City-passed UDO changes allow enhanced design standards for homeowners

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, January 27, 2022

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The LaGrange City Council held its second reading regarding adjustments to the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) on Wednesday night. The UDO was an endeavor to update all of the city’s development codes and was adopted in June of 2021.

City Planner Mark Kostial said there was an understanding when the original document was signed that it may need to be revisited and updated.

“We had alerted our elected officials to the fact that even though we spent two years updating all of these codes that there may be some subtle changes that we wanted to make in about six months after we practically applied everything that was in the new codes,” Kostial said. “The UDO is approximately 337 pages long, and we proposed 24 minor edits to the development codes that we established.”

Kostial said citizens will be pleased with the adjustments and overall UDO even if they are not in construction because it will result in enhancements to the city of LaGrange as a whole.

“For the everyday citizen, I think that they’re going to be very pleased with it because our unified development ordinance now requires enhanced design standards. It requires enhanced architectural standards,” Kostial said.

“There are a lot of noticeable improvements that citizens of LaGrange and visitors to LaGrange would readily notice even if they’re not directly impacted by building their own home or constructing their own business.”

Kostial said the adjustments were based on the feedback of those who helped put the UDO into practice in their respective industries or who helped write it.

“These adjustments we made are extremely positive because they’re all based upon feedback that we received from people in the industry, whether they be builders or developers. They brought these concerns to our attention,” Kostial said.

The UDO has ten listed purposes in helping the city of LaGrange. Kostial pointed to three as impacting citizens the most including improving the city’s appearance, improving mobility to include pedestrian activities and encouraging appropriate land use.

“The biggest one is number five: it improves the city’s appearance and number six: it improves mobility to include pedestrian activities and our transportation network. It encourages appropriate land use,” he said. Kostial said the UDO is a massive document that will directly impact the city and that he is not opposed to revisiting it again if the need arises.

“This is probably one of the largest pieces of legislation that the city has adopted in decades. It’s nearly 340 pages long. With the sheer volume of residential, commercial and industrial development that we’re currently working through, there may be some subtle adjustments that we will make in the future and that’s not necessarily a bad thing,” Kostial said.

“If we recognize that there is an obstacle that is put in place that is hindering appropriate growth and development, then we’d want to revisit that.”