The Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously on Monday to recommend for approval the deletion of a section of city code that requires businesses anywhere in the city with parking lots for 10 or more vehicles to keep a 20-foot setback between those parking spaces and a dwelling unit, school, hospital or other institution for human care.

The setback removal must be approved by the City Council to take effect.

The setback requirement had already been eliminated from the Downtown Residential Overlay District except for required screening between buildings.

The city staff-initiated change was brought to the commission for review by Community Development Director Lisa Horowitz, who said Monday that the rule was “very onerous” on property owners in the Business zone that happen to own next to residences.

Horowitz said portions of a recently proposed housing complex development on River Street by West Crescent Advisors would be harmed by the existing setback requirement, and that a recent Fapo Holdings parking lot approved for the Forest Service Block could have been larger, if the change had already been approved.

“Building setbacks are zero in the Business zone already,” Horowitz said, adding that it only makes sense for the parking to be less restrictive also.

The setback removal would not remove a separate requirement that a landscape buffer between the new project and a residential property be provided. The buffer must be at least 8 feet wide to create a year-round visual screen at least 6 feet high.

P&Z Commissioner Owen Scanlon said the remaining “at least” clause in the ordinance would provide enough oversite to manage parking.

“We can take this on a case-by-case basis,” Scanlon said.

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