NORTHFIELD — Businesss along Route 8 will now get a chance to expand, under new zoning rules the village has been considering for much of the year.

Village Council approved establishing an overlay zoning district along the Route 8 corridor at its meeting Wednesday.

The approved legislation included revisions from the initial draft which focused on buffering between commercial and residential properties, plus a new maintenance section requiring the commercial property owners to keep buffer areas and landscaping in good condition.

The district will permit businesses on Route 8 in the B-2 business district to purchase and utilize up to 120 feet of residential-zoned land to the rear of their properties for enhancements such as parking, landscaping and buffer zones.

The B-2 business district runs from Vincent south on the west side of Route 8 and from Summit south to Magnolia on the east side. It does not include Summit Plaza.

Village officials say the proposed legislation is intended to facilitate new economic development and aesthetic improvements to commercial properties in the corridor, thus increasing property values, enhancing tenant units and attracting quality property owners and tenants.

In addition, the ability to expand the depth of the properties would provide additional parking, increase green space and permit aesthetic and landscaping improvements in both the front and rear of the buildings.

All parcels in the 120-foot zone must be contiguous to a commercial property without any residence in between, and the planning commission will have flexibility when approving an overlay district site plan.

"Considerable thought has gone into protecting adjacent residential properties," said Rita McMahon of Aislinn Consulting. "There are strict buffering and lighting guidelines spelled out regarding how many and what types of trees to plant and what kind of fences to install." 

OTHER MATTERS

Council also introduced legislation June 27 which would amend a chapter of the business regulations code relating to open-air food markets.

The amendments would increase the annual permit fee from $50 to $150 and the clean-up bond from $500 to $2,500, plus authorize the building-zoning inspector to issue a permit rather than the mayor. 

An applicant would have to provide proof of casualty and premises liability insurance with limits in the amount of at least $250,000 per occurrence and $500,000 aggregate.

The legislation further states an open-air food market license must be displayed on the premises at all times the market is open, and any permit holder who does not comply with the regulations could be fined not more than $1,000 for each offense rather than the current $100.

Any revocation order issued by the building-zoning inspector could be appealed to the planning commission within 20 days of the order’s issuance. The panel must hear the appeal within 20 days of the filing and recommend to Council what action to take.

Council then must decide whether to accept, reject or modify the planning commission’s recommendation within 20 days from the date it was made.

In other business, Service Superintendent Jason Walters reported the village collected 155 tons of waste during a May cleanup. The village is cutting grass on 21 properties, has 23 property violations pending and has completed 51 point of sale inspections, with 33 of the homes sold.

Council will conduct a work session July 11 at 6:30 p.m. before its next meeting to further discuss the grass and weed cutting ordinance relating to residential and business properties, along with possible revised penalties.

Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400 Ext. 4189 or klahmers@recordpub.com