Repeal versus repair was the subject of debate at Monday evening’s Garden City City Council meeting.
The council considered whether the Surel Mitchell Live Work Create District overlay zone requirements should be cleaned up or if the overlay should be repealed altogether.
The Surel Mitchell Live Work Create District is a mixed-use area in Garden City between the Connector and 38th Street south of the Boise River. It includes breweries, wineries, restaurants, art galleries, and more. The district was created to bring more vibrancy to the area.
An overlay zone is a zoning district that is applied to an already existing zone. It creates additional or stricter standards for the property. However, city attorney Charlie Wadams says the requirements can be circumvented because of how they are written.
“In most jurisdictions, if there’s an overlay district, the applicant is required to follow the requirements of the overlay district,” Wadams said. “In Garden City, an applicant can pick or choose. I mean, if somebody wants to submit an application, and there’s a base zone and then there’s an overlay on top of it, as it’s written and currently interpreted, the applicant could say ‘I want the base zoning’, or the applicant could say, ‘I want the overlay zoning.’”
In addition to applicants being able to skirt certain requirements, Wadams added that the way the district parking standards are written also presents a problem.
“The parking standards were specifically called out by Judge (Jonathan) Medema, saying that they’re subjective. And so either way, we have a parking regulation issue,” he said.
According to city officials, nothing is currently being built in the district and there have hardly been any development proposals.
“I’m not sure what Surel (the well-known artist who the district was named after) would say if she was with us today. I think there would be some level of disappointment that this has become complicated and acrimonious.” Council President James Page said.