WAHOO – A proposed set of design standards for future buildings in Wahoo’s transportation corridors took another step forward last week.

With its stamp of approval last Thursday, the Wahoo Planning Commission sent the new policy to the Wahoo City Council.

City officials have been discussing for some time the possibility of introducing design standards to the community and a committee, under the consulting guidance of Five Rule Rural Planning, has developed the proposal.

Last week was not the Planning Commission’s first look at the new design standards. But, the agenda item was to review one more time and hold a public hearing on them. No one from the public was present to speak during the hearing.

During commission discussion, Bobbi Pettit with Five Rule Rural Planning explained the goal was to create some basic guidelines for developing along the major transportation corridors.

Currently, Wahoo has overlay districts in place for the Highway 77 Expressway and Chestnut Street and these new standards would be in place for any development proposed in those areas.

But, also recommended for the corridor standards are First Street and 15th Street where they serve as entries and exists into the community.

“There will no longer be Chestnut corridor or gateway corridor. In place of it, we’re calling it transportation corridor,” Pettit said.

The transportation corridor does not change zoning districts in these areas.

“We’re not changing use,” she added.

Three new descriptions for areas will be created within the design standards, however. These areas will describe locations within the corridor and will tell a developer to what level they must meet the design standards.

The goal is not to discourage developers, but to give them a clear idea of what the city expects and to form an easy way for the city to communicate that.

The committee has proposed a checklist as a tool to be used by both developers and the city.

The proposed design standards also includes a design evaluation calculator.

The proposed design standards include such items as roof pitch, blank wall treatment, building material, paint colors, parking plan, and landscaping. Each of these requirements is assigned points and developers will need to reach a certain amount of points per area to be able to be considered.

Some “standards” will have more points than others and developers will earn points by the options they chose.

Planning Commission Member Dave DuBois said the design standard proposal was a long time in the making but seemed to make sense.

“There was progress made and there is a product,” he said.

The design standards will now go before the city council and will have another public hearing later this month.

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