The last time Reynoldsburg enacted a zoning code, the Beatles had a No. 1 record and the United States was preparing for the Apollo 11 mission that would successfully land astronauts on the moon.
Reynoldsburg City Council unanimously approved a $135,000 contract last month with Cincinnati-based Calfee Zoning to help rewrite a code officials say is outdated and substandard.
According to the ordinance approved Jan. 28, the new code will coordinate Reynoldsburg's "comprehensive plan for commercial, housing and mixed-use development; locations where the city should increase density, use redevelopment, or intervene in other ways; opportunities to extend and/or improve open space, recreational areas, and civic facilities; strategies for increasing economic development; environmental, historic and cultural resources that need conservation; and strategies for improving infrastructure issues."
Since enacted in the spring of 1969, the city has updated the code through a "piecemeal" approach that is no longer practical and could stymie growth, Development Director Andrew Bowsher said.
"There's a lot of things that are broken with our zoning code. It's been very piecemealed together -- there are sections that overlap and give contradicting policies," he said. "We're going to start from scratch and totally rewrite it to match the new comprehensive plan and draft a new land-use map."
A steering committee will help guide the rewriting process. In addition to Bowsher, its members are: Calfee Zoning consultant Sean Suder, Mayor Brad McCloud, city planning and zoning administrator Emily Wheeler, Parks and Recreation Department Director Donna Bauman, Public Service Director Bill Sampson, Kerstin Carr from MORPC, school board member Joe Begeny, City Auditor Stephen Cicak, City Council members Barth Cotner and Kristin Bryant and planning commission members Steven Hicks and Alex Furst.
The city has launched a website (reynoldsburgcode.com) and plans to hold an open house for the public in October.
The code changes will be reviewed by both the planning commission and City Council, Bowsher said. Ultimately, council must adopt the new code in order for it to take effect; that isn't expected to happen until late this year or early 2020, he said.
Reynoldsburg's 2018 comprehensive plan, also approved by City Council in January, strives to create mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods with higher densities near the East Main Street corridor and encourages the reuse of existing commercial areas in a creative way, according to Bowsher. The plan also recommends moving new retail developments closer to the street with parking at the rear.
Most existing residential and single-family areas won't change, Bowsher said.
"It's about trying to marry what's actually being utilized and what's actually needed," he said. "We have really good bones here in the city and we can do adaptive reuse with some of our older buildings.
"It's the commercial sections that will have the biggest changes; there's going to be a lot of change on Main Street for the better. Reynoldsburg is on the rise -- we have some great things in the works that are really going to outline the future for the better."
A recent study by MORPCfound that central Ohio is expected to add at least 1 million new residents by 2050.
City officials expect up to 15,000 new residents will move to Reynoldsburg in that time.
"We know that the city of Reynoldsburg is going to have to take on some of those residents and we know that we're not going to get to that by building single-family homes like we used to," Bowsher said. "We need to make sure that we have thriving, walkable communities. We can have this here in Reynoldsburg and have the best of both worlds."
Those interested in receiving information about future information sessions about rewriting the city code can email engagedcitizen@ reynoldsburgcode.com