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John Nephew

Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


Comp Plan and the South Leg

On Tuesday, September 16th, the Planning Commission will be holding another hearing on the city's Comprehensive Plan. This hearing will focus on issues in the South Leg, particularly the future land use guidelines. It looks like the commission's discussions with staff and the consultants will revolve around the question of density for the Rural/Low Density Residential land guidance category.

The issue is made more complex by the change from gross acreage to net acreage for density calculations. The terrain of that neighborhood means that there is a big difference between gross and net acreage. The report to the commissioners uses an example of one actual lot of land in the area at issue. This lot is 6.9 acres (gross), but only 2.9 net acres after slopes, wetlands, etc., are excluded. So under the old idea that the neighborhood should have two-acre lots, this land could have had 3 homes built on it. With a new standard of simply 0.5 units per net acre, it would only be able to have 1 home on it (in other words, no change from its current use with a single house).

This is a difficult policy question, and the Planning Commission will be trying to come together and make a recommendation to the city council on what to do. If you are interested in this issue -- especially if you are a south leg resident in the area where the new land use category will apply -- I strongly encourage you to attend the meeting and share your views. While I unfortunately won't be able to attend this hearing in person (I will be out of town on business), I will be paying close attention to its outcome and to all of the citizen comment that is received.

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