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Twinsburg City Council considering placing zoning overhaul on November ballot

A map of Twinsburg's proposed zoning code.
City of Twinsburg
Twinsburg is proposing overhauling the city's zoning code.

Twinsburg City Council will begin considering an overhaul of its zoning code Tuesday night. If council moves forward with the plan, it will go to voters on the November ballot.

The bulk of the current code is from 1989 and is dated, Economic Development Director Rebecca Ziegler said.

“For me, it’s the uses, economic development uses," she said. "The fact that we will be proposing – the new proposed code in the Downtown district, currently the C5, you can’t have a microbrewery or a Pilates studio. And the uses are so outdated.”

The proposed code focuses on business development and sustainability, the city said, including working toward sustainability goals laid out in the city's 2021 comprehensive plan. The proposed code removes barriers to renewable energy facilities, supports preservation and protection, increases walkability and encourages green building.

Twinsburg has referendum zoning, and a big overhaul like this would need to be passed in every ward to become law, City Planner Lynn Muter explained.

“The plus side is the residents have full control over the zoning," she said, "but it does not allow us to act quickly.”

The city began the process of designing the new code nearly two years ago, which included several public input sessions, according to city officials. The city plans to continue this effort in hopes of educating people on the plan before the November election, Ziegler said. She hopes the modernized code makes zoning more accessible to voters.

"That's why I think the new code is so lovely, because it is heavy in the graphics, heavy in the charts, where before it was much more narrative type," she said. "I think people are visual people."

There are frustrations with the current code that Ziegler says people can relate to, like how many structures are allowed on a property or if households can own chickens.

"While people may not be interested so much in setbacks of the industrial districts, they might be more interested in if they can have an accessory dwelling unit in their backyard. You can relate to that," she said.

Akron and Cuyahoga Falls have also been going through the process of updating zoning codes to be more user friendly and accessible.

Abigail Bottar covers Akron, Canton, Kent and the surrounding areas for Ideastream Public Media.