Richmond Common Council approved a comprehensive update to the city’s Unified Development Ordinance.

Council members unanimously voted Aug. 21 to support two changes proposed by the Richmond Advisory Plan Commission, then to adopt the 57-amendment ordinance. The plan commission had voted 7-0 recommending council accept the updates to the 2010 UDO.

Former city planner and infrastructure and development director Ian Vanness had coordinated the update to the policies that regulate the city’s development before he left city government. Some amendments merely addressed new concerns not considered in 2010, while others implemented changes that reflect variances that have become commonly granted by zoning and planning boards.

Council had delayed adoption from its Aug. 7 meeting because of two questions. Dustin Purvis, the city’s zoning administrator, addressed those concerns prior to council’s vote.

The first concern was whether permitting addiction treatment facilities only in general commercial and outdoor commercial zoning districts conflicted with federal law. Purvis said law department research indicated no federal laws were violated and that the current UDO also allowed limited addiction treatment facilities to those zoning districts, although they were included under the broader scope of medical services offices.

The second area of concern was fencing around outdoor storage areas in high-intensity industrial and high-impact zoning districts, which generally govern industrial areas, such as Midwest Industrial Park. The proposed change required a solid fence at least 6 feet high, specifically indicating that chain link fencing, even with slats, was not acceptable.

Purvis and council member Doug Goss both reached out to Valerie Shaffer, president of the Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County, for input about the fencing requirement. Shaffer indicated the EDC supported the change. 

Projects with outdoor storage present a concern because unsightly storage is unfair to neighboring property owners who invest millions to provide indoor storage, she noted. Additionally, the fencing costs would be nominal compared with the multimillion-dollar investments necessary to build new industrial facilities.

Tennis courts

Denise Retz, the city’s parks superintendent, received council permission to transfer $30,000 to resurface the Glen Miller Park tennis courts.

Retz said the project costs $79,000, with Kyle Tom and Indiana University East covering the remainder.

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A version of this article appeared in the August 30 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.