ROCKLAND — The Rockland City Council will consider preliminary approval Monday night, Dec. 13 of a proposal to set a reduced square footage minimum size for residences throughout the city.

Councilor Nate Davis is sponsor of the proposed ordinance change that would set a 200-square-foot minimum for the floor area of dwelling units.

Current zoning sets minimum square footage requirements between 400 and 750 square feet, depending on the zone.

Davis said during the City Council’s Dec. 6 meeting the city’s land-use laws over-regulate. There is no public benefit to a variety of square footage requirements for a variety of zones, he said. And, he maintained, the rest of the world is going in a different direction than the city’s land-use laws.

The proposed change will not lead to a dramatic change in residential construction in Rockland, the councilor said.

Rockland residents approved 1,354 to 654 an advisory referendum on Nov. 2 that read: “Do you support amending Rockland’s zoning regulations to allow smaller, more efficient, more affordable dwellings?”

The Monday, Dec. 13 meeting begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall. If approved, a formal public hearing and final vote would be held Jan. 10.

At the Dec. 13 meeting, the Council also expects to hold a formal public hearing and possible final approval to an inclusionary zoning ordinance.

The proposed inclusionary zoning ordinance would cover any new construction or substantial renovation to six or more residential units. Twenty percent of the units would need to be affordable for workforce housing. Developers could pay a a fee of $150,000 per unit to the city in lieu of providing the affordable housing units.

Developers of hotels would be required to set aside one affordable housing unit for every 10 rooms they plan to build. Hotel developers could pay $5,000 per unit they are constructing in lieu of creating an affordable housing unit.

The Council will also vote on how to spend the $756,737 in American Rescue Plan Act money.

The Council will also consider Dec. 13 whether to accept a half-acre undeveloped lot at 239 Rankin St., offered as a donation by Richard Nightingale.

City Manager Tom Luttrell said Nightingale approached the city about the donation offer. The land is wooded and was suppose to be used a retention pond for a housing development on Old County Road. The manager said the property has a city sewer line that runs under the lot.

Councilor Louise MacLellan Ruf said the city should make sure there are no environmental issues with the property before the city votes to accept it.

Councilor Sarah Austin asked if the property could be used to help with stormwater management. Luttrell said he would research that possibility.

239 Rankin St. in Rockland. Photo by Stephen Betts