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New Oswego zoning code takes effect

Payne Horning

For the first time in 40 years, the City of Oswego has a new zoning code. Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow says this comprehensive rewrite will position the city for growth and development for at least a couple decades.

The new code received unanimous support from the Oswego Common Council last month and recently received approval from New York state. Barlow says the code, which city officials worked on for 18 months, is designed to cater to pedestrian traffic downtown and make way for new businesses. One of the biggest changes is the phasing out of rental units and multi-family properties in some of the city's historic neighborhoods. 

"It just establishes our neighborhoods to be the asset they are and position them to grow," Barlow said. "Right now through the city, especially in the Oswego Renaissance Association target zones, we are seeing these neighborhoods bounce back and investment being made by single families. Even if it's a rental that appears nice from the outside, the disruption of a rental can still take away the value of single-family properties, so we're trying to protect that. We're trying to protect the neighborhoods that are bouncing back or that have remained strong after all of these years and just trying to identify identify zones where student housing, rental property is most appropriate."

Barlow says the new code will also be easier for city officials to enforce as the language is tighter and less open to interpretation than its predecessor's.

The changes in the zoning code do not apply to any nonconforming uses of property that exist now.

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.