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Richwood dialog highlights oddity in Morgantown zoning code

MORGANTOWN — Dialogue surrounding the Richwood redevelopment mission has put the highlight on what may generously be described as an oddity in Morgantown’s zoning code. 

The town has 4 zoning codes that carry the “Enterprise” designation: B-1 (neighborhood enterprise); B-2 (service enterprise); B-4 (basic enterprise); B-5 (procuring heart). 

In case you needed to guess which of these zoning classifications allowed the biggest number of housing sorts, you’d probably choose the one with “neighborhood” within the identify. The identical one which metropolis code defines as an space supposed to “meet the day by day procuring and repair wants of the residents of a right away neighborhood … designed to be suitable with the encircling neighborhood.”  

You’d be fallacious. 

In truth, town’s neighborhood enterprise districts are extra restrictive relating to housing than each its B-2 (assume Earl L. Core Street by way of Sabraton) or B-4 (downtown) districts, each of which permit multi-family dwellings and townhomes outright or by way of conditional use, that means with approval of town’s zoning board.  

The one housing kind permitted in a neighborhood enterprise district is combined use, which usually means enterprise at road stage and residential above. 

However which may be about to vary. 

“The concept that a duplex or multi-family unit is prohibited in a neighborhood enterprise district is loopy,” Morgantown Metropolis Councilor Danielle Trumble stated, explaining the Woodburn Affiliation of Neighbors intends to place ahead a zoning textual content modification that will enable a B-1 district to tackle “extra of a neighborhood really feel.” 

This problem happened because the Monongalia County Growth Authority involves Morgantown Metropolis Council requesting the 10-acre Richwood redevelopment space be rezoned from R-1 (single household) and R-2 (single and two-family residential) to B-1. 

The town’s planning paperwork have lengthy recognized the Richwood space subsequent to town’s downtown as a chief location for mixed-use improvement, personal funding and extra industrial use. 

However with the zoning change request have come issues, each in the course of the planning fee’s evaluation and now from members of council, that due to the restrictive nature through which B-1 is presently outlined, residential choices will likely be an afterthought. 

Trumble conceded that whereas she want to see extra housing sorts permitted within the B-1 zone, permitting them doesn’t assure the developer will in the end select to incorporate them. 

Buildings in a B-1 district have to be between two and 4 tales above road stage however can’t be greater than 40 toes in peak.

The outdated houses that presently fill that space previously represented some 300 beds of scholar housing. 

Jay Rogers, of Omni Associates, beforehand defined the imaginative and prescient of grasp developer Biafora Holdings isn’t scholar housing, fuel stations and fast-food drive-thrus, however an space adjoining to town’s downtown centered on livability, walkability and neighborhood-oriented companies, like espresso retailers, eating places or taverns. 

Erik Carlson, representing MCDA, has stated having individuals stay within the newly developed space isn’t solely desired, however essential to make it a hit. 

“We’d be very a lot in favor of a textual content modification and/or the overlay to permit extra housing choices into this space and/or into the B-1,” he stated. 

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