BAXTER -- What happens when a time expires on a development's plat and the city has changed its fee schedule in the interim?
Baxter City Council members struggled with that for a lengthy session Tuesday and eventually split on a 3-1 vote, with council member Mark Cross opposed, for on two requests by developers to replat without paying filing fees. Baxter Mayor Gary Muehlhausen was absent.
Dave Schultz had a request to replat a Bitterroot development with no fees. Schultz said he was waiting for a council decision on municipal services in connection with the Clearwater Road and Inglewood Drive project. Michael Domitrovich, Rapid River Lodge in Baxter, also requested a replat and waiving of fees. The city is likely to have a cost with a replat.
City Planner Todd Holman said he has to refer to the ordinance, which requires the city to republish information regarding the plats and send notices out to neighbors. For 2002, park fees have increased from $250 a unit to $500 a unit.
The council voted to allow the replats for these developments caught when the fees changed and there will be no fees if the plats are done by Dec. 31. Once redone the developer has a year to keep the plat active and will have to go to the city annually to keep the plat active.
Cross said he was voting no to be consistent with a previous vote against Clearwater Estates and JMS developers. Council member Darrel Olson said he agreed with Cross and voted with him earlier but at this time but the council majority spoke and it would not be fair to turn these other developers down in view of the earlier vote.
Another decision regarding Fountain Properties was tabled after two motions died for lack of a second. City staff recalculated park fees for a replat as an extra lot and more units were added and used the new fee level. Park fees changed since the development was platted. Credit was given for payments received for the previous rate for 14 units. Adding land or units to a development triggers a reassessment of park fees in the city's ordinance.
The Parks and Recreation Commission recommended Fountain Properties pay the new $500 fee for three lots. Cross said he felt staff was correct in its original calculations and if land is replatted it comes in the with the new park dedication fees. Cross said the council should be careful about setting a precedent where developers could come in with replats and use outdated fee schedules.
Council members Mary Marana and Barb Wells suggested various fee options. Cross said none of those options were allowed by the city's rules. Marana said the developer should not be penalized for changes. Marana and Wells said the developer should get credit for what had been paid and Cross affirmed each time the credit was granted.
Olson said he agreed with Cross and reminded the council that Holman warned them more replats would be forthcoming when the council voted to accept Clearwater Estates, which was an expired plat. But Olson said the commission's idea for payment may be a fair compromise.
Finally the council agreed to table a decision until Sept. 17. The park fund, fees, developers payments versus establishing neighborhood parks and the Fountain Properties pending decision are subjects expected to come up at the Baxter workshop meeting set at 5 p.m. Sept. 11 at city hall.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.