‘Rezone’ Winters, economic report advises

The report provides outlines of the strengths and weaknesses of Winters’ economy.
Graphic: Winters Express
Graphic: Winters Express

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A report published in March by the city-commissioned Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) says the City of Winters should revisit land uses in the current city plans if it wants to attract businesses.

It provides an outline of key strengths and weaknesses in the Winters economy, identifying problems like lack of diversity in industry and the inability of people who live in Winters to work here as well as points that could be improved.

The report makes five recommendations, two of which would make sweeping and specific changes to the kinds of land uses ordained by current zoning districts.

It prescribes specific “zoning clean ups” to drive economic development in several city plan areas. For instance, it recommends that the downtown planning area be rezoned to include office, commercial and residential uses, which would make the city center more robust. The recommendations, which also includes under-developed areas in North Winters and business districts along Road 89 and Highway 505, are all geared towards diversity that’s inviting to businesses that can operate freely in Winters and bring jobs.

The other major land use recommendation made by the report is that the city completely replan the Flood Overlay Zone with the help of property owners to change current policies which, through fees and other restrictions, deter development of that land.

EDAC calls for establishing an Economic Development Coordinator with an office in town as well as a board to deal with economic development issues. It’s final recommendation is the establishment of local and regional partnerships to advance economic growth.

City Manager John Donlevy took the report before the Planning Commission for a second time June 25 to hear additional input.

“The objective really is very simple: get as much input as we can. Then I’m gonna take it back to the council and ask, ‘Hey what do you want to do with this?’” Donlevy said.

Community input was welcomed in addressing economic issues.

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  1. Currently, I’d say parking and flood planning should be the top priority. We can’t attract business & development with the amount of flooding we’ve had. Residential apartments and condos above retail downtown is a good idea, as long as plenty of parking is provided. People are already discouraged from coming to Winters due to lack of parking.

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