New proposal made for Baker’s Landing

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A proposed residential development nixed by a zone change request refusal in April came before City Council and Planning and Zoning once again Monday.

Baker’s Landing, a proposal of mostly single-family homes off State Highway 35 south of Walnut St., appeared to be on track for approval back in April. Despite a negative recommendation from city staff, the required zone change was slated for a second and final reading when the vote shifted the other direction and the measure failed.

But the proposal was back before City Council and Planning and Zoning again in a lengthy joint workshop Monday night, this time as a slightly smaller development, at 68 acres vs. the previously submitted 80-acre tract, and 202 single-family homes instead of 251.

Included in the new proposal are 48 townhomes, but one acre of commercial included in the prior proposal was removed.

The land is owned by the Felton M. and Mary C. Baker Revocable Trust.

Now vacant and zoned as general commercial and office professional, the site is designated as “Village District” in the city’s comprehensive plan – one of the main reasons city staff recommended against it. Village District calls a mix of housing types and commercial development.

During Monday’s workshop, city staff continued to state concerns about the proposal.

“This is a development that consists of single-family homes and townhomes. There is no other development proposed,” Community Development Director Lata Krishnarao said.

“The second concern we have is lack of commercial uses. The PD we save a few months back did have some commercial use.”

Another concern, she said, is the width of the townhomes because the city dictates a minimum of 30 feet and the applicant is proposing to reduce that to 24 feet.

Staff recommendations for the proposal included providing connectivity to Grand Avenue, including a 10-acre commercial tract in the plan, add lots that vary in widths to “reduce monotony,” comply to the 30-foot townhome width and better integrate the planned open space with the rest of the development.

“Townhomes are supposed to be the last phase,” Krishnarao said. “For it to be a true mixed use, staff recommends the phasing to be modified to include the townhomes toward the front end.”

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