GRAYSON - The City Council decided Monday to keep the controversial parking requirements in its new zoning ordinance just the way they are.
When the ordinance was adopted in April, the council debated a section requiring new commercial developments in the uptown and Ga. Highway 20 overlay districts to have all parking behind the building - prohibiting any parking between the street and the building.
However, in the two months since approval, the council has decided rear-side parking may not be such a bad idea and unanimously voted to keep the restriction.
"This will require business to basically have two fronts - one on the street side and one on the backside where the parking is," Grayson Mayor Jim Hinkle said.
"This forces architects and developers to earn their money. Instead of using a cookie cutter plan, they will actually have to design something."
Under these new regulations, commercial projects will have smaller setback requirements from the road, which will move the buildings closer to the street and create a more pedestrian friendly development.
"In the past buildings have been designed for the convenience of cars," said Councilman Jimmy Adams. "With this requirement, our city will be more aesthetically pleasing without the parking in the front, and more user-friendly by forcing developments to have inter-parcel access.
"With fewer curb cuts and joint driveways, traffic will flow a lot better along (Ga.) 20."
The council approved several other changes to the text of the ordinance suggested by the city's planning firm, Precision Planning.
"We knew there were going to be changes when we approved this ordinance and Precision Planning has suggestions to make it easier to read and interpret," Hinkle said.
Council gives approval for community theater project
The council also approved a proposal by Tim Hall to bring a community theater to the city.
Hall made his proposal to the council at its May meeting, but with two council members absent, the council opted to table the issue for a month to allow the entire council to decide.
Hall did not request any funds from the city, only its approval to begin work on the project.
"I am very excited about this idea," said Councilwoman Suzanne Hawkins. "This is going to be just a wonderful thing for the city of Grayson."
To begin with, the community theater will perform at the city's Arts and History Center, in Grayson City Park or at area schools. Future plans include a community theater called the Trip Playhouse after the original name for the city of Grayson.
"Obviously, this is a good thing for our city," Hinkle said. "We really want to see you succeed."