Bexley City Council members discussed key provisions of legislation that is designed to update and streamline the city's zoning code during the second reading and public hearing for the measure last week.

Bexley City Council members discussed key provisions of legislation that is designed to update and streamline the city's zoning code during the second reading and public hearing for the measure last week.

One of the main objectives of the ordinance is to consolidate the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Planning Commission into one body, while maintaining a separate Architectural Review Board.

"It will be sort of a one-stop shop and will be easier for residents to navigate," said Steve Keyes, chairman of council's Zoning and Development Committee, who introduced the legislation.

In discussing how the newly combined Board of Zoning Appeals and Planning would function, council members posed questions Oct. 25 to Chad Gibson, senior planning officer for the city of Upper Arlington, about how its BZAP operates.

Gibson said Upper Arlington's residential and commercial planning processes have functioned smoothly since the city combined its former Board of Zoning Adjustments and Planning Commission in 1983.

Gibson said Upper Arlington City Council appoints the seven BZAP members to staggered three-year terms, with no term limits.

"They select Board of Zoning and Planning members based on their areas of expertise. Right now, the board makeup is two architects, two engineers, two attorneys and a planner with sustainability background," he said. "We lean on the expertise of those individuals based on the application before us."

The current Bexley Board of Zoning Appeals and the Planning Commission both unanimously approved the provisions of the zoning code modernization before it came to council. Local board and commission members said they have firsthand knowledge that the Upper Arlington BZAP operates efficiently, and similar body would do the same in Bexley.

"I would describe it as aggressively development-friendly," Andrew Rosenthal, Bexley Board of Zoning Appeals member, said of Upper Arlington's BZAP. "They gather a lot of information, as stated in their goals, but it happens remarkably smoothly and remarkably quickly."

Brian Marsh, chairman of the Bexley Planning Commission, said local board and commission members discussed in detail how long it would take to review development projects once the combined BZAP has been created.

"We were very concerned that if there were projects that were good for the community, that they weren't slowed down and delayed," he said. The newly created BZAP "is not going to slow projects down."

The third and final reading and council's vote on the ordinance is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, at Bexley City Hall, 2242 E. Main St. For more information, visit the city's website, bexley.org.

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