Formulating a Plan
To accommodate this growth, the Spring Hill Board of Mayor and Alderman (BOMA) and the planning commission approved the Unified Development Code (UDC) on August 20, 2018. The UDC replaces the previous code that was approved in 1987. The new zoning codes give the city the ability to implement ‘Spring Hill Rising: 2040′, a documented vision for the future.
The city issued over 800 building permits in 2017. That averages out to 2.2 per day! Through July of 2018, 502 permits have been issued and that’s on pace to hit almost 900 for the year. On a side note, these numbers pale in comparison to the number of permits issued right before the market crash in 2007. In 2005 and 2006 over 1400 permits were issued, each year. A sharp decline began in 2007 and bottomed out in 2009 with only 180 permits issued.
With construction picking back up over the last few years, and these new builds being added to the existing 14,495 homes, as well as all commercial structures, the city needed a unified direction. Spring Hill Rising and the UDC offer that.
What it Means
We will almost certainly see developers denied approval for site plans that were previously permitted right uses. In the previous code (B4 for example), a property owner could choose from a long list of uses that, as long as they built to city standards, were rights under that zoning. In the new UDC, B4 has changed to C4, in most instances. Many of the uses that were rights, previously, are now special use and require additional approval from the Board of Zoning Appeals (BOZA).
The planning commission now has a little more flexibility to make sure property is put to its highest and best use. There is a fine line, however. The city will need to avoid going too far and resist the urge to dictate what property owners can and can’t do, when it isn’t warranted.
We applaud our city leaders for taking steps to tackle the issues. It’s hard for a set of leaders that rotate often to enact meaningful change, but these men and women have made progress in the last 2 years. Things will never be perfect, especially in a rapidly growing town with tight road infrastructure, but we think Spring Hill’s future is bright!