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Batavia studying extension on moratorium on nonretail uses

Published: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 11:35 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 11:37 p.m. CDT

BATAVIA – City staff is recommending a three-month extension of the current moratorium on nonretail uses along Randall Road and other commercial districts.

In December, aldermen approved a six-month moratorium on accepting applications for certain nonretail uses in commercial districts such as Randall and Kirk roads. Those uses would include banks and health care facilities.

The moratorium is set to expire May 19. Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke had voiced concerns about nonsales-tax generating businesses trying to locate on Randall Road. He had voiced the need for the city to “put some constraints on how much nonsales-tax use we put on Randall Road.”

City staff have proposed revisions to the city’s zoning code to address the nonretail use issue. The revisions include a prohibition of cultural institutions and allowing nonretail businesses, except for restaurants, to occupy only up to 50 percent of its lease space in multitenant buildings.

“Staff believes that cultural institutions are best located in the downtown,” Batavia Planning and Zoning Officer Joel Strassman said in a memo to aldermen. “These uses also tend to occupy larger spaces. Since there are no such uses in the general commercial district, this change does not create any nonconforming uses.”

Strassman said that a flat prohibition of nonsales-tax generating businesses in commercial districts, such as Randall Road, could have a negative effect over time on retail businesses because of the “synergy of attracting customers.”

“Allowing a percentage of these buildings to have nonretail businesses would provide opportunity for both retail and nonretail businesses to locate in the general commercial district,” Strassman said.

Staff has recommended a three-month extension of the moratorium to allow for time to amend the city’s zoning ordinance.

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