After a joint workshop in January, a review of proposed zoning ordinance amendments was presented to the Willow Park city council Tuesday night.

“We have been in the process of reviewing these ordinances since February in order to streamline efforts in the zoning department and create greater efficiency,” WP City Manager Bryan Grimes said. “Once the final review is made, the decision will ultimately be left to council to approve the changes.”

WP Planning Consultant Betty Chew went over the amendments, which include changes to R-5 single-family medium density district, fencing, R-3 multifamily district, off-street parking and loading, landscaping and signage.

“In the R-5 single-family medium density district, the garages are allowed to be front-facing garages but right now the way the ordinance is written, it requires they be divided garage doors, or two garage doors,” Chew said. “The problems we’re encountering on a standard garage when you do those two garage doors with that center post, if it’s anything other than a smaller car, you can’t get two vehicles in the garage and what it’s creating is kind of an on-street parking problem for us. We’re really creating kind of a hazard for public safety entering and exiting those streets. So by allowing the single garage door, that will give us more width so hopefully, you can get two vehicles in.”

Other proposed amendments for R-5 include fencing and the concrete footers under fences.

“When the R-5 was adopted, they said there would be a concrete footer under the fence and what happened — I think it was probably an error — is they were requiring that the concrete footer be four to six inches above grade. We were creating mini swimming pools in those backyards, so we’re proposing to modify that. It will be four inches deep and six inches wide, which is what a normal concrete footer is for a fence,” Chew said. “Also, we are proposing that the fences be a minimum of six feet and they are wooden or masonry that’s required in R-5 and a maximum height of eight feet.”

In the R-1 single-family district, the proposed change would delete the requirement to allow manufactured housing because it’s in the district zoning classifications.

“In the R-3 multifamily district right now the maximum apartment units allowed per acre is eight. We have discussed increasing that to 18 units per acre, which is pretty much what was done with the apartments on Crown Point Boulevard,” Chew said. “Then there was a provision that talked about a new certification of occupancy being required for each apartment unit prior to leasing to a new occupant; that’s not doable. If an apartment complex is sold and there’s a new occupancy for that new owner, then the area is reevaluated and reinspected. That will be removed from the requirements of the ordinance.”

Chew said a primary amendment discussed is for new development site plans for multifamily, commercial and industrial.

“They require approval by the planning and zoning commission and the council,” Chew said. “I think as we all knew, we almost got caught with some projects that were delayed or not coming to fruition during the beginning of the pandemic. We worked through it but we talked about making that change.”

Chew also presented information about landscaping and signage.

“We’ve had some questions with regard to landscape regulations as far as making some alternatives in our landscape ordinance for more of what I call xeriscaping-type installation. Looking at an alternative and also looking at maybe some means to incentivize people to use more drip irrigation, more drought-tolerant plants, to this area and give them some kind of credit,” Chew said. “Finally last but not least, we are working on the sign ordinance. We’re looking at possibly increasing the height and the size for the free-standing signs within a certain distance of the interstate.

“With the exception of the sign ordinance and the landscape regulation, which will probably be around the first of the year before you see those, you should in November see the remaining major changes that we talked about.”

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