BAXTER -- Since adopting a moratorium on planned unit developments Nov. 16, the city of Baxter has been working toward creating a more restrictive PUD ordinance.
At the fourth PUD revision meeting Thursday at Baxter City Hall, staffers presented council members, city commission members and interested people with the latest draft ordinance.
The purpose of Baxter's draft ordinance is to establish provisions for a planned unit development in which there is more than one principal building or use for a lot, essentially cluster development, as well as set standards for such developments.
City Planner Greg Wagner said the four points in the draft PUD ordinance that have received the most comments are acreage, private roads, landscaping and mixed uses. Receiving the most discussion Thursday were the acreage and landscaping.
The draft ordinance establishes a minimum of 10 acres for a PUD in a low-density residential district, five acres in medium- and high-density districts and zero acres in commercial and office space districts.
Council member Rosemary Franzen said the council recently adopted criteria allowing PUDs on 2.5 acres in residential districts.
"I don't think they need to be that big," Franzen said of the 10-acre minimum in the PUD draft ordinance. Planning and Zoning Commissioner Bob Ryan argued that a less than 10-acre minimum would create neighborhoods that are too dense.
City Attorney Brad Person said the 10-acre minimum was put into the draft ordinance based on comments from previous meetings. He said a lower number could be put into a revised draft ordinance for further comment.
The draft ordinance also set landscaping at 60 percent of the entire plat for low-density residential, 50 percent for medium-density residential, 30 percent for high-density residential, 25 percent for office space and neighborhood commercial and 20 percent for general commercial.
"What that means is for a 10-acre development, four acres could be a house, road or garage and six acres would have to be landscaping," Wagner said. One man in attendance said the amount of landscaping should be a negotiable item. Person suggested the city's landscape ordinance could be revisited.
The biggest change to the draft ordinance, Wagner said, was the addition of mixed uses for PUDs. Such mixes of residential and commercial would be permitted if 80 percent of the floor area is compatible within the zone, the use is consistent with the comprehensive plan and any mixed use is set forth in the preliminary plat.
"It's something that wasn't allowed before in Baxter," Wagner said.
The draft PUD ordinance will receive its first public hearing at Tuesday's Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, though it might be tabled to allow for more comments. Person noted the requirements listed in the draft ordinance are still subject to change.
"Like all these numbers, we just threw something out there. If no one argues, then it stays," Person said.
The next PUD revision meeting is tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. March 24.
MATT ERICKSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.
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