Jacksonville, Ore. — The City of Jacksonville is working towards cleaning up and revising the current book of ‘Land Use’ codes.
NBC5 spoke to the planning department today for the City of Jacksonville. Employees there, said this is simply a revisional process to help make it easier for residents to go through the ‘Land Use’ codes.
But they understand where the public concern comes from.
“There’s going to be a lot more noise about this before it’s over,” said Gary Collins, a public hearing attendee.
After an abrupt end to Wednesday night’s public hearing, some Jacksonville residents confused and angry.
“Public feels like they’ve been blind-sided by the announcement there’s a public hearing tonight coming to testify, and then being told they wouldn’t accept anymore,” said Carol Knapp, another public hearing attendee.
Wednesday’s public hearing was the second in recent weeks.
The city said leaders just need time to consider what’s already been said.
“In the interim, from the previous meeting to this, there have been some discussion of – does it make sense to maybe step back and look at some of those concerns in great detail before we proceed,” said Dick Converse. Converse is the interim planning director for the City of Jacksonville.
Proceeding means changing hundreds of pages of documents.
“It’s kind of refining the documents, clarifying where there have been inconsistencies from one chapter to the next,” Converse said.
The current book of ‘Land Use’ codes is about 400 pages, so you can understand why the city’s been working to make it easier on the residents who try to make sense of it.
“The intent is to tie in these design guidelines into an ordinance and have it all in one consolidated place, so it’s clear for people who are looking at what the standards are,” said Ian Foster. Foster is a principal planner for the City of Jacksonville.
But for residents concerned about losing Jacksonville’s historic feel, the planning department said it’s devoted to keeping what makes Jacksonville – Jacksonville.
“We’ve been working with the state historic preservation office to ensure that the changes are consistent with those standards,” Converse said.
The planning department will go through legal counsel before moving forward with next steps.
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