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Hancock Council Adopts Zoning Update

Hancock’s extensive new zoning ordinance is officially on the books.

After hearing from more than a dozen residents at a public hearing last evening, the city council voted 5-2 to enact the first major update to the code in a half century. 

Citizen comments included concern about the “mixed use” designation given to areas along the Hancock waterfront. City Manager Mary Babcock explained that follows the city’s existing master plan…

That is why that district was created. It is depicted almost verbatim as to what the master plan was.

Several isolated issues were brought up. Resident Frank Fiala felt those would be better addressed after the ordinance is in place…

If you pass the ordinance, and come back and hold public meetings and address the concerns, you’ll have the opportunity to amend that and make that document much, much better.

Despite extensive news coverage of the process, several residents confessed that they had been unaware of the revision until recently. Councilor John Haeussler said there had been plenty of opportunity for citizens to get involved… [HAEUSSLER A].

Between the planning commission and the city council, there’s probably been 40 meetings dedicated to working on this document. There’s been 20 months of opportunity for people to come and hear what’s going on at different points in the process.

Haeussler noted that anyone can sign up for the city’s email notification system…  

For the council and the planning commission and the major commissions in the community you always get a notice with the agenda for an upcoming meeting.

In the end, five councilors felt that the ordinance was sufficiently polished to put it in place, and modify it in the future to address lingering issues. Councilors Rick Freeman and Whitney Warstler dissented, indicating they thought there were items that should still be addressed before passage. 

All of the council members said they were open to talking with citizens and making adjustments to deal with ongoing concerns. Kurt Rickard was among several councilors who felt a focused discussion on the future of the waterfront should be next…

I want to bring everybody that’s concerned about the shoreline together, and let’s figure out what we really want down there.

The new zoning ordinance will take effect in 30 days.

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