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Plan to study truck routes, zoning shifts gets support

Common Council members said Tuesday that they support a plan to study zoning changes and to research new truck routes through the city.

Both subjects were discussed at the Council's workshop meeting. Alderman Richard Andres, who has worked on both issues, said he and other members of the Master Plan Steering Committee found the city's 1959-era zoning rules were out of step when they studied them a few years ago.

But last year's budget was too limited to pay for a study of how best to make updates.

Instead, Mike Zimmerman, a coordinator at the Lumber City Development Corp., has prepared a $150,000 grant proposal to cover most of the costs. He will submit the proposal next month to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"It gums up the whole process when your zoning isn't working right," said Andres, citing industrial zoning rules for some downtown areas where the master plan recommends more housing and mixed uses.

In another example, the lengthening of Meadow Drive to Erie Avenue would have allowed industrial uses near residential neighborhoods. To prevent that, the Council unanimously approved a zoning change last week.

"We don't want to have to keep doing that," Andres said of "spot zoning."

In other business, the Council agreed to ask the Traffic Safety Committee to study truck routes to prepare for possible changes to the current designations.

"They're going to get all the facts and, hopefully, recommend some changes to clear up the law and beef up the signage," Andres said.

The study is in response to residents' complaints that trucks are driving down parts of Wheatfield and Robinson streets that should be off limits. "They rattle the houses," Andres said of the trucks. "They leave kind of a dirty smoky film on everybody's house."