by AARON BROM
SUN PRESS Newspapers
A developer proposes building 437 homes in Corcoran, certainly enough to meet the city’s units-per-acre standard, or is it?
That’s the question the city council and planning commission will answer as they seek to better define how the units-per-acre are calculated.
The council also discussed potential lift station locations to serve the new development.
City planner Kendra Lindahl updated the council about revisions in the density definitions in the city code.
At issue is the city’s first ever municipal residential development, the Lennar development site proposed for 437 single family homes on 265 acres in the city’s southeast corner.
“Based on the preliminary information available with the (Lennar) sketch plan, staff estimates that the density based on the current ordinances definitions would be approximately 2 units per acre, where the comprehensive plan anticipates 3 to 5 units per acre,” Lindahl said in her memo to the council.
All cities, including Corcoran, within the Metropolitan Council’s domain must submit comprehensive plan growth documents that must be approved by the Met Council.
The council had asked staff to research the current net land area/net density definition and if it could be changed to more accurately reflect the development density, and if dwelling units could be counted as housing units for density calculation.
Lindahl said the city’s definition of gross density, net density and developable area is different than the Met Council’s. She said the city could change its definition to align more with the Met Council’s, which removes park land and/or trail easements from the density calculation, in addition to wetland buffer areas.
“Removal of one or more of these areas would result in a higher density for any development that included park dedication or wetland buffers,” she said.
Lindahl said staff recommends density and developable area be calculated by the number of housing units divided by the net residential acreage (gross land area minus park dedication, streams, wetlands etc.).
“If the city council were to change the definition of net density as proposed, the Lennar concept plan reviewed by the council in July would change from the initial 2 units per acre to 3.1 units per acre,” Lindahl said.
The council approved scheduling a public hearing for Oct. 3 with the planning commission regarding new definitions for net density and net developable acres.
Lennar has yet to submit a preliminary plat, which would trigger the approval process.
In related Lennar development matters, the council heard from city engineer Kent Torve regarding location of a lift station that would serve the Lennar site and southeast Corcoran.
“The council should direct staff on the location of the southeast lift station since Lennar is preparing for submittal for preliminary plat, and the lift station location affects the on-site utility layout,” Torve said in a memo.
He said there are two options for the sewer system, with pros and cons of each. The first is the Lions Park location, and the second is at the Lennar property.
Torve said Lennar is moving forward and expects a completed environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) in September.
Mayor Ken Guenthner and the council looked at the long term and felt the Lions Park would be the preferred location, with a lower long-term cost and conserving a piece of right-of-way. Lennar would still need to trigger the process, including finishing design work of where the sewer would go.
In other action, the council:
APPROVED an agreement with Ryan Companies for its donation of a 21.59-acre parcel at Old Settlers Road just south of Larkin Road.
HEARD an update about the under construction public works facility. Walls are up, some block work needs to be done, and steel joist and roof installation are anticipated soon. Goal is for completion in mid-December.