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Ole Brook restricts downtown zoning

Brookhaven aldermen have adopted a revised zoning ordinance that puts more restrictions on the types of businesses that can locate downtown and placed new building permits under a 30-day review process until the new rules take effect.

Aldermen voted 6-1 Tuesday to finalize the changes to the zoning ordinance that prohibit the location of personal services businesses, like pool halls and tattoo parlors, in the C-2 Community Commercial District, which encompasses all of the downtown area, the portion of Brookway Boulevard east of Hwy. 51 and other areas around Schwem Avenue and West Congress Street. The board met again Wednesday at noon at imposed a 30-day moratorium on new building permits and privilege licenses that would require building inspector David Fearn to grant approval to applications in line with the new rules or kick them up to aldermen for review.

Ward 2 Alderman Shannon Moore voted against the changes.

“It’s been 18 months, or two years, since the update process began,” Fearn said. “Aldermen have put in their comments, and most of this is just updating the ordinance, changing the definitions because the last time definitions were updated, changed or looked at was 26 years ago. There weren’t any vape stores around back then.”

Vape stores are one of the business types that will not be allowed to open shop in the downtown and C2 areas, along with automotive rentals, recreational or amusement businesses that operate indoors, hospitals, pool halls, pawn shops, tattoo parlors and check-cashing businesses. The new ordinance also prohibits outdoor advertising signs and billboards in the C2 district.

The ordinance was also updated to change the term “mobile home” to “manufactured home,” which is banned in the R1 Residential District meant for single-family dwellings. New mobile home installs in the R1 District have always been banned with a few exceptions, Fearn said.

“A modular home is fine in a residential area,” he said. “A manufactured home is defined as something that has the tongue still on it, with the wheels still on, not set on a foundation. The modular home comes with wheels, but they take the wheels off and set it on a foundation.”

Existing personal services businesses and mobile homes already approved will be “grandfathered in” to the new ordinance.

The amended zoning ordinance also updates several definitions and lists a fee of $250 for zoning petitions, special exceptions or variances. Fearn said the fee has been charged for some time, but never listed in the ordinance.