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(UPDATE) Decatur City Commission will discuss baby changing stations in restrooms, $300k planning contract

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(UPDATE) Decatur City Commission will discuss baby changing stations in restrooms, $300k planning contract

Decatur City Hall.
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Update: The City Commission approved the agenda items mentioned in this meeting, and the application for the Forkner Drive project was withdrawn. Here is our earlier story …

Decatur City Commissioners are considering a proposal that would require baby changing stations in all commercial and public restrooms in the city.

The requirement would apply to “new and substantially renovated commercial and public buildings,” a memo attached to the Aug. 19 meeting agenda says. The City Commission’s Aug. 19 meeting will begin with a work session at 6:45 p.m. followed by the regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. It will be held at City Hall, located at 509 North McDonough Street. All meetings are open to the public.

The proposal about baby changing stations is part of a proposed amendment to the city’s Unified Development Ordinance.

“The proposed amendments require that any new or substantially improved commercial property (a renovation with a project budget that exceeds 50 percent of the structure value), regardless of occupancy, shall have family or assisted use restrooms above the minimum requirements in the state adopted building codes,” the memo attached to the agenda says. “In addition, the proposed UDO amendments shall also require that all commercial and public restrooms in the City of Decatur be provided with baby changing stations. This requirement shall be enforced when a building permit is submitted for renovation to an existing commercial space regardless of whether the restroom is being renovated.”

The memo adds, “Staff believes that providing family or assisted use toilets and baby changing aligns with and expands Principle B, Goal 5, Task SF of the 2010 Strategic Plan which states: Adopt universal guidelines to allow new commercial buildings, businesses, and homes to be visitable by those with mobility impairments.”

In other business:

– Commissioners will consider awarding a $295,000 contract to Tunnell, Spangler and Walsh for “strategic planning services.”

“The city intends to update its successful 2010 Strategic Plan to chart the future of the city for the next decade through 2030,” the memo attached to the City Commission meeting agenda says. “The City anticipates the planning process will take about 12 months to provide adequate time to establish an outreach approach, research, robust citizen engagement and input, analysis, strategies and opportunities, along with the implementation plan. The visioning process should be thorough in its approach because it is meant to not only inform the citywide strategic plan, it will also inform a 10-year update for the citywide Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) Study, as well as a 5-year update to the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP).”

– Commissioners were going to consider an application that would allow for an a eight-home subdivision planned for the property at 258 Forkner Drive. The developer, Footprint Properties, LLC wants to build a mix of attached and detached houses as well as add a new street on the one-acre lot currently occupied by a single 10-unit apartment building. To do so, it must get permission from the City Commission for a new subdivision, as well as a special exception to the city’s building standards to reduce the required rear setbacks from four of the houses and reduce the width of the sidewalk along Forkner from six feet to five feet in width. The Decatur Planning Commission has recommended denying the application. Now the developer has asked to withdraw its application from the city commission’s Aug. 19 meeting agenda.

“Footprint Properties would like to withdraw its application,” the developer’s attorney Laurel David said in a letter attached to the meeting agenda. “This will also allow Footprint Properties time to give proper consideration to comments made at the Planning Commission hearing.”

Writer Cathi Harris contributed reporting to this story. 

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