City to host second rezoning town hall

Leslie D. Rose @Editor_Citizen
Aerial photo of downtown Gonzales with the study area boundary shown in red. The boundaries of the downtown study area are shown – the boundaries are generally Cornerview St. to south Pleasant Ave. to the west, Alexander Ave. and Airline Highway to the east, and the New River corridor to the north.

     The City of Gonzales has hired Center for Planning Excellence (CPEX) to update the city's zoning code. Residents are invited to a Town Hall meeting, to be held Feb. 29 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Gonzales City Hall council room, where CPEX will present proposed changes to the code, listen to feedback and answer questions. A presentation will be given at 5:40 p.m. and 6:40 p.m.

      So, what changes are on the horizon?

      City Clerk Clay Stafford said he expects that the multi-family code changes will appeal to developers.

    “In the past, we regulated apartments based on density – we didn’t allow any more than ten units per acre,” Stafford said. “Well that basically made it unfeasible. CPEX has made it so density is no longer a limiting factor. So what this code does is increase density, but requires amenities and design features.”

     Under the updated code, apartments will be required to have a certain number of amenities like recreation and quality of life enhancements, along with design features such as certain types of materials and walls.

      Another zone that Stafford said is going to be a highlight is what is being called an E-1 Employment Zone. This zone is not industrial or heavy commercial, rather it is large companies that boasts a great number of employees.

     And finally, but at the top of the list, Stafford  said of the proposed changes to the code, the Main Street district is likely to be most appealing to residents.

     “The intent is to make the downtown area,” Stafford said. “It’s trying to pretty up the main street. We’re getting ready to do a pavement preservation and landscape project along Burnside – from Cornerview to the railroad tracks.”

      Stafford said that the city imagines downtown to resemble the old street fronts of days gone by.

     “You have aesthetic requirements that call for sidewalks, benches, street lighting – all to give downtown that old homey feel of a walkable pedestrian area – this new zoning code is going to encourage that,” Stafford said.

     A draft should be available to share with residents by the end of April, although Stafford said he is concerned that more studies and necessary changes may stager the date. Residents are encouraged to provide feedback and ask questions at the upcoming meeting.