I’m at the public hearing for the Land Development Code (I should note that the media is not here). For a history of the project, see here. And now, after a mere 40 minutes, I’m heading home. Here’s what happened:
7:41 Richard Schulte moves that comments from the Colleges be included in future revisions. Steve Rholl asks that the Council provide guidance on this issue before this review takes place. This motion is also approved unanimously.
7:41 Vote on the issue: A unanimous recommendation to the Council. So much for that.
7:34 Tracy Davis says: “I would just like to get this thing in place since we know we’ll be amending it” and “we know we’re going to continue to work on it” even after 72 extra meetings and “countless” meetings with interest groups.
7:33 Ivan Imms moves that the Planning Commission recommends the City Council adopt the Land Development Code without further changes as of July 7, 2011. Discussion begins…
7:32 The public hearing is closed. For a process which began in 2008 if not before, this public hearing was certainly an anticlimax.
7:30 Richard Noer, who has observed the proceedings on behalf of NESNA, and thanks the Planning Commission and the Colleges for the productive way the process has unfolded and underlying the spirit of compromise leading to a good outcome.
7:26 Alan Norton, Vice President and Treasurer at St. Olaf. Thanks, etc., then referring to the June 28 letter to the Planning Commission as the basis for their comments. In addition to “editorial” comments of a small, technical nature, Mr. Norton turns to the more “substantive” comments. Mr. Norton is followed by Carleton’s VP and Treasurer Fred Rogers, noting “we do feel heard” and the “dialogue has been very constructive” and both advocating for accepting the revisions suggested.
7:24 Jim Herreid points out that the Planning Commission held 72 special meetings in addition to regularly scheduled Planning Commission meetings. Mr. Schulte thanks Brian O’Connell and Sandy Bremer, administrative assistant, for their time and effort. Yes, it has been long and arduous.
7:20 Richard Schulte of the Planning Commission asks Mr. O’Connell asks about the land behind Target which is to be zoned N2-B and wonders how a developer would develop something which didn’t fit into the use regulations of N2-B (see, the use problem surfaces already). Response: a map or text amendment. Since this is the property slated for the new Y facility, it would not fit the N2-B regulations. The Y has already submitted an application for a conditional use permit under the “old” (which is to say, current) code, so they would be grandfathered in under the Mixed Use regulations.
7:12: “This could be on their agenda as early as their last meeting in July” says Mr. O’Connell indicating the Council could approve the first reading of the land development code as early as July 19.
7:09 Mr O’Connell, perhaps for the benefit of the Carleton and St. Olaf College representatives who are in attendance, reviews the changes to the College Development Zone. The final draft represents many meetings between the Planning Commission and college representatives. The final result is not entirely to the colleges’ liking, but that’s probably to be expected. The city’s interests are not identical to the colleges, especially at the edges of the campuses where residential neighborhoods interface with the college (see this item, for instance, for an example of issues which occur)
7:04 Brian O’Connell gives an introduction to the document and the process. Walking the Planning Commission through the staff report accompanying the draft regulations he draws attention to the “famous use table.” I’d call it the “infamous use table” because this long table makes painfully obvious what did not happen in drafting this code. The Comprehensive Plan promised a form-based code rather than one based on the use of the property in question. The pages long use table itemizes which uses are permitted in each zoning district (and if not listed, the use is presumed prohibited) which is about as far from a form-based code as we could get. It is not clear what happened to the form-based code idea, but it got lost early in the process.
7:01 Tracy Davis opens the public hearing and looking out across the sparse audience (4 people including me) and observes that she had considered limiting comments to 3 minutes, but thinks “we can allow a little more time.”