Purchase photos

Zoning plan draws realtors





Approximately 30 realtors and developers gathered Monday in Hays City Hall to learn about the process set to overhaul the city's zoning and subdivision regulations.

Matt Bucchin, senior associate of Kendig Keast Collaborative, presented an outline of the project to the Hays Area Planning Commission. He explained the new rules are intended to follow the city's 2012 comprehensive plan, but enacting the long-term vision might alienate some residents.

"On the plan side, you're developing a plan for the future. It's always about someone else's property," Bucchin said. "As we move into the regulations, the language changes and the discussion changes, and it transitions to 'How does it affect my property?' "

The code's successful components will be recycled into the new regulations.

One of the main goals behind the overhaul is to maintain the "character" of the different zones, he said. Removing some subjectivity in decision making, increasing transparency and fixing inconsistencies are other aims. The rules also will be streamlined into core topics for easier reading rather than the current specific categories.

The consultant emphasized his group wants to visit with community members and ensure all contributions are taken into account.

"We need to make sure by the end of this process that when it comes up for consideration for adoption, any expressed issues, comments and concerns have either been addressed or we've educated why certain things are in a certain way," Bucchin said.

Some dissent was shared at the meeting.

Errol G. Wuertz Sr., owner of Heartland Realty of Hays LLC, addressed the planning commissioners with a two-page list of concerns he and others had about the proposed ideas.

Banning pole signs outside the Interstate 70 corridor, requiring landscaping or fences to block outdoor storage areas and mandating drought resistant shade trees in certain size parking lots were among the targeted issues.

Chris Wente, owner of Western Plains Service Corp., said he agreed with Wuertz and urged city staff and the consultants to listen to the people directly involved in real estate and development.

Many people were unable to attend earlier sessions because they were held during business hours.

The consultants will return in September for more meetings. For more information, visit www.haysusa.com and click on the zoning project button on the bottom of the screen.