The Saratoga Sun -


Flexibility Fix


The Saratoga Town Council is currently reviewing the Planned Unit Development (PUD) proposal submitted by the Saratoga Planning Commission.

This plan is designed to allow more flexibility and creativity in site planning. The PUD also streamlines the development process for mixed usages and/or higher allowable densities.

Current zoning regulations do not allow flexibility in site planning and limit what can be built on a site. With the PUD a plot of land can be residential, commercial, light industrial and/or heavy industrial instead of just one of those classifications. This allows the kind of master planning that is being done elsewhere around the country.

Under the PUD, a developer could build a living space, be that apartments, condominiums or homes, alongside a commercial building the residents of those living spaces could work in. This plan also allows for a recreation, laundry or community area be added to the plan.

Another upside is that the PUD allows the planning commission to determine aesthetics in the overall plan. The PUD allows the planning commission to dictate specific “green” areas, road and utility access positioning, dwelling unit density and overall attractiveness of a project.

Previously a land owner would have to subdivide to put both commercial and residential areas on a lot. That subdivision takes time.

Once subdivided, a zone change would have to be approved for one of the two areas. That takes time also.

If all that went through, the owner could then build very dissimilar commercial and residential structures. The result in this situation is not the attractive development the PUD would have created in much less time.

Application to create a mixed use area is much more straightforward, less time consuming and allows the town to grow in a way that is directed and more in line with Saratoga’s Master Plan.

The approved PUD also puts a time limit on building and construction. If a project is not at least started within a year, the PUD permit expires. Under current zoning, an approved project can be delayed indefinitely—which has allowed long-term eyesores such as gravel piles that have not moved in years.

We at the Saratoga Sun support this resolution and encourage our readers to take a look at Ordinance 842 currently on its way to approval by the Saratoga Town Council.

Third, and final, reading of the PUD will be conducted during the regular Saratoga Town Council meeting 6 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Saratoga Town Hall.


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