Mallory Herrmann

The community and economic development committee heard a presentation regarding the types of changes that are acceptable for developers to make after a preliminary development plan has been approved. Josh Johnson, assistant director of plan services, gave the presentation at the committee’s Oct. 10 meeting.

Any changes to a plan that would require a waiver to the unified development ordinance (UDO) or to conditions that the city council required when approving a preliminary development plan must always come back through the public hearing and council approval process. But other changes can be made without formal reconsideration by the city.

As Johnson explained, the preliminary development plan is essentially determining whether the development is possible, meets the UDO requirements, and has the infrastructure (traffic, sewer, water, stormwater) to support it. Once approved, the development plan will continue to be finalized. The final plan will include the finer architectural details and infrastructure design. This is currently an administrative process in cooperation with city staff.

Johnson outlined many of the more common changes that can be made to a development plan: increases in the density of residential uses up to and including 10 percent, increases in the total floor area of nonresidential buildings up to 25 percent, increases in height of any building up to and including 25 percent, reconfigurations of structures (as long as setbacks are not affected), and revisions in phasing. There are no specific limitations if developers choose to decrease the size or impact of a project. Developers can make these types of adjustments to their plans as construction-ready plans are drawn up and projects become more focused as long as infrastructure requirements are not affected.

Changes in architectural style, simple changes in ownership and changes to the stages of construction can also be made without formal approval—though city staff does have some discretion in determining whether changes in these areas are significant enough to warrant an additional public hearing.

Councilmembers Diane Forte and Craig Faith both voiced concerns about the amount of subjectivity it some of these standards. But all committee members shared their appreciation for the additional context and insight into the process. No specific actions were taken.

Mayor Pro Tem Beto Lopez, the committee’s chair, was absent from the meeting.