Loosening restrictions on commercial signs and tree replacement could help Hilliard, according to a firm hired to update and streamline the city's zoning codes and engineering standards.
Aaron Domini, a senior planner with OHM Advisors, outlined updates to four sections of the zoning codes April 28 to all the committees of Hilliard City Council.
The updates would be to landscape and trees, parking, signage and definitions. Domini told committee members most sections were left intact.
"But there was a lot of work to do" in condensing material and making the code more "user-friendly," he said.
For instance, in the landscape and trees standards, references to similar subject matter are found in five different places.
Domini suggested the city consider loosening its one-to-one policy for the replacement of trees based on caliper inches because the standard is nearly impossible to achieve.
Likewise, Domini suggested the city allow a business to have one ground sign and one wall sign, instead of limiting a business to either one or the other.
"I can see where you want to control your image, but it is a little unusual to limit businesses to only one kind of sign," Domini said.
Concerning parking, he suggested allowing shared parking when circumstances warrant it.
"Shared parking allows for some flexibility," Domini said.
Instead of always requiring two businesses to meet minimum parking requirements, the city could explore the possibility of shared parking if the adjoining businesses have peak customer activity at different times of the day or evening, Domini said.
He described the documents presented to committee members as a "working draft."
"Our goal is to create zoning codes and engineering standards consistent with your comprehensive plan," he said.
Domini is scheduled to discuss zoning districts with the committees May 12.
"We hope to have a final document for you to consider in July and to adopt a final updated plan by September," Domini said.