City revising zoning, subdivision ordinances

The City of Odessa is looking at revising a number of outdated ordinances related to land usage and development amidst the oil boom and the developments that come with it.
Interim City Attorney Gary Landers said both the Planning and Zoning Department and the Public Works Department are looking at making revisions to the zoning ordinance, the subdivision ordinance and the improvements ordinance.
“That’s kind of a big deal, because that deals with land use, with development and building,” Landers said. “These are just real core city services, basic stuff that are vital to Odessa with this boom and building.”
Randy Brinlee, director of the City Planning Department, is overseeing the updating of the zoning and subdivision ordinances, which he said need updating due to the amount of time they’ve gone unrevised. The zoning ordinance hasn’t been updated since 2004, the subdivision ordinance since 1980.
The zoning ordinance doesn’t currently account for mixed-use developments, such as a building with retail on the first floor and apartments on the second floor, and Brinlee said they’ll also be adding a zoning called single-family four, which many developers are doing now.
“What it is, is just an updating and a cleaning up and actually sort of a reformatting of the ordinance to make it a lot more user-friendly,” Brinlee said.
Brinlee said the importance of zoning for the city is to ensure compatibility of land uses in proximity with one another to avoid any conflicts with other existing land uses, allowing property owners to enjoy their property to the fullest extent without adjacent properties acting as a detriment.
The subdivision ordinance deals with establishing requirements for the landscaping of properties in order to maintain and enhance property values and improve the quality of life of residents in those subdivisions. Brinlee said some of what they’re looking at revising in the ordinance involves adding a concept plan where a developer of a subdivision can come in with a concept of what they want to do to present to city staff, who make sure the infrastructure is in place to proceed with the development.
Brinlee said they are also planning to streamline the ordinance more, which he said should help to speed up the process of approving and building new developments.
“What we’re planning on doing before we proceed any further, we’ll sit down with developers and firms and go over everything with them and get some feedback that way to see what we need to do before we proceed any further,” Brinlee said.
The revising of the improvements ordinance is being overseen by the city’s public works department. That ordinance deals with the handling of improvements to infrastructure such as streets, alleyways, and drainage, water and sewer systems, as well as the ongoing relationship between who pays for what between developers and property buyers.
“When someone is doing a development such as a subdivision or things like that, we have standards for street improvements, drainage and those types of things,” Public Works Director Tom Kerr said. “The ordinance hasn’t been revised in over a decade or more.”
Kerr said the revising is also partially related to the oil boom and the growth in development, but said it’s still very early in the process and they still need to identify areas in the ordinance where they will talk to developers and engineers to talk about possible revisions.
Landers said he expects all three revised ordinances to be completed and approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council before the end of the year.