The beauty of Bay
Bay Village Planning Commission meetings usually focus on the technical work of applying existing ordinances to specific projects. February's meeting began with just such a discussion of the Bay Diner's relocation to East Oviatt Road, and it moved on to approval of the Normandy and Westerly school projects.
Then something rare happened: the Planning Commission talked about rewriting rules. Attached residences (defined in Chapter 1158 of the city's codified ordinances) have been in the news since Andrew Brickman proposed building townhouses at Cahoon and Wolf. That development was tabled when the rezoning issue failed last November. With no specific project at hand, now is an ideal time to rework Chapter 1158. Much debated but never amended, it stands as written in 1974.
The discussion focused on the beauty of Bay. General questions came first. Do we still want to be a city of single-family houses on quiet streets lined by mature trees? Do we want to encourage seniors to stay in Bay? These were goals of the last Master Plan, formulated 15 years ago. Is that still what we want? Are there new needs? Should we repeat a resident survey? Should we look to Westlake and Rocky River and do as our neighbors do?
The rest of the meeting was spent working on the specifics of a new ordinance. Instead of "attached residence" the Planning Commission's skeleton document now defines townhouse: "A single-family dwelling unit constructed in a group of three or more attached units in which each unit extends from foundation to roof and with a yard or public way on at least two sides." The maximum height – no greater than 15 percent of adjoining parcels' buildings – now excludes church steeples and other "unusual design features" from the calculation. The maximum building length has been reduced to 160-180 feet, and provisions have been added to break up that expanse visually in order to present a pleasing appearance. Clubhouses and pools are now permitted in townhouse developments throughout the city.
The working document is very fluid right now, and the changes noted above could change. Planning Commission members care deeply about what makes Bay beautiful, and they are listening carefully to audience comments. The March 5 meeting, 7:30 p.m. in City Hall, will continue this important discussion.
And the beauty of Bay is that you are encouraged to be part of the conversation!