HARTFORD — In a move to promote business development and a downtown
revitalization, the Common Council on Tuesday night approved changes
in the city’s B-3 general business district ordinance.
City Developer Justin Drew told the council changes were needed
because many portions of the current rules were drafted in the
“Much of the current ordinance reflects uses and restrictions for a
very different time and development pattern for small downtowns,”
Drew said. “As staff considers ways to encourage continued downtown
development, it has become apparent that many of the B-3
restrictions serve as an impediment to development and do not serve
any discernible community benefit.”
Drew said the changes are intended to provide for orderly
continuation and revitalization of the older established “central
business district” where uses are not exclusively of one type, but
mixed and include retail, entertainment, office, institutional and
The council waived the rules so two more readings of the ordinance
were not needed before final approval.
The changes in the ordinance include:
■ Allowing residential use by three-bedroom units, not two as the
ordinance currently reads.
■ Removing the restriction that a building
can cover no more than 30 percent of the lot area. The changes
will allow lot coverage of as much as 100 percent.
■ Removing the restriction that a
development site abut a public street for at least 50 feet.
■ Raising the building height restriction
from 45 feet to 55 feet.
■ Changing language about parking
restrictions and to leave questions on the issue up to the
discretion of the Plan Commission.
Drew said the changes from the two-bedroom
limit to three-bedroom was sought because the two-bedroom limit
is too restrictive.
“There’s a market in downtown for larger
residential units and there does not appear to be any compelling
reason to keep this restriction,” Drew said. “The staff proposed
allowing three-bedroom units where the minimum floor area is 800
Council President Tim Michalak said the
changes were long overdue.
“These changes are one way to show that we
are willing to accommodate and make changes for businesses,”
Alderman Dennis Hegy asked if the height
restriction in the city’s industrial park is still 45 feet.
“Yes, it is,” Drew said.
“That’s something we might want to look at
changing as well,” Hegy said.