The town of Carbondale is taking another round of public comments in the ongoing process of consolidating, clarifying and rewriting its land use and zoning code.
Clarion Associates, which was selected to draft the new Unified Development Code (UDC) last year, has completed an annotated outline, which is available at the Carbondale Town Hall or online at carbondaleudc.com. The town is also working to schedule a public meeting on the UDC toward the end of May.
The outline allows an opportunity for staff, officials and the public the opportunity to review the overall structure of the proposed revisions before the actual drafting begins. After the window for community input closes on June 6, Clarion will begin work on the code itself, which will go through another round of feedback before being approved. It is the first time the code has seen a thorough revision since 1993.
In addition to clarifying and simplifying building codes, the UDC rewrite is intended to integrate values spelled out in Carbondale’s 2013 comprehensive plan, including: compact community form, maintenance of air and water quality, promotion of alternative energy and reduction of waste, diversity and affordability of housing stock, multimodal transportation choice, greater economic self-sufficiency, and fiscal responsibility.
“The UDC will help Carbondale be proactive by allowing development to occur in a form and location that is consistent with the town’s values,” the outline explains.
“Outline” is somewhat of a misnomer for the document, which is a fairly detailed overview of the issues and recommendations. There are a fair number of number of minor tweaks and updates, but several changes could have long-term impacts. For instance, the section “Approach Sustainability in Practical Ways” includes recommendations for relaxed setbacks for renewable energy devices, allowing accessory dwelling units in additional zoning districts, and counting green roof installation toward landscape and open space requirements. Anyone planning a project dealing with construction, landscaping or parking in Carbondale would be well-served to take the time to at least skim it, giving special attention the green “recommendations” boxes.