THE APPROVAL PROCESS
HOW THIS DEVELOPMENT WILL OR WON'T GET DONE
THE COMP PLAN
Per Minnesota statute, Cities are required to have a Comprehensive Plan, and to update it periodically. The Plan covers land use, planned residential growth, types of housing, transportation, water, sewer, and parks. It communicates a vision for the city, and gives goals and plans for each of the aforementioned areas. The Met Council needs to approve any changes to the Plan.
The City Council just approved the Plymouth 2040 Plan in July of 2019. In it, Hollydale's Comp Plan Land Use is P-I or Public/Semi-Public/Institutional.
"This guiding designation allows a variety of uses including public parks and open space, private recreation facilities and public buildings."
Rezoning Hollydale into residential use is inconsistent with the Comp Plan, and has been since the original 2020 Comp Plan was prepared in the 1990's.
Rational observers would therefore conclude that since 319 homes don't meet the Comp Plan guidance, denying the residential application is a no brainer. However, there are provisions that allow a City Council to make spontaneous changes to the Comprehensive Plan. They have done it before and will do it again if they decide that approving more residential development is what they want to do. Changing the Comprehensive Plan takes a super majority of 5 people to vote in favor of changing the Plan. So if three Council members vote against the change, the residential development will die.
The City Council's approval of development projects is dictated by the city Zoning Ordinance.
Hollydale is zoned "Future Restricted Development (FRD)", defined as follows:
"The purpose of the Future Restricted Development (FRD) District is to provide a holding zone until a landowner/developer makes application for development, at which time the City may rezone the affected property consistent with its designation in the Comprehensive Plan, provided that the development does not result in the premature extension of public utilities, facilities, or services. A lot size minimum of 20 acres will retain these lands in their natural or current state or in agricultural uses until such time as development occurs."
Hollydale is not presently zoned for residential use, and the developer must apply for a zoning change. HOWEVER, what's important to understand with respect to the Hollydale decision is that per Minnesota Statute and the Plymouth Zoning Ordinance, the Comprehensive Plan takes precedence over the Zoning Ordinance. The Zoning Ordinance explicitly states:
"It is the policy of the City of Plymouth that the enforcement, amendment, and administration of this Chapter be accomplished consistent with the recommendations contained in the City Comprehensive Plan, as developed and amended from time to time by the Planning Commission and City Council of the City. The Council recognizes the City Comprehensive Plan as the official policy for the regulation of land use and development in accordance with the policies and purpose herein set forth. In accordance with Minnesota Statutes Chapter 473, the City will not approve any rezoning or other changes in these regulations that are inconsistent with the City Comprehensive Plan."
If the Land Use designation in the Comprehensive Plan is inconsistent with the desired zoning, the developer must apply for a change to the Comp Plan as well.