A proposed zoning change in a small section of south High Street in Dublin's historic district has received approval from Dublin's Architectural Review Board and is headed to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
The code and zoning map amendments each received a 3-1 vote, with ARB chair David Rinaldi, vice chair Shannon Stenberg and member Everett Musser voting in favor, and member Jeffrey Leonhard voting against.
The amendments would create a new zoning district, Bridge Street District Historic South, which would have specific guidelines for new development to preserve the character of the area.
The city developed the proposed zoning changes in response to concerns from the historic district residents about the intrusion of restaurants and bars in the neighborhood, as well as the scale, height and operational aspects of new commercial buildings, said Vince Papsidero, Dublin planning director.
The proposed area for the new district is bisected by South High Street and bordered on the east and west by Blacksmith Lane and Mill Lane, respectively. Spring Hill Lane borders the district to the north, and John Wright Lane provides a partial border to the south.
The proposed district would require new buildings to have a maximum height of two stories, or a total height of 24 feet. Buildings along Blacksmith and Mill lanes and 50 feet away from the rear of another property lot line would only be allowed to be a story-and-a-half high.
Buildings also are required to cover no more than 50 percent of a lot.
During the ARB meeting, Dublin resident Denise Franz King asked ARB members to let the city take another look at the proposed amendments.
"It still needs a little bit of work," she said. "It's getting there."
Franz said she was concerned that the historic district would take on the feel of an urbanized city block, and that enclosed walkways between buildings should be discouraged.
Leonhard also voiced concern about the enclosed walkways, or "linkages" that could be allowed between buildings. The walkways would force developers to build in a style that wouldn't fit in with the existing buildings, he said.
Musser, however, said the intent of the guidelines was to satisfy residents' concern about new development while also allowing the city to still attract business to the area.
"I think we've done that," he said.