Council wants more concrete numbers about parking
The Corcoran City Council discussed, but in the end tabled, a request from the Rockford School District for conditional use permit and variance approval of a new varsity baseball field.
The council wants city and school district staff to meet once more before taking up the matter again Dec. 12.
The council also chose an option of calculating housing density, and discussed Metropolitan Council population forecasts that are substantially different from the city’s forecast.
Mayor Ken Guenthner and councilors Rich Asleson, Diane Lynch, Tom Cossette and Ron Thomas again took up discussion regarding the school district’s request for varsity baseball field approval. The field is scheduled for construction just west of the Corcoran City Park, on school district land that is bordered by County Rd. 50 in the south and County Rd. 10 in the north.
The district has requested the city contribute funds to cover the costs of parking as well as roadway improvements to the site, as the field is intended to be a shared facility between the district and city.
City administrator Brad Martens said a paved parking lot ($120,000) would be required in the initial stage of the project, while a grass overflow parking lot ($38,000) could be built later based on usage. Additionally, the district is requesting a contribution for required turn lanes.
“In regards to the turn lanes, staff feels that this item could be delayed by request of the City until a later date when development takes place in the area as those lanes would more than likely not be in a location suitable to a future design,” Martens said in his staff memo. “Therefore it is staff’s opinion that the approximately $120,000 initial parking lot cost would be the required initial commitment for the project along with the previously (city contribution of) $45,000.”
Martens added that initial financial commitments for the baseball field project could be funded out of the city’s park dedication fund.
Staff did recommend the council approve a resolution approving the site plan amendment, conditional use permit and variances, as recommended by the planning commission.
“In regards to the financial commitments and shared use/maintenance agreement, staff believes this is a policy decision that should be made by the City Council so no recommendation exists,” Martens said.
Mayor Guenthner and the council discussed but did not reach consensus about the funding request. Rather, the council directed staff and school district staff to meet and return with specific options and cost for parking; for example, what kind of parking lot and how much would it cost.
The council will then bring the item back for discussion Dec. 12. The school district wants to bid the project as soon as this month, ahead of a construction start in 2014.
In other news, the council took action regarding a city-initiated ordinance amendment regarding housing density.
The council had directed staff to prepare new density definitions to better reflect the true development density in new developments, as well as suggesting a clarification to the accessory dwelling unit definition.
Such approval is needed by developers like the Lennar company, which is proposing what would be the city’s largest residential development, as well as the first in Corcoran serviced by municipal sewer and water. Lennar is proposing construction of hundreds of homes in the city’s southeast corner.
City planner Kendra Lindahl presented four different options on density definition, including the existing definition (Option 1), staff recommendation (Option 2) as well as options deducting pond areas from the equation (Option 3) and deducting ponds but not streets (Option 4).
A motion to approve Option 3 failed 4-1 (Cossette in favor).
The council then unanimously approved Option 2, which calculates density using: “The number of housing units divided by the net residential acreage (gross land area minus land to be dedicated as public park, lakes, streams, wetlands, required wetland or shoreland buffer strips, areas below the 100-year ordinary high water elevation, right-of-way or easements for existing and proposed public streets).”
Using Lennar’s 265 acres as an example, Option 2 would allow 422 homes on a net density of 3.09 units per acre, whereas the existing city density would be two homes per acre. Planner Lindahl said the city’s comprehensive plan anticipates 3 to 5 units per acre.
In further matters, the city learned that the Metropolitan Council’s preliminary year 2040 population forecasts significantly differ from the city’s 2030 forecast.
“Staff has met with Metropolitan Council staff to attempt to understand why the forecasts were significantly changed and feels strongly that they are inaccurate,” administrator Martens said.
Met Council’s forecast significantly reduced Corcoran’s number of households by 34 percent, population by 48 percent and employment by 68 percent. For example, Corcoran sees its 2030 population at 17,600 persons, whereas the Met Council forecasts 9,100 people.
The council unanimously authorized Martens to send a letter back to the Met Council stating Corcoran’s perspective.
In an excerpt from the letter, Martens said, “We expect that our infrastructure investment, regional transportation investment like the completion of Hwy. 610, and the energy created by the new Corcoran developments will spur growth at levels anticipated by the (city’s) 2030 forecasts. Corcoran’s forecasted growth for planning purposes should be based on an annual growth of approximately 168 new homes annually (for the next 26 years) and 2.8 persons per household instead of 2.275 persons per household proposed in the preliminary forecast.”
In summary, he requested the Met Council use the city’s 2030 numbers.
In other action, the council:
REACHED consensus to join the Northwest Hennepin League of Municipalities.