The St. Cloud City Council had a new look after seating two new members Thursday night, but for a developer hoping to build a new townhouse community in the city, the result was the same.
The council voted 3-2 to deny the application from Miami-based investor Maria Odri to change the future land use and zoning from R-1B Low-Density Residential to R-3 Medium-Density Residential for 14 acres on Old Hickory Tree Road at 19th Street.
Odri’s Old Hickory Subdivision LLC bought the land in February for $1.1 million from the longtime owner, attorney Ranier Munns. She was planning to build an 84-unit townhouse community, which would have been well below the maximum density of 10 units per acre in MDR. They reasoned that it would serve as a transition between existing Low-Density Residential and properties to the north and west, which are zoned for High-Density Residential and Mixed-Use.
Ken Gilbert and Shawn Fletcher, who won their elections on Nov. 8 to succeed retiring councilmen Dave Askew and Keith Trace, joined Deputy Mayor Linette Matheny in voting against a motion to approve the request.
It was the second time the council had denied the land use and zoning changes. On Aug. 11 the council unanimously voted to deny the request, citing concerns about traffic congestion on Old Hickory Tree Road.
Odri sued the city and later negotiated a revised request with conditions for the project. Attorney Mike Collazo with the Pennington Law Group said the discussions with staff were “very productive.”
The staff added conditions that the units must be rear-loaded and no taller than two stories. The developer also would have to agree to improve 19th Street so it matches the future improvements as part of the adjacent Roan Bridge Mixed-Use PUD.
“We’ve worked hard to address Council’s concerns, as expressed in the August meeting,” he said. “We agree with the conditions that are already presented.”
Collazo said the applicant even provided a Traffic Impact Analysis, which isn’t required at the zoning stage but also showed that the change from low-density to medium-density would not cause the adjacent roads or intersections to fail. “We anticipate no traffic problems being caused by the project,” he said.
This time, there was no discussion, no opposition and no questions to the applicant. The council overruled its staff and Planning Commission, both of which recommended approval.
Collazo told GrowthSpotter his client “is reviewing all of its options, legal and otherwise, in connection with the city’s latest denial.”