Commission approves alley alteration

By Jack King

The city Planning and Zoning Commission approved a change Wednesday in the city’s subdivision regulations that will help clarify when alleys are required in a neighborhood development and when they are not.
City Attorney David Richards said the city ordinance previously stated that all lots require alleys unless a “special design plan” was filed. However, since no ordinance defines what a special design plan is, there has been debate and uncertainty.
The new ordinance states all lots require alleys unless the city accepts “an alternative design plan.”
Richards said the revision was occasioned by the Brooks subdivision, at the corner of Wilhite and Humphrey roads, which was approved by the City Commission on Dec. 18. The Brooks subdivision contains lots of ranchette size and does not have alleys. The debate over whether it was required to have them led some city commissioners to request that city staff clarify the ordinance, he said.
In approving the new ordinance, the commission rejected an alternate plan suggested by Mayor David Lansford that stated ranchettes should be exempted from the alley requirement.
Engineer and developer Chad Lydick applauded the decision, saying the commission should keep an open mind about the need for alleys.
“You’re going to see new concepts coming down the line that don’t require alleys,” he said.
Planning and Zoning Commissioner Bill Bollinger said the city should consider the need for alleys in all neighborhoods, because they give utility companies better access.
“On my street, the city had it (graded) perfectly, chip sealed, everything. Now it’s all torn up, looks like a county road. The utility company did it, because the utilities were under the street,” he said.