|The purpose of this case is to introduce a Preliminary Plat application from Landform on behalf of Platinum Land, LLC (the "Applicant") for a seventy-seven (77) lot residential subdivision west of Nowthen Blvd NW and south of 175th Ave NW. The site is a 40 acre piece of land, PID's: 03-32-25-34-0001 and 03-32-25-34-0002 (the "Subject Properties"). The Subject Properties are zoned R-1 MUSA and the Applicant has proposed all lots within the Single-Family (80 foot wide) lot width designation, as allowed in the R-1 MUSA zoning district. The majority of the Subject Properties are owned by the Hunt Family, a long-time resident of Ramsey, and the case was previously referred to as "Hunt Addition."
Staff wanted to provide the City Council an update on this item prior to requiring formal action, and allow Council and residents to ask any questions that Staff could bring back to a future meeting.
The proposed preliminary plat shows 77 lots on the 40 acre piece of land. The proposed density is approximately 2.2 units per acre, which falls within the allowed density per City Zoning and the City's approved 2040 Comprehensive Plan. The proposed preliminary plat does not require any variances, changes to City Code, or amendments to the Comprehensive Plan. The proposal does require a few unique items, which are noted below in the Next Steps section. In general, if the Preliminary Plat meets all City Code requirements and standards, the City must approve the Plat.
Planning Commission - August 26, 2021
The Planning Commission recommended approval at their August 26, 2021 meeting of the preliminary plat.
During the public hearing at the Planning Commission meeting on August 26, 2021, several residents had indicated they never knew the Subject Properties had been rezoned. City Staff reviewed old case files and discovered that the Hunt properties were included in a large zoning change process for the 2030 Comprehensive Plan in 2011. There is evidence supporting that a public hearing notification was sent to all affected property owners, as well as a posting in the Anoka County UnionHerald, notifying residents of the proposed zoning changes. The proposed Ordinance went through Planning Commission and City Council processes, to receive the necessary approvals of the zoning changes.
Staff also received questions outside the meeting on if nearby residents could now request that the zoning is changed. Nearby residents cannot request a change to another property's zoning. The City Council can change zoning, in accordinance with the Comprehensive Plan, or a property owner can request a change. In this instance, the current owners of the Subject Properties would have to initiate a Zoning Amendment request for the zoning to be changed.
Conformity with City Code
The proposed preliminary plat generally meets all of the requirements of City Code. There are a few minor changes that will be required, as is typical with any sketch plan, preliminary plat, or subdivision application. The Preliminary Plat appears to meet all of the requirements for the R-1 MUSA District, including all lots being 80 feet wide and at least a quarter acre in size.
Future City Council Meeting
In the near future, the Preliminary Plat will need to have a motion made upon, but Staff thought it would be beneficial to present the case first as an introduction, and then bring to a future meeting for a decision to be made.
Key Staff Comments
- Wetlands and Floodplain: All wetlands will be delineated and approved by the Lower Rum River Watershed Management Organization, which will also need to issue a permit in order for work to start onsite. All floodplain will also need to be shown on the plat sheets. Wetlands will be encumbered by a 16.5 foot buffer easement. The City of Ramsey can require as-builts with any new home that is built in the City. Based on the sensitive environmental nature and potential increase to insurance associated with owning a property by the floodplain, Staff will require as-builts for all of these lots.
- Utilities: The City enlisted Bolton and Menk to prepare an Infrastructure Study for the general planning area of Trott Brook North, north of the Brook, and between Variolite St and Nowthen Blvd. The Infrastructure Study includes this property. The infrastructure study shows that this site could develop independently from the properties to the south, however, it is much more likely that they will develop in tandem due to the large costs associated with developing the site alone. Trunk utilities will need to be brought to this site in order for it to develop.
- Sidewalks and Trails: The City requires a sidewalk on every side of a public street. Additionally, the City will require a trail along Nowthen Blvd, 173rd Avenue, and 175th Avenue. Since 175th Avenue is likely to be reconstructed in the future, or potentially realigned, the developer has the option to pay into the trail fund or build the trail along 175th Avenue. Additionally, there will need to be a pedestrian crossing on 173rd Avenue.
- Roads: 173rd Avenue will need to be upgraded to a full public road as part of this project. The Applicant is working with the Applicant to the south coordinating on this item. It is likely that there will be a cost-share agreement outlined as part of road project, which will be discussed with the Applicant of the project to the south and City Council. Additionally, the City Council has directed any project in this area to include turn lanes into the project off Nowthen Blvd. Nowthen Blvd is a County Road, so any changes must be approved by Anoka County, and a light would not be feasible for this site.
- The project to the south has completed a traffic study as part of their required EAW, which can be found on the project website. Staff has included the traffic study (attached), which studied nearby intersections. Staff has not fully reviewed the EAW at this time, but notes that it includes both a no build scenario (no improvements to Nowthen or other roads) and a scenario that includes a turn lane into the site off Nowthen Blvd. This study takes into account both projects at full build-out.
- Lot Sizes and Alignments: All of the proposed lots are 80 foot wide lots, proposed outside of the large gas easement on the property. There is additional landscaping proposed along the western boundary with existing residential lots. The existing home on the SE lot will be removed as part of this project.
- Timing: Based on the time of year, and need to get trunk utilities (sewer and water) to the Subject Properties, it is very unlikely there will be any homes built onsite this year. There may be some preliminary grading (moving dirt) on the Subject Properties this year.
- Sketch Plan - Identify red flags and direct the Applicant on moving forward to Preliminary Plat
- Preliminary Plat - Engineering documents, formal public hearing, if approved, the project has entitlement (we are here)
- Final Plat - Construction documents and legal agreements, only heard by City Council
City Code Sections
- Section 117-111: R-1 Residential (Existing and Proposed Zoning)
- Section 117-588: Major Plat
- Section 117-614: Subdivision Design Standards