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Ogdensburg Planning Board considers adjustments to city parking and design rules

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Ogdensburg Planning Board members are considering ways to improve the city’s parking and building design regulations as they move forward with a two-year old effort to revise the city’s zoning laws.

City Planning and Development Director Andrea L. Smith said they hope to hand over the fruits of their labor – a comprehensive proposal targeting the most cumbersome aspects of the city’s zoning laws – to city council in the spring.

Prior to the new laws being adopted, there will be a review by city council in addition to public hearings.

“We want to address to the extent possible the problems which are causing people to seek variances,” Ms. Smith said.

At Monday’s planning board meeting members agreed that the city’s current law requiring multi-family dwellings have two parking spaces per unit should be relaxed, allowing for one and a half parking spaces per unit instead.

Ms. Smith said the relaxed regulation would be a boon for new developers who would not need to purchase as much room for parking as before.

The board is also in the process of creating a parking zone that would be largely exempt from the city’s zoning laws in order to promote business growth on the waterfront and along State Street.

What parking laws the new zone would be exempt from is still up for debate, Ms. Smith said, but the goal is to incentivize development in downtown, along the riverfront and in the marina district.

Planning Board Chairman Timothy J. Redmond said one of the biggest hindrances to growth is that the city does not count on-street parking as business parking, forcing new developers to purchase more space than they might really need.

The new regulations could take that problem into account.

The board also discussed the creation of design districts that would require new businesses to adhere to certain aesthetic standards.

Ms. Smith said the idea would be to encourage development that keeps in mind the history of Ogdensburg. The planning board is considering how to incentivize design standards.

The next planning board meeting is Feb. 4 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.

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