City councilors voted at their July 21 meeting to reduce the front setback to 40 feet from 60 feet on many properties inside the bypass.

Codes and Planning Director Wayne Marshall said the city recently changed its minimum lot size to 7,500 square feet, and the 60-foot setback requirement left little space to develop on a lot that size. A 40-foot front setback will allow more room for development on small lots.

The zoning change does not apply to all properties inside the bypass, but several on Birch, School and High streets and Northport Avenue. The setback will be reduced to 20 feet on some outer High Street properties.

A resident who owns property on both High and Church streets said there was confusion about which road his property is considered to face. Marshall said driveways are the indicator of which road a property faces.

In this case, the resident's driveway is on Church Street, so his property is considered to face that road, Marshall said. The resident was concerned that because the wording did not specifically reference front setback, there might be confusion later about how it should be interpreted and he might be prevented from putting in a High Street driveway.

Councilors asked that Marshall add wording to the new ordinance that specifically refers to front setbacks instead of vaguer language that might later be incorrectly interpreted as any setback.