Developer requests comp plan amendment
that would require super-majority vote
The Corcoran City Council reviewed a sketch plan for a residential development located on 103 acres of Schendel property near downtown.
The developer proposes rezoning the property from high density residential to low density, which would require a 4/5 vote of support from the city council.
The council also heard of a request to offer a compost site, and took action on other issues.
City planner Kendra Lindahl updated the council about the Schendel pre-sketch plan review.
She said the applicant, Peachtree Partners, requested to be placed on the agenda to discuss a possible development application for the 103.3-acre Schendel property located north of County Rd. 10 and west of County Rd. 116.
She said the applicants approached city staff about a possible single-family development proposal. The property is currently guided and zoned High Density Residential, and is one of only three areas in the Comprehensive Plan guided for High Density Residential.
“The Comprehensive Plan was developed to emphasize density in key areas of the city so that larger portions of the city could remain at a lower density and still meet (Corcoran’s) Metropolitan Council density requirements of a minimum of 3 units per acre,” Lindahl said in her memo to the council. “The request from the developer is allow development of a single family neighborhood with a planned density of approximately 4 units per acre (using the newly adopted net density definition).”
She said this would require that the property be re-guided through a Comprehensive Plan amendment from High Density Residential (10+ units per acre) to Low Density Residential (3-5 units per acre), and would require a 4/5 council vote of support.
Councilor Ron Thomas said he would not take action on the proposal due to a conflict. That means the city attorney will be asked to determine how the super-majority vote works if one member does not vote; for example, would all four remaining council votes need to be in consensus, or just three out of four?
Lindahl added that even if the city approves rezoning to lower density, the Met Council could require higher density in another area of the city.
“Historically, the Metropolitan Council has required cities who propose to reduce the density on one parcel to make it up on another,” Lindahl said. “If that continues to be the policy, the city council must consider that issue when reviewing this request.”
High density residential is guided for 10-plus units per acre, whereas low density is 3 to 5 units per acre. Peachtree is requesting 4 units per acre using the city’s newly adopted net density definition.
City administrator Brad Martens later said the council took feedback on the issue but that no decisions would be made until further review.
“A lot of unanswered questions need to be answered before giving firm support,” he said. “We’ll work with staff and figure out what it means to rezone from high to low density. How does that affect the future of Corcoran? We’ll talk it through with staff.”
In a letter to the editor submitted to Crow River News, former city councilor Chuck Lymangood said he gave input at the meeting before being “cut off and told to sit down.” Lymangood said he owns land near the Schendel property.
“How many single family homes has Peachtree – the applicant – built?” Lymangood said in his letter. “How many multifamily homes has Peachtree built? How long has Peachtree even been in existence? Why would you not ask the representative of the school district in attendance to speak? What other aspects of the Comprehensive Plan, besides density, are impacted by this proposal? What about issues like, affordability and connecting of neighborhoods? Will the Council include or exclude comments from the public regarding this Comprehensive Plan change?”
Martens said the next step is up to the applicant.
“The council didn’t voice support one way or another,” he said. “There’s just too many unknowns at this point. “I would expect the developer will request meetings with staff. It’s up to the developer if they want to bring it back to city council.”
In other action, the council heard that a resident had inquired about the city offering a compost site.
Staff noted that, for cities around Corcoran’s size, many do offer compost sites, while others do not. The council directed staff to further investigate options for Corcoran.
Administrator Martens said he expects staff to further consider the proposal in January.
In other action, the council:
APPROVED seven change orders for the new public works facility. Staff noted that delays in things like plumbing, cement work and ordering windows means substantial completion can’t be achieved until mid-January, with a “close out” date approximately Jan. 22.
APPOINTED councilors Thomas and Tom Cossette to the design guide sub committee. Planning and park commission members will also be appointed, as will two members of the general public. The committee will review issues such as design guidelines for the downtown area.
Contact Aaron Brom at firstname.lastname@example.org
The outlined area here highlights the proposed 103-acre development proposal for the Schendel property in downtown Corcoran. The council discussed a developer’s request for low density home construction at 4 units per acre. The property is zoned for high density or 10-plus units per acre.