Zoning request denied
By Tara DeRock Mahoney
Senior Staff Writer
Madison City Council members voted unanimously Monday night to deny a request for a text amendment to zoning ordinances which would have allowed indoor playgrounds in I-1 zones as a conditional use.
“C-3 [zoning classification] is the best place for this use,” agreed City Planning Director Monica Callahan.
“Rather than further muddying the zone with this use, let’s clean it up,” said Council member Michael Naples, who also proffered a motion to have city planning staff review permitted used in I-1 zones and remove those that are not compatible with the stated purpose of that zone.
Council members noted that if the text amendment had been approved, and a subsequent conditional use request permitted, the proposed play center would have been the only indoor recreational area in I-1. Other indoor recreational uses, such as movie theaters and bowling alleys, for example, are all relegated to C-3 zones, in more commercial areas of town.
In other business, council members declined to make any changes to the city’s ordinances governing the presence of farm animals within the city limits. Currently, the ordinance states that residents must have at least four acres of land to hold livestock within the city limits, and then adhere to further restrictions related to the type and number of animals per acre of land. The four-acre minimum will stand, despite requests last fall from some local families with children participating in 4-H programs to be allowed to keep sheep, for example, on small residential lots.
“My objections to [any changes] still stand,” said council member Connie Booth, who had indicated last fall that she was not in favor of farm animals on small city lots. “Neighbors will have complaints [if the ordinance is altered], and they will have no redress.”
Booth also noted that no other cities in counties adjoining Morgan permit livestock within city limits.
City staff members were hoping to see work begin on curb, gutter, and parking around the new city park in downtown Madison beginning in the coming days, but that bid process has gone back to the drawing board after all the bids submitted last week were rejected by the city. The low bid, said city manager David Nunn, was not acceptable because it did not include bond insurance; the next-higher bid was so much higher than the low bid that the city did not accept any of the bids, and will re-advertise for the project within the next three weeks. Meanwhile, the city is looking forward to putting together bid documents for the renovation of the small cottage on the property, as well as the pavilion on the property, in fairly short order.
Finally, city council members agreed to follow state Environmental Protection Division recommendations regulating water restrictions in the city in the coming months. Some water restrictions for the summer—including those banning the filling of swimming pools—have been lifted. Some landscape watering is also now permitted; see state EPD Web sites for details.
“We were at no time in dire straits as to water, but we preach and we practice water conservation practices,” said Nunn.