The Saratoga Sun -

PUD to add zoning flexibility

 


The town of Saratoga is closer to enacting a new development and regulatory process called Planned Unit Development, or PUD.

Saratoga Planning Commission has been in the process of developing the PUD since early this year. The PUD process is intended to allow town planners flexibility in approving projects that do not strictly fall into any of the existing zoning types in the town’s existing zoning schema.

Will Faust, of the planning commission and town council said PUD would speed up the process for town officials and potential developers. “It gives us flexibility to look at a potential project that may not fit in any one zoning classification and approve or disapprove of that project based on the merits of that project and whether or not it fits within the master plan or the community’s wishes,” Faust said.

Under the PUD ordinance, the town council would have the ability to approve projects that blend multiple types of uses, such as residential and commercial developments. Because such a mixed-use project is outside of any one zoning type, the town could make a determination to approve such a development as long as it is consistent with the goals of the town’s master plan and the wishes of the population.

Such a move would also streamline the process for developers, Faust said. Under the existing scheme, developers not only might have to ask for a zoning change for a project, but might also have to wait for subdivision if applicable. And there is no assurance for developers that both the subdivision and zoning change.

If approved for a project under the PUD, developers would have one year to develop the land per the plans submitted. If there is no construction after one year, the developer would have to re-submit the project.

If it is allowed to lapse and is not renewed, the land in question will retain its existing zoning.

Under the scheme, members of the public will continue to be notified of proposed projects and town officials will continue to hold public hearings regarding projects.

Faust said the next step in the process is to schedule a workshop between members of the planning commission and town council to ensure the new ordinance meets the needs of both. After the two bodies draft a final ordinance, it will go for legal review.

The date of the workshop meeting was not determined as of press time.

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