The Rigby City Council decided to modify the proposed historical downtown overlay Thursday night, starting with renaming it to simply downtown overlay.
“There is a connotation when we say ‘historic downtown,’ all of a sudden the buildings are going to be registered,” Mayor Jason Richardson said. “The intent of this is to allow that walking-feel that we have on Main Street.”
Rigby City Planner Sharon Parry originally introduced the proposal during the March 21 council meeting. She has stated that one of the most important concepts is to have zero front frontage for businesses downtown, meaning the building entrance is right on the sidewalk.
“The idea would be to continue that feel down Main Street,” Richardson said.
Richardson said each of the businesses Parry has spoken with have been in favor of the overlay. Councilman Kirk Olsen said he has received a similar response.
Councilman Doug Burke again noted his distaste for the proposed ordinance. He said businesses that he has spoken to have allegedly been “disgusted” by the proposal. Later in the discussion he said other businesses he has spoken with, such as Les Schwab and Scotty’s True Value, feel like not being included in the overlay is a “slap in the face.”
“They’ve been paying taxes, they’ve been paying Urban Renewal and everything else, they want to be involved,” Burke said.
Les Schwab Manager Bruce Byram and Scotty’s True Value Owner Kirk Scott said Burke never spoke with them regarding the downtown overlay.
Councilman Benson Taylor said he thinks the overlay would bring in more shops to the downtown area that would make it more desirable.
“If we don’t do this, it won’t bring in those other businesses that could make the downtown beautiful,” he said. “It precludes them from coming.”
Councilwoman Nichole Weight also suggested a section be added that states residences on the south end of West Main Street will not be required to abide to the proposed ordinance.
“I think that’s a really great idea,” Parry said.
Another aspect the council request Parry look at was parking.
“I guess the language I’m looking for is that although we’re look for diagonal parking and on-street parking, that they (businesses) would be held to the amount of parking that is currently required in commercial,” Richardson said.
A public hearing for the proposed overlay is scheduled for April 18.
The objective of the proposed ordinance is as follows: promote primarily retail on the ground floor of buildings; promote primarily residential loft living and tech, high-tech, and upstart small business on the upper stories; promote and enhance lasting historic elements and the community’s unique architecture while accommodating new development initiative; to promote a unique sense of place that cannot be replicated elsewhere; to promote an exciting, growing and aesthetically pleasing downtown commercial district that will attract shoppers, visitors and those who may want to make future investments in properties and businesses in Rigby; and to increase the community’s awareness of Rigby’s unique and authentic architectural assets.