Ellis County Commission. Changes are subject to a public hearing.

There was considerable discussion on the first question. The planning commission was not in favor of a new buffer zone to act as a transition between development areas and more intense agricultural uses.

"If you don't want to create the buffers, you could just rename the (agricultural zone) to ag and energy," said Ellis County Administrator Greg Sund.

The consensus among the members of the joint planning commission was to change the current agricultural district to an agricultural and energy district.

Among miscellaneous zoning issue changes proposed by the consultants, the commission agreed to delete the definition of the Suburban Residential District to avoid confusion. That district definition required minimum 2-acre lots, which was at odds with the definition.

Commissioners also reached a consensus regarding retail parking requirements. The commission would change the requirement from one space per 150 square feet to one space per 200 square feet for retail spaces.

The commission asked Sund to provide recommendations on another proposed change. The consultants recommended to increase the buffer area on 40-acre lots, but did not offer recommendations on how much of a buffer to create. Sund will offer recommendations at the February meeting.

The commission tabled action on recommendations concerning mixed-use districts until receiving more information.

The commission could not reach a consensus on a change regarding development districts. The consultants said the three current zoning districts are appropriate, and no change is needed in zoning regulations. The consultants said the county needed to begin to apply those districts in accordance with the comprehensive plan. The change would have required all rezoning applications to residential districts be in conformance with the Future Land Use Map and applicable text of the comprehensive plan. Commissioners were deadlocked 3-3 on the issue.

Consultants also made a pair of recommendations for zoning in Schoenchen. The commission decided no changes were needed.

Chairman Kendall Krug also asked for a summary of conditional-use permits used in the past in areas north of Hays and Victoria.

The commission's next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 27 at the Schenk Building at the Ellis County Fairgrounds.