Archive for Thursday, December 28, 2006

East-side development tabled again

December 28, 2006

A proposed 15-home development on De Soto's east side was tabled for a second-straight month as the De Soto Planning Commission wrestled with its implications to the city's comprehensive plan.

Cedar Hills Estates on 20 acres on the southwest corner of Waverly Road and 89th Street would place large-lot septic-served homes on an area the city's comprehensive plan reserves for sewered subdivisions. The comprehensive plan reserved large-lot development for the area east of Waverly Road.

When the request for the preliminary plat on the subdivision first came before planning commissioners in November, they recalled the lengthy and sometimes contentious debate that accompanied the crafting three years ago of the comprehensive plan. That debate centered on the issue of where to reserve land for sewered subdivisions and large-lot development.

But as developer Rich Hollingsworth pointed out last month, sewers are not likely to be extended to the property in question for years. He also said neighboring homeowners would much rather see the large-lot subdivision he was proposing than denser urban subdivisions.

Told that was the type of argument he would have to make, Hollingsworth was instructed to work with city engineer Mike Brungardt to develop a report justifying an exception for the proposed development on land now owned my Erich Mahr.

Among the justifications Brungardt shared with commissioners Tuesday was the proposed development's compatibility with surrounding development and a promised utility easement that would allow sewers to be extended upstream. He also noted the 20 acres could be subject to lot splits that would allow six homes to be built on the property with no planning commission oversight.

Local real estate agent Joe Webb said that was exactly what would happen. Mahr was selling the property regardless, he said. If Hollingsworth's Cedar Hills Estates wasn't approved, it would be subdivided into four large lots, he said.

The developer will have to wait another month to get an answer. Brungardt requested tabling the request until the planning commission's Jan. 23 meeting because he was given a revised preliminary plat Tuesday and wanted to review the changes.

In addition, only four planning commissioners attended the meeting on the day after Christmas and any vote on a plat requires at least four votes in favor.

But Brungardt said Hollingsworth was looking for some indication from commissioners on whether it was worth pursuing the development. What he got Tuesday was a strong suggestion from Planning Commissioners Michael Kroeger and Bob Friday, who chaired the meeting in Kevin Honomichl's absence, that they wouldn't support the application because it ran counter to the comprehensive plan.

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