The Housing Committee met on July 26th and discussed the City’s residential properties that are located within the “buffer zones” surrounding our largest industrial zoned area that includes AK Steel. The buffer zones that have been identified are those residential properties located within 500 feet and 1,000 feet of the heavy industrial area.
“Buffer Zones” are defined as areas created to provide space between land uses or developments to separate potentially harmful impacts of one or more uses onto another. In the case of Middletown we are specifically concerned with our heavy industrial zoned properties and their impacts on our surrounding residential communities and uses.
Buffer zones are an important tool for the Committee in regards to the quality of life for our residents. Can people live comfortably alongside heavy industry? If so, how close? If not, what are our next steps to resolve this issue? Determining appropriate buffer zones from our existing industry will affect our City’s future housing development and commercial developments.
Today when planning a City there would never be heavy industrial uses placed directly next to residential uses without some sort of required separation for safety. Buffer zones shield housing from industrial off-site impacts and nuisances such as sound, odor, air quality, etc. The separation between incompatible uses can be achieved by having commercial uses located between, restricting motor vehicle access, increasing setbacks, requiring additional landscaping, restricting signs, and in some cases by requiring additional information and proof of mitigation from factories that may cause potentially harmful outputs from production.
The presentation provided to the Committee gave a closer look at the properties located within close proximity of our heavy industrial area. The areas surrounding the industrial zone were divided into ten different snapshot areas. The group reviewed each area in terms of the existing housing stock, median home value, existing conditions, and housing/zoning code violations. The information gained at this meeting will assist the group as we move forward to our next topic area of code enforcement.
For more information about the meeting or to view the presentation and materials discussed at the meeting, please click the link below.