The nonprofit organization hired by Gonzales to rework the city’s zoning ordinance has completed a first draft, with further work on the ordinance, as well as public hearings, to come in the next few months.

City Clerk Clay Stafford told Planning and Zoning Commission members on Monday that the proposed new ordinance, being developed by the Center for Planning Excellence of Baton Rouge, could possibly come before the City Council for final approval in late April.

Commission members looked over the draft, which they said already is far easier to read than the city’s current one, which is decades old.

“They’ve done a remarkable job,” Commissioner John Cagnolatti said of CPEX.

The proposed ordinance adds several new zoning categories, including mixed-use district zoning for pedestrian-scaled residential and retail centers, and a main street district.

New apartment zoning that allows for 25 units per acre has been added to apartment zoning already in place for apartment complexes with a lower density, or number of units per acre.

At the higher density levels, developers would have to provide a certain number of amenities such as a clubhouse, swimming pool, dog park, playground or walking path.

Stafford said CPEX also will be drafting an ordinance on landscaping for commercial projects.

“It’s the first time ever that the city of Gonzales will have a landscape ordinance,” Stafford said.

Also on Monday, commissioners also learned more about a new website the city began using in December that makes it easier for contractors to submit plans online and apply for permits, as well as for residents and developers to submit items like rezoning requests and special use permits.

The website is called MyPermitNow.org and, in this area, is also used by Ascension and East Baton Rouge parishes.