HARTFORD — The Plan Commission gave the all-clear to a new type of zoning for the city, so the mixed-use designation will proceed to the Common Council and a public hearing once the ordinance is ready to be added to Hartford’s code. On Monday, the Plan Commission discussed a proposal brought forward by City Planner Justin Drew to create a zoning type that allows different types of development within a single area or property.
“I’m proposing a new district called mixed-use district, or MXD district. We’ve had some calls for doing this type of thing before,” Drew said.
Drew noted that in Hartford’s current zoning, almost all of their districts allow only one kind of development: commercial, residential, industrial or some other sort. The exception is a business district, which is used in the downtown for redevelopment. Drew noted that district is problematic for new developments, however, because it allows certain significant flexibilities for redeveloping an older area.
The new mixed-use zoning would allow combinations of residential, office, retail and service, institutional and civic, entertainment and recreation, transportation and communication uses.
“The MXD District would have numerous benefits. It would streamline the development process — currently having different uses in a single development area often necessitates a land split and then a rezone,” Drew wrote in a summary report for the Plan Commission.
Commissioners briefly discussed the matter, before unanimously approving it to move forward in the next steps. Commissioner Tony Andereck asked if the purpose was to create another downtown-type area; Drew said that was not the purpose, and staff had considered that they did not want to create competition for that area.
Drew said the mixed-use district will allow flexibility for new developments that want to combine commercial, residential and institutional, among others, in a single project, but its existence would not guarantee that it could or would happen everywhere.
“Nothing would automatically get this zoning. It would just create a new district that people could apply for,” Drew said. He noted areas currently marked for commercial are the most likely for mixed use, as mixed-use developments generally have some commercial component.
Having been cleared at the Plan Commission level, Drew said staff would finish the zoning ordinance language to add mixed use. Once complete, it will be scheduled for a public hearing and Common Council consideration for final action.