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The City Council has approved the general plan for a research and business park and is now looking to develop a zoning ordinance to enforce the plan's guidelines.

The zoning ordinance does not deal with specific property.The Planning Commission will consider the zoning ordinance in a study session on May 2. A public hearing has been scheduled for May 9, said Leland Gamette, director of community development.

The city's general plan defines a research and business park as "an organized or planned development oriented primarily toward research laboratories and similar technological activities, as well as service businesses and corporate business headquarters."

It allows light manufacturing or assembly of "low bulk/high value" products, which may occur in industries such as publishing, pharmaceuticals, professional, scientific or electronic instruments and photographic or optical instruments.

According to the general plan, the research park must "establish lot size minimums, architectural provisions, landscaping requirements and parking requirements" which will allow the park to fit harmoniously in a residential area.

Design regulations will be made to regulate architectural design, site accessories, landscape design and storm drainage.

The difference between a research and business park and an industrial park is that the former is upscale and would fit more easily into a residential setting, Gamette said.

Development within the park will be subject to covenants and restrictions that will be documented on county records. These records are binding, even if ownership changes.

Also, the general plan states that "to help ensure this, the city should become a party of these covenants and restrictions and the neighborhood be included in the architectural review process."

Mayor Joe Jenkins said he thought the city should have legal authority to enforce the covenants.