PHOTO: Spring Hill citizens talk to city staff about the Unified Development Code during an open house. / Photo by Matt Blois
By MATT BLOIS
Friday was the last day for residents to submit comments about a proposed set of rules that would govern Spring Hill’s development.
The Unified Development Code would create a new zoning map, set standards for how buildings should look and guide the city’s growth.
The city released a draft of the rules in January and it has been encouraging residents and business owners to weigh in.
To solicit those comments the city hosted several open houses at City Hall to present the proposed rules. It then held two special sessions with the Planning Commission to go through the document in detail.
Towards the beginning of the process, the open houses brought in a sparse crowd. However, the Planning Commission’s special sessions elicited discussion about many parts of the code.
In addition to speaking up in the meetings, members of the public also had the chance to submit comments online and talk to city staff.
Planning Director Steve Foote said that the city received comments from three different entities since the Planning Commission’s meetings on Feb. 28 and March 1.
“I was a little surprised that we didn’t get more comments or emails,” he said. “We solicited input and what came in is what we received.”
One of the commenters was John Maher of John Maher Builders, which has built several homes in Spring Hill. Maher also spoke several times during the public meetings to clarify certain parts of the code.
The Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce board also sent a letter to the city suggesting some changes to signage rules.
Foote said there didn’t seem to be a strong consensus around any one issue. Most of the comments came from business owners that wanted to make sure the city considered how specific rules in the code would affect their bottom line.
Now, the city will compile all of those comments for the planning commission to review. The city plans to respond to each comment to explain whether it was incorporated into the Unified Development Code. If it wasn’t incorporated, commenters will be able have an explanation as to why.