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Thread: Museums - definition and where allowed?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
    Feb 2002

    Museums - definition and where allowed?

    Our current ordinance only discusses "public" museums, they are allowed by special use in the residential districts.

    Someone wants to open a museum in the downtown. I think it fits in with the whole idea of entertainment and gathering downtown.

    Anyone have a good definition of museum, and also, is it listed in your ordinance with other uses (art gallery, theaters, etc.). Does it matter if it is public or privately owned?


  2. #2
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
    Nov 2002
    Paris of Appalachia
    Museums here are considered Cultural Services, which are split into two separate use classifications.

    Cultural Service (Limited): means a Cultural Service with a gross floor area of 5,000 square feet or less. These are allowed in the residential districts by special exception, and are permitted by right in the downtown and in mixed-use districts.

    Cultural Service (General): Anything over 5,000 square feet. These are permitted by right in the downtown districts and in four mixed-use districts (Urban Industrial, General Industrial, Highway Commercial, and Urban Neighborhood Commercial). They are allowed by Special Exemption in Neighborhood Industrial Districts and Local Neighborhood Commercial Districts. General Cultural Service uses are not allowed in residential zones.

    Hope that helps a little.
    Last edited by biscuit; 06 Oct 2004 at 12:16 PM.

  3. #3
    Mod Gedunker's avatar
    Aug 2003
    The Wonderland Way
    Museum, per se, is not defined in our (vintage) Zoning Code. The use, however, is lumped with Public Library and is permitted in all districts, except the industrial districts, by Special Exception.

    Our former Carnegie Free Public Library is now the county museum. It is located downtown and is an integral part of the cultural facilities that the municipality offers. Support if you can find a way.
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Feb 1998
    Greensburg, Kansas
    Dodge encourages museums. As of right downtown and highway commercial, conditional in all other districts. As a conditional use (special exception) the commission looks at:
    "the proposed use, detailing: hours of operation, provision of studios, presence of retail sales, character of proposed events and exhibits, and anticipated number of visitors, employees, and volunteers."

    The definition is brief:
    "A facility and grounds for display of historial interest artifacts. Includes 'living museum', which replicates life styles from a former era. Gift shops and food and beverage service operated for patrons are examples of accessory uses customarily associated with museums."

    Museums are grouped with art galleries here, no distinction between public and private.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Cheese State
    For controversy, look to Black Point in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Lake Geneva was the resort area of Chicago's wealthy elite a century ago. They built palatial summer homes on the shore. Many of these, strangely, shared a seasonal design with their less-wealthy neighbors. They were "cottages" meant only to be lived in during the warm months.

    Black Point is about the last of these. The owners proposed giving the $3-4 million estate to the State of Wisconsin to preserve it as a historic site. Their wealthy neighbors were aghast. You could hear the monacles dropping into champaign glasses all the way to Madison. It was as if somebody had suggested hitching their polo ponies to a farm wagon. Why, a museum would bring those people right into their neighborhood!
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