By Nick Nunn staff writer

In an effort to accommodate the needs of Mannington’s Madison factory, the Madison City Council unanimously passed a text amendment, which will change dimension allowances for Light Industrial (I-1) districts and Heavy Industrial (I-2) districts.

The updated changes were also an effort to differentiate the Heavy Commercial (C-5) regulations from the I-1 regulations, mapping the regulation changes from existing buildings in Madison’s I-1 and I-2 districts.

The amendment increased the minimum lot width and the minimum lot frontage for the I-1 and I-2 zones to 100 feet, but eliminated the maximum lot width for those zones. The minimum rear yard setback for I-2 was increased to 50 feet from 15 feet. The minimum building floor area increased to 5,000 square feet for I-1 and 20,000 feet for I-2, and the maximum building width for I-1 was increased from 230 feet to 300 feet.

The building height maximum for I-1 and I-2 was increased from 35 feet to 50 feet, and a note to the change stated that “beyond the building midpoint, the building height may be extended to a maximum of seventy-five foot [sic] to accommodate upper floor space not used to human occupancy.”

The increased maximum height was the main impetus for the amendment changes.

According to Bob Hughes, President of the Madison-Morgan Chamber of Commerce, Mannington requires a piece of heavy machinery, which would exceed the previous height limitation of 35 feet.

Monica Callahan, Madison Planning Director, stated that the amendment was an effort to work toward accommodating industry “in response to an industry’s request.”

Madison Planner Bryce Jaeck stated that the Planning Commission had some concerns about the proposed maximum height allowance interfering with operations at Madison’s airport, and Callahan stated that the city is currently working on an airport overlay district, which would mitigate the effects of the amendment change in the areas around the airport.

“We’ll come back with an overlay for the airport,” said Callahan.

Stratton Hickey expressed concerns that the proposed amendments would cause unnecessary difficulties on possible future industries because of the higher minimums placed on building sizes.

Callahan responded by saying that industries typically look for zoning regulations that would restrict neighboring properties to similarly sized industries, and Hughes stated that he would like to “applaud” Callahan for looking to change the restrictions according to existing conditions in the districts.

Council Member Joe DiLetto seconded Hughes praise of Callahan’s “proactive” approach on this matter.

The council also voted to approve a yearly memorandum of understanding with the Georgia Classic Main Street Program, as well as a revised intergovernmental agreement between the city and the Morgan County Board of Elections and Registration.

According to City Attorney Joe Reitman, the agreement was revised “simply to track state law” and is “quite well within protocol.”

Madison City Manager David Nunn also reported on an upcoming intergovernmental agreement between the city and the Morgan County Board of Education, who will become custodian of residual grant funds owed to System of Care after this year.

Nunn also stated that, for the coming year, the city will be focusing on maintaining the airport’s existing 3,800 foot runway and that expansions will have to be put on hold for now. Finally, Nunn indicated that a filming project may be in the works for Madison.

Nunn said that the city will work to create a set of general policies and terms for filming, should the project materialize, and that Madison will “try to do a better job” with minimizing the impact to the citizens.