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    12.    
City Council Regular
Meeting Date: 08/02/2017  
Subject:    PC 17-23: Consider Introduction of an Ordinance Approving Zone Change from Office to High Density Residential, 3551 Coon Rapids Blvd, Tom Wasmoen
From: Scott Harlicker, Planner

INTRODUCTION
The applicant is requesting the introduction of an ordinance to change the zoning of the property located at 3551 Coon Rapids Boulevard from Office to High Density Residential. The property is also in the River Rapids Overlay District; this designation will not be changed. The applicant has also submitted a corresponding land use amendment (Comp Plan) to change the land use designation from Office to High Density Residential. Council will consider the proposed land use amendment on August 15th, the same meeting as final consideration of the zone change.
DISCUSSION
Background

The applicant is proposing to change the zoning of the property located at 3551 Coon Rapids Boulevard from Office to High Density Residential. The site is .37 acres and is currently vacant. This site is included in a redevelopment project to construct a 128 unit apartment building.  At the time the project was initially proposed, this property was not under contract and was not included in the initial land use amendment and zone change approved in 2016.  Since that time, the applicant has acquired the subject property and included it in the current development proposal.

Analysis

Lot size

The size of the parcel limits the economic feasibility for office redevelopment of the site.  The depth of the site also creates design issues for commercial redevelopment, such as the parking and setback requirements, which favor lots with greater depth. The lot dimensions are small enough that it is more efficient to combine the land with the adjacent parcels to the east and include it as part of a future high density residential development.

Compatibility with Adjacent Residential Land Uses

A single family home abuts the site to the north. High Density Residential development provides a better buffer to Coon Rapids Boulevard and is more compatible than office land uses.

Compatibility with Coon Rapids Boulevard Framework Plan

The Framework Plan identifies infill housing as a "Development Principle". While the PORTs were identified as appropriate for the highest densities, moderate to high density residential development is appropriate for the areas between the PORTs. Furthermore, because of the corridor's transit access, the Framework Plan includes a policy that calls for moderate to high density housing in the areas between the PORTs.

Alignment with Comprehensive Land Use Plan

The Housing chapter of the City's Comprehensive Land Use Plan identifies a variety of housing goals for the City, including allowing for a variety of housing types and designs to allow people a housing choice. The proposed amendment would provide additional acreage for high density housing and therefore additional opportunities for apartments.  Notable objectives in the Plan include addressing blight and blighting influences, the proposed amendment would create an opportunity to redevelop the vacant site.  

The Land Use Chapter also identifies a goal to improve the the appearance and function of Coon Rapids Boulevard ensuring that it redevelops with a variety of housing types.The proposed amendment supports that goal by eliminating underutilized land and obsolete land uses, and increases the opportunity to increase the number of housing units.

The City Council should also give consideration to the evaluation criteria found in Section 11- 304 when making their recommendation on rezoning requests.
 
Section 11-304.10 Criteria Comments
Effect of public health, safety, order, convenience, and general welfare in the area. OK - The proposed zoning will not adversely impact area.
Effect on present and potential surrounding land uses. OK – The proposed zoning will not adversely impact the surrounding land uses.
Conformance with the Comprehensive Land Use Plan.
 

 
OK – Assuming the proposed land use amendment is approved, the proposed zone change will be consistent with the City’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan. The proposed land use designation is General Commercial
Conformance with any applicable development district. OK – Improvements and uses of the site will have to be in conformance with the River Rapids Overlay District.

Planning Commission Meeting

At the Planning Commission meeting held on July 20th, no one spoke at the public hearing. The Commission indicated they thought is was a logical extension of the High Density Residential zoning district. The Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of the proposed zone change.
RECOMMENDATION
In Planning Case 17-23, the Planning Commission recommended introduction of the attached ordinance approving the proposed  zone change from Office to High Density Residential based on the following:
  1. The proposed rezoning to High Density Residential is consistent with the proposed land use designation of High Density Residential
  2. The proposed rezoning is compatible with the adjacent land uses and zoning.
  3. The times and conditions have change so that a reasonable use of the property can not be made under the current zoning.
  4. The proposed zone change would not have an adverse impact on the area.
  5. The proposed rezoning is consistent with the Coon Rapids Boulevard Framework Plan and the River Rapids Overlay District.

Attachments
Location Map
Zoning Map
Applicant's Narrative
Proposed Ordinance

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