Friday, May 16

County zoning changes proposed

[MAY 16, 2003]  Proposed changes to the Logan County zoning ordinance include regulating adult entertainment in the county, limiting parking of inoperable motor vehicles and requiring increased water and sewage capabilities where public services are not available.

The proposals were presented by Zoning Officer Bud Miller at the Regional Planning Commission meeting May 7 and to the Logan County Board May 15. To be enacted, the changes must withstand scrutiny at a public hearing and be approved by the Regional Planning Commission, the Zoning Board of Appeals and finally the county board. At the earliest, the county board vote could come June 17.

The Regional Planning Commission has given tentative approval, pending recommendations from State's Attorney Tim Huyett.

The proposed changes include adult entertainment under a new section on special use permits. The section applies to uses deemed potentially harmful and therefore requiring case-by-case consideration. Public need for the activity and impact on the land are the two key questions.

The county board would rule on each special use application, after receiving input from the Regional Planning Commission and after a public hearing conducted by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Special uses include buildings taller than two stories or 35 feet, airports, crematories, incinerators, junkyards, manufacturing of explosives and flammable gases or liquids, outdoor motor vehicle racetracks, and outdoor shooting ranges as well as adult entertainment establishments. If the zoning changes are enacted, previously existing facilities, such as the Sportsman's Club and the racetrack near Middletown, may continue to operate but cannot expand without a special use permit, Miller said.


According to the definitions section of the proposed ordinance, an adult entertainment establishment might be an adult bookstore, modeling studio, bathhouse, massage parlor or exotic dancing facility and might include live, taped or filmed sexual activities. Most of these terms are defined in the ordinance.

If the ordinance is enacted, such an establishment could not be within 1,500 feet of any school, park, religious assembly or residential-zoned lot. It must be at least 2,000 feet from any bar or tavern and from any other adult entertainment facility.

The adult content must remain strictly within the building, not visible through windows or doors. Signs would be limited in size, placement and content. Lighting of parking areas must be between .25 and 3.0 foot candles.


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Besides adding the section on special use permits, the proposed ordinance revision entirely rewrites the section on parking junk motor vehicles on residential property. It stipulates that no inoperable or unlicensed vehicle may be parked longer than 10 days on a residential lot. Likewise, in residential areas a person may not offer for sale more than one vehicle at a time and may not sell any inoperable vehicle or its parts.

However the junk car provisions do not apply to historic vehicles over 25 years old or any vehicle hidden from view in a building. Nor do they apply to vehicles on the premises of a lawful business.

The zoning ordinance proposal adds requirements to the section on sewer and water in areas where public service is not available for an "area for a replacement (sewage) system, and a private water supply." Presently the minimum area for a single-family lot is 20,000 square feet, but it is being proposed that if a larger parcel is required by the zoning officer at the recommendation of the county health administrator, the minimum area may be increased.

The proposal also stipulates: "Private sewage system type shall be determined by the Health Department, based on a soil analysis, the cost of which shall be born by the permit requester." Miller estimated the cost of soil analysis at $225.

Health Department Administrator Lloyd Evans said the county soils map uses about two borings per acre, but the required soil analysis will incorporate five to 10, depending on the site.

Copies of the proposed zoning ordinance changes can be obtained from Bud Miller or Phil Mahler at the zoning office, 529 S. McLean, Lincoln, telephone 732-8835. Anyone wishing to comment on the proposal should contact Miller or a member of the Regional Planning Commission, the Zoning Board of Appeals or the Logan County Board.

[Lynn Spellman]

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