Oregon is currently in the process of updating its zoning code to make it more business friendly.
Mayor Mike Seferian said advancements in technology building materials spurred the city to review the code.
It is part of a three pronged approach by the city to become more business friendly, he said.
Last month, the city updated its sign code, which was followed by council’s approval of a new weed ordinance.
“We’ve accomplished a couple of things this year. We completed the sign code amendment, and we’ve completed the weed ordinance,” said Administrator Mike Beazley. “We’re trying to have a balance between working effectively with our businesses and to continue to improve Oregon’s appearance.”
Seferian said changes in the requirements for building materials will hopefully make it easier for small businesses to get started.
“Sometimes, you get busy in your day to day operations, and you forget that things are changing around here. We have to keep up with the times and be practical. We’re going to pay closer attention to that on an ongoing basis. As different technology and styles come into existence, we’ll try to adjust to the times,” said Seferian.
Small businesses have to meet the same building standards as big businesses, he said, which can be impractical.
“We need to address smaller buildings a little more fairly,” he said.
“If someone wanted to build an ice cream shop to compete with one across the street that is 20 years old, it would be difficult because of the need to meet costlier masonry and architectural design requirements. It would cost four or five times as much as the older shop because of our current standards. There are all kinds of requirements to meet,” said Seferian.
“The intent of the architectural design and standards for commercial buildings was so we don’t have a bunch of big buildings that end up looking like big boxes that didn’t have any integrity whatsoever. They might be big stores, but they looked like warehouses and not very attractive. So it was really geared to give a certain look to a big building, but smaller buildings had to meet the same requirements. We need a little different standard for small buildings, but one where they would still look good.”
The definition of a small business will also be discussed, he said.
“What is the square footage of a building that is considered a small business? Right now, we have one set of rules for both small and big businesses. That is something we’re going to look at,” he said.
“I believe we can still incorporate something into our zoning code for small businesses that is more fair than what we currently have,” he said.