City of Brevard Works with Area Businesses to Improve Development Ordinances

October 10, 2018

During the City of Brevard's  September 17th meeting City Council took tangible steps to improve development ordinances specific to the manufacturing sector.

Based on feedback from local businesses the City’s planning department in conjunction with the Alliance evaluated setback requirements for general industrial zoning districts in the community.  Industry in the City of Brevard is largely concentrated in two general locations 1) Jennings Business Park and 2) Railroad Avenue. Over the past several months stakeholders worked to review the municipality’s setback requirements for properties which are zoned general industrial (GI). Prior to the recent change local ordinances called for 40 foot setbacks on all sides of the property, no matter the neighboring use or existing location of the built structure on the property. The Alliance's goals when suggesting changes were threefold 1) to promote opportunities for expansion of local manufacturing 2) more fully utilize what few GI zones we have available and 3) respect the  intent of the use of setback provisions while honoring existing conditions of industrial districts.  Working proactively with the City of Brevard, Planning Department and the Planning Board the Alliance conducted research and field observations to understand the setback provisions and determine if an adjustment was possible. Through the process members of the Planning Board were thoughtful and engaged on this topic and gave excellent direction to city staff and the Alliance during the review.  

During this process peer research was performed looking specifically at many jurisdictions in our region and state of a similar size and character. The intent was to not simply mirror rules from other locations but to understand if local setback requirements were out of character or potentially not serving their intended purpose i.e. public safety, building code, aesthetics, etc. What was determined was our local setback requirements were higher than most communities by a significant margin. Moreover, because most of our industrial buildings were constructed in an era that predated the old setback requirement some existing industrial buildings were by default out of compliance with the 40 ft. setback rule (some by just a few feet, others by a significant margin). After careful work with Brevard’s Planning Department and Planning Board, the City of Brevard’s leadership authorized a reduction of general industrial setbacks to better reflect existing conditions. The changes significantly reduce setback requirements for GI properties  when adjacent to other industrial properties but enforces a slightly higher setbacks requirement when GI properties neighbor residential zones. The approved changes to the ordinance relfect a good compromise that ensures adequate safety/aesthetic concerns while also allowing many of our existing manufacturers additional flexibility to pursue facility expansions in the future.

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