The Sonora City Council will meet Tuesday to discuss an ordinance that would allow buildings taller than 35 feet in certain commercial zones within the city.
Buildings in various areas such as the city’s historic district along South Washington Street, the Downtown Plaza on Stockton Road and the Sonora Plaza Shopping Center on Mono Way are allowed to exceed 35 feet in height through the approval of a conditional use permit, but buildings that tall are strictly prohibited in the Timberhills, Crossroads and former Andy’s Home Center shopping centers.
City Administrator Tim Miller said the issue came to the attention of city planners while doing initial reviews of a proposed SonoraRegional Medical Center expansion on the Greenley Road property that once housed Andy’s Home Center.
Under the proposed ordinance, buildings in that area could exceed 35 feet by going through the conditional use permit process, which allows for public and advisory input on all proposals and requires the planning commission to consider the impact on surrounding building and public safety.
Miller said the hospital expansion uncovered the disparity in the zoning rules but didn’t prompt city staff to craft the ordinance.
“It doesn’t make sense that all other commercial zoning districts allow it,” he said.
City staff reviewed existing ordinances and advisory agency input to determine why certain commercial zones contained the strict height limit while others in the area did not and concluded that the discrepancy was a “clerical” error.
Also Tuesday, the council will consider:
• a response to the 2011-12 Tuolumne County Civil Grand Jury Report that made a number of recommendations to area cities and counties concerning the Central Sierra Planning Council, a joint-power authority that folded last year and left its members, including the city, on the hook for as much as $1.6 million in unpaid, outstanding liabilities
PUBLIC MEETING: The Sonora City Council meets at 5 p.m. Tuesday, City Hall, 94 N. Washington St., Sonora.