City reveals draft for character-based zoning ordinance

City officials showcased Mount Pleasant's new character-based zoning ordinance to the public during a July 27 presentation.

A character-based zoning code is different from the conventional code that Mount Pleasant has used since 1971. Character-based zoning puts more focus on the form and function of buildings, as well as building placement and how lots are laid out, whereas conventional zoning only designates how land is used, said Becky Timmons, project director. 

One of the goals of the new ordinance is the preservation, and reinforcement, of the character of downtown and residential neighborhoods, said city planner Jacob Kain. Other goals include the transformation of Mission Street into a more visually appealing area, an increased focus on walking and biking, and providing opportunities for more mixed-use development.

"One of the challenges we had with our current code is that when you apply it to the existing fabric of our community, it many cases properties don't conform because there's too much building on the lot," Kain said. "What this code does is by relaxing (some) standards, by allowing lesser setbacks, by allowing less parking, we can get more building on a lot."

Now that the ordinance draft has been presented to the public, residents of Mount Pleasant are encouraged to review the new code and reach out to the city to ask questions and voice concerns. More information on the project can be found on the City of Mount Pleasant's website.