Council sends proposed rules back to city planner

JACKSONVILLE — City Council sent proposed new rules regarding Planned Unit Developments and other building issues back to the city planner Tuesday for revisions.

"It wasn't anything we could really move forward," Councilman Bill Leep said Wednesday. "Everyone had a piece they wanted to remove or re-address."

City Council had discussed the proposal at earlier meetings and held a public hearing Sept. 16.

City Planner Daryl Witmore will present revisions at the council's Nov. 4 meeting, said City Administrator Paul Wyntergreen. Another public hearing probably will be held Nov. 18, with adoption possible in December, he said.

Among the provisions Leep felt wouldn't work well in Jacksonville is a proposed requirement that in future PUDs at least 15 percent of the houses would have to be smaller than 1,300 square feet. Another objectionable proposal would have required developers who want to increase building density to use at least 80-percent recycled materials.

"What I'd like to see done is have most of what was originally written (for PUDs) survive and take on some of the objectives the Planning Commission is trying to achieve," said Leep.

At an earlier meeting, a landowner voiced concern with the proposal that 15 percent of homes in PUDs besmaller than 1,300 square feet.

"They are making it economically impossible to develop with those restrictions on it," said Dave Sergent. "It's social engineering."

Older portions of town have a mix of small and large homes, but newer developments have had a preponderance of larger homes.

Sergent said construction next to his 60 acres is all higher end, not smaller homes. He has to develop under the PUD process because his land, located in the area of Stagecoach Drive and Wells Fargo Drive, is in a hillside residential zone. He estimated costs for land work and utilities before building at $150,000 per lot.

Developers could get a density bonus, which would allow more units on a piece of land, if they provide affordable housing, create indoor common spaces, perform riparian bank restoration, build greener homes, increase the number of smaller homes and build other features.

Sergent said he favors earlier concepts of a PUD where homes are clustered and land is left for a green belt. His land contains the last piece needed to complete a trail that circles the town.

"I haven't sold to developers because I was concerned that a green belt would be left and we could access other trails," said Sergent.

"In this decade it seems like basically people were going under the umbrella of a PUD and building a subdivision," said Councilman John Dodero, an ex-officio member of the Planning Commission, before the meeting. "We're just trying to get something that's just not your typical subdivision. It's not easy to do."

Present bonus standards call for PUD developers to meet purpose statements. The new standards would be more objective, according to the city planner.

"The purpose statements were so vague and general people just kind of made broad statements in the past that they are meeting those," said Witmore prior to the meeting. "Choosing specific standards lets people know what is expected."

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at

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