Dexter officials are beginning to understand the benefits of using the planned unit development model for a new project at Grand Street and Baker Road.
City Council member James Smith, who also sits on the Planning Commission, had asked Community Development Manager Michelle Aniol to show the pros and cons of using the PUD format as opposed to the traditional site plan review for a project presented by A. R. Brouwer.
The proposal is to build a 68-unit complex with townhouses, apartments and duplexes on the corner.
City officials are eager to see the project get underway, but want to make sure the proper path is chosen to ensure proper oversight and regulation. The developer also has a 64-unit plan ready if the city opts for site plan review.
“The larger plan would be under the PUD,” Aniol said.
Aniol likens the project as trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. Using the site plan review process only causes pain, whereas the PUD makes the hole bigger so the peg can fit.
“The PUD helps each side get what they want via regulations,” Aniol said. “it’s a tool to elongate the hole.”
Brouwer submitted the PUD Area Plan Feb. 1 and the Planning Commission will review it at a public hearing March 7. The project, known as Grandview Commons, is a PUD infill redevelopment and the first since the city revised the PUD ordinance in 2007, Aniol stated in her report to council.
Smith requested the pros and cons of the PUD and site plan review ordinances, in order to better understand the these development review tools.
Aniol presented her findings to the Planning Commission Feb.1:
o Flexibility in the regulation of land
o Encourage innovative land use in terms of variety of design, layout and type of structures constructed
o Enables negotiation with developer
o The Ordinance was substantially amended in 2007, but neither the planning commission nor the council has had an opportunity to use this tool since then. Consequently, the planning commission is not familiar with the standards and regulations in the current version of the PUD.
Using appropriate zoning changes
o Known process
o Prohibits negotiation with developer
o Strict adherence to existing regulations, which may require variances from Zoning Board of Appeals
o The zoning districts from which to choose from (i.e. VR Village Residential and R-3 Multiple Family Residential) have limited applicability in this case.
The council and planning commission have an updated PUD ordinance, which while not perfect, does provide a better tool from which to move forward, Aniol said.
The PUD ordinance was extensively amended to address concerns the planning commission and council had following PUD developments such as Dexter Crossing, Huron Farms, Huron View Court Condominiums and the Bluewater Building project.