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Development code update planned for Rochester council

Additional community engagement is planned as final decision on Unified Development Code nears.

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ROCHESTER — The planned transition to a new Unified Development Code continues to move forward, with the potential for new development options.

Added flexibility of the proposed new development code was recently cited during reviews of a proposed apartment building on the former Perkins site in Northwest Rochester.

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The Rochester City Council denied a proposed zoning change, stating the request didn’t fit the area, but Rochester Community Development planner Emma Miller-Shindelar said future code adoption could provide workable alternatives for similar development.

The code includes added flexibility in some zoning options while also seeking to provide clarity.

Miller-Shindelar recently told the Rochester Planning and Zoning Commission the Unified Development Code attempts to provide regulations in a form that is more easily understandable to all residents in Rochester, from developers to the neighbors of potential new construction.

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On Monday, the City Council will receive an update on the code development process ahead of planned community engagement efforts in May and June.

Work on the new development code started in early 2020, and the council is expected to make a fine decision on adoption in August, with implementation slated for early next year.

The draft of the code was rolled out in three parts, establishing standards for what can be built and how developers can receive approval for their projects.

Many aspects of the code aim to streamline a process that currently can take several public meetings to get to a point where a new apartment complex or commercial building can be constructed.

While the streamlining effort is expected to reduce public hearings in front of the Planning and Zoning Commission or the City Council, it doesn’t necessarily limit public comment, since the proposed code raises the bar for notifications when development is planned.

Monday’s council update will be held at 3:30 p.m. in council chambers of the city-county Government Center, 151 Fourth St. SE.

The meeting, which will also include a discussion of the city’s transit development plan, will livestream at www.rochestermn.gov/meetings/council-meetings and be available on Spectrum cable channel 180 or 188 and Metronet channel 80.

Following the council update, Community Development staff will continue meeting with builders, neighborhood associations and others with special interest in development to review potential tweaks to the 442-page document.

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Additionally, city staff have scheduled a series of community activities related to the Unified Development Code. They are:

  • 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 24 in Peace Plaza.
  • 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 26 in Peace Plaza.
  • 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. May 26 in the Galleria food court, 111 S. Broadway Ave.
  • 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. June 13 in Cascade Lake Park, 88 23rd Ave. SW.
  • 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. June 14 in Silver Lake Park’s Three Links Playground, 1098 Seventh St. NE.
  • 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. June 15 in Lincolnshire Park, 5276 Members Pkwy NW.
  • 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. June 16 in Cooke Park, 722 Seventh St. NW.


Upcoming meetings

Meetings scheduled to be held during the week of May 9 include:

Rochester 

Olmsted County

  • County Commissioner Open House, 6 p.m. Monday in conference room 2 of the city-county Government Center.
  • Human Rights Commission, 6 p.m. Thursday in conference room 2 of the city-county Government Center.
  • Zoning Board of Adjustment, 7 p.m. Thursday in the board chambers of the city-county Government Center.
Randy Petersen joined the Post Bulletin in 2014 and became the local government reporter in 2017. An Elkton native, he's worked for a variety of Midwest papers as reporter, photographer and editor since graduating from Winona State University in 1996. Readers can reach Randy at 507-285-7709 or rpetersen@postbulletin.com.
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