Commission recommends changes to downtown, sign rules

Changes to the zoning rules for downtown Fort Dodge are being considered by city officials.

Also under consideration is a change to the sign rules in the shopping center commercial zone.

Carissa Harvey, the senior city planner, said Tuesday that the changes should make the zoning rules more predictable for the city staff, building owners and developers.

She said the biggest changes for the downtown regulations concern building materials and parking lots.

Harvey said the proposed new rule “just encourages high-class materials that fit in with the character of the downtown.”

The proposal would ban artificial brick and stone plus metal, vinyl and wood siding. It calls for using brick, limestone, non-reflective glass, marble, granite, cement board or trim, decorative wood and metal, poured concrete, sandstone and stucco.

The other major change in the downtown proposal affects parking lots. Harvey said currently parking lots cannot be on the side of a building unless certain conditions are met. The revised proposal would allow parking lots on the side of buildings with fewer conditions.

The proposed change to the sign rules would allow businesses in the area zoned for shopping center commercial use to have up to 1,000 square feet of signs. Currently, those businesses are limited to 400 square feet of signs.

The shopping center commercial zone includes Crossroads Mall and Walmart, 3036 First Ave. S.

On two separate votes the city Plan and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the downtown and sign rule changes.

Commission member Jamie Lara was absent from the otherwise unanimous votes.

The City Council is expected to consider the first reading of both measures during its April 10 meeting.