BAXTER -- Development has been a key word in Baxter.
Recently the city averaged construction of 100 houses per year. This year there are less than 50 new homes.
In 2004, the city had 12 planned unit development applications of varying sizes and 26 plats for subdivisions. In November, the city enacted a six-month moratorium on PUDs, which can create neighborhoods (often clustered together) with individually owned homes with common ownership of green space or trails or a dock.
Baxter City Administrator Dennis Coryell said the way the city's ordinance is set up it almost requires the city to approve PUDs even if they may not make sense in a certain location.
In November, the city established a six-month moratorium on PUDs.
Baxter is looking at standards for land development and not just for commercial areas. Residential landscaping standards are being considered that will keep neighborhoods more green. Public meetings are planned to provide an outlet for those talks involving residents and developers. Coryell said the city is not going to make those decisions in a vacuum.
"Even people who don't live in Baxter have a stake in what it looks like," he said. "Wal-Mart taught us that."
One of the questions is how residential and commercial or retail areas will interact with each other.
Baxter neighborhoods were typically built with a suburban model without sidewalks. But an emphasis on trails is trying to make residential areas more pedestrian friendly.
Greg Wagner, the new city planner, said Baxter is trying to provide more neighborhood parks. Past park development focused on athletic activities. Now the city is looking at parks for passive enjoyment from picnics to Frisbee throwing and retaining natural areas for hiking or bird watching.
RENEE RICHARDSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5852.
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