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CITY PLAN COVERS ZONING, PARKING, DEVELOPMENT

Zoning, parking, economic development, and land use will be among the issues to be discussed at a public meeting on a proposed new comprehensive plan for the city, scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall, 1 Locks Plaza.

The session is the third on the topic since work began two years ago. Another presentation will be made at 8 a.m. Thursday at an Eastern Niagara Chamber of Commerce meeting in the Best Western Lockport Inn, 515 South Transit St.

The document was drawn up by a Rochester consulting firm, Nutter Associates, along with a 16-member committee of citizens and current and former city officials.

Ellen Nutter of the Rochester firm said Lockport's plan hasn't been updated since 1970. She said the new one should be good for about 10 years.

The new plan would be adopted by the Common Council as a resolution. It would not have the force of law, but Ms. Nutter said: "By (state) law, zoning is supposed to reflect a comprehensive plan."

The plan envisions further commercial development along the Erie Canal on State Road, which parallels the canal and is mainly vacant land, and the south side of Summit Street, which is primarily agricultural.

The plan calls for extending a "mixed use" district along the west side of South Transit Street. It now ends at High Street, but would be extended south to Willow Street.

The planners think high-density residential development is possible in what are now vacant areas of the eastern part of the city.

The planners took a look at changes in some of the city's other neighborhoods. Ms. Nutter said they are concerned about the trend toward turning old single- family homes south of downtown into multiple dwellings.

Some of those streets have become blighted, with absentee landlords, transient tenants, and crime among their troubles.

"That should be stopped," Ms. Nutter advised. "The city should not allow any more conversions."

David Nutter, her husband, said an update of the zoning ordinance should be carried out by a broad-based commission, similar to the master plan committee.

"Zoning really affects the lives of every single property owner in the city," he said.

Nutter also called for "streamlining" the operations of the building inspection and community development departments.

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