The Manassas City Council unanimously approved a new zoning designation Monday that allows developers to build residential and commercial space on the same land.
The council passed the zoning change "to promote self-sufficiency and sustainability," entice commercial developers and ensure the city's financial health, said Liz Via, Manassas's director of community development. Manassas has few available parcels for development.
In response to community concern over one developer's plan to use the new zoning, the council changed part of the requirements. The original zoning -- called a planned mixed-use district -- would have allowed buildings as tall as 96 feet, which is more than eight stories. The council reduced that to 70 feet.
"Instead of trees, we may be looking at towering brick fronts," said Jim Rogers, whose house would overlook Hastings Marketplace, a mixed-use development proposed for Liberia Avenue near the Prince William Parkway. Hastings Marketplace, proposed by Opus East LLC, would include a village and shopping center.
"Its not that we're against" planned mixed-use district, Rogers said of his neighbors on Troutman Court. "We want an appropriate transition into this area."
Council member Jackson H. Miller (R) praised the work by the planning office and noted that by lowering the height maximum, the council tried to address community concerns.
"What we're looking for is a better economic base to offset property taxes that residents pay," Miller said.
The city rarely profits from residential space, because tax revenue generated from homes is far less than the cost of services -- such as police, fire support and schools -- residences need. Commercial properties generate revenue and require fewer services.