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Troy may create new tourism zoning district

Troy is considering a new kind of zoning district that officials say could help to recruit special projects in the future.

Melissa Sanders, planning and zoning administrator, said that an amendment to the zoning ordinance to create a Tourism Development District (TDD) zone could be used to fit tourist developments while protecting residential areas.

The zone is being partially created with the construction of Conecuh ridge Distillery in mind, according to Troy Mayor Jason Reeves.

““It’s very important from listening to the concerns of adjacent residents, we want very specific zoning to accommodate them that won’t leave it there as industrial if something doesn’t work out,” Reeves said.

Sanders said the new district is not solely for the distillery though; it will be a district that could fit future projects that don’t already fit into one of the other categories.

“What the city and planning commission has done is looked at creating a special district created to preserve characteristics around area and the neighborhoods,” Sanders said.

According to the notice, the intent of the district is to provide for large acreage under a unified control to be planned and developed as a whole to encourage the growth of tourism oriented mixed-use properties…”

That means that properties over 50 acres under one owner would qualify to be TDD developments if they contain at least three permitted uses including general and specialized farming, forestry and agricultural uses except commercial animal feed lots and poultry farms, conservation areas and wildlife resource areas, nature and recreational areas and facilities, parks and playgrounds, restaurants (no drive-in facilities), places of amusement and assembly, cultural can community facilities, museums and art galleries, plant nurseries and greenhouses, craft distilleries, cabins or single-unit limited-stay rental housing and accessory retail, office and other structures tied into one or more of the above uses.

For example: the proposed Conecuh Ridge Distillery project includes eventual plans not just for a distillery, but also an exhibit of an old moonshine distillery, a restaurant, a retail store and cabins.

The district would promote “creative concepts” according to the notice and Sanders said it also protects surrounding residents and the natural environment.

“It’s being created to preserve the natural environment where it is housed and the character of the adjacent properties while providing for more tourism and economic growth,” Sanders said. “It’s designed for us to be able to recruit more tourism development types, not just in this one location, but other opportunities in the City of Troy.”

For example, the building height requirement will limit structures to the same standards as residential zoning.

The city council will take up the proposed amendment at their Tuesday, February 13 meeting.