HERMITAGE — The city’s revised zoning ordinance could come before city commissioners as soon as this month after approval this week by the Hermitage Planning Commission.

The commission voted unanimously Monday to recommend the new zoning ordinance to the city board of commissioners.

Jeremy Coxe, the city’s director of planning and development, said the zoning ordinance will be presented to the commissioners at their next meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 16.

If the commissioners vote to introduce the ordinance in December, they would hold a public hearing in January with a final vote on the ordinance sometime in February, Coxe said.

The proposed zoning ordinance has been in the works for almost a year and was among five core values identified in the city’s Comprehensive Plan, a guide for developing Hermitage through 2030. The plan, which the commissioners approved in June 2019, recommended aligning the city’s zoning with projected and desired non-residential development goals.

As part of the development process, the city held a pair of public meetings in October to allow the public and Hermitage commissioners could examine the zoning ordinance. Officials and residents were able to provide comments, including discussions on topics such as telecommunication facilities and the proposed city center district in the area of Shenango Valley Mall.

That input was incorporated into the new ordinance, Coxe said.

Hermitage has not made extensive updates to its zoning ordinance since 1991. Coxe said the city has made some minor amendments over the years.

While this newest ordinance would be a major update, most areas zoned as residential or commercial will remain mostly unchanged. Some areas will change under the proposed changes. The ordinance calls for the area around Joy Cone Co.’s factory on Lamor Road changing from residential to commercial, and the Route 18 South overlay district becoming a neighborhood mixed-use district, Coxe said.

Other areas will be rezoned for mixed use as well to allow for more flexible development in the future, Coxe said.

“It is a wholesale change, but at the same time we’re just going in and hopefully simplifying it,” Coxe said.

Like David L. Dye on Facebook or email him at ddye@sharonherald.com.

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