The City of Kalamazoo will host a virtual town hall on Wednesday, October 28, at 6 p.m. to discuss updates to the City’s Natural Features Protection (NFP) Overlay District and related zoning code standards. City staff will give a presentation and be available to answer community questions about the project, which would expand protected areas in the city and clarify the NFP requirements. The town hall will be streamed live to the City’s Facebook Page and YouTube Channel.
Proposed updates would add additional areas to the NFP Overlay District map and minor amendments to the ordinance text, which were originally approved in 2019. New and additional areas that are being considered for protection were identified through a mapping analysis and community input. Geographic Information Systems and spatial analysis were used to review slope areas, tree canopy coverage, wetlands, and waterways. Community input was collected through a mapping activity and comments on draft maps. The NFP Review Board and City staff also reviewed site plans and variance requests that came before the board over the past year to determine if the implementation of the standards was fulfilling the intent of the ordinance. As a result, a handful of text amendments to the ordinance are also recommended to clarify the standards as well as improve their application and outcomes.
On October 13 the NFP Review Board voted unanimously to recommend the amendments to the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission will review the proposed zoning updates at their next meeting on Thursday, November 5. If recommended by the Planning Commission, the proposal would go before the City Commission for final review and adoption.
The NFP ordinance and overlay district work to support the City’s goals in housing and economic development, while protecting the important ecosystem benefits natural features provide to the community. The ordinance does not stop development but requires thoughtful consideration and design to protect existing natural features on a site. Draft documents and additional information is available at www.imaginekalamazoo.com/projects/nfp2