Zoning Board Approves Changes In Sidney

The City of Sidney’s Zoning Board approved zoning code changes during a public meeting held at City Hall on Wednesday. The recommendations now head to the city council for final approval.

City planner Forest Sanderson explained that the main reason for these amendments is the 2023 legislative session when several land use bills were considered and then signed into law. The major changes are intended to increase availability of housing options in residential and commercial districts, data mining center within industrial districts and a reduction of required parking for residential uses.

State mandated changes include reducing required off street parking for residential uses to one space per dwelling unit and reducing the required off street parking for day care home to two spaces. A day care home is now defined as a private residence or other structure in which day care services are provided to three to 15 children or adults. The maximum of 15 individuals is an increase. Sanderson said that the day care services changes are a result of state legislators using a broad paint brush for what might be good for larger cities and applying it to the entire state. He said the change could create problems, but the city must follow it.

“I don’t think any of the state legislators would like to have a 15-child day care next to their house,” zoning board member Terry Meldahl said.

The motion approved by the board included recommending that the city council has the parking commission research whether the city could require off-street parking for residential use in the central business district. For example, Meldahl said such a rule could be beneficial if a downtown business decides to add apartments.

City initiated zone code changes include the elimination of required off-street parking in the central business zone, the elimination of Xeriscaping requirements from the regulations and to allow retail sales and services by conditional use in the B-2 zoning district. Sanderson said the change would add more flexibility for land developers. The current code had the potential of causing issues between land developers and neighboring homeowners.


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