Boevers: ‘This will increase economic activity’
The Piedmont Planning Commission approved a Planned Unit Development (PUD) ordinance Thursday that is a proposed plat of land for 166 acres of residential plots.
The Piedmont City Council tabled the PUD item this past Monday, during their regularly scheduled February Piedmont City Council monthly meeting.
City Councilman Bobby Williamson said the city council, along with the planning commission and local developers want to have a special workshop to visit this PUD topic a little further.
Local developer Phil Boevers said in a prepared statement to The Gazette Wednesday, “SBS is working with the City of Piedmont to develop this area in accordance with the existing PUD which will increase economic activity in Piedmont and benefit the City and its Citizens. The only item currently being discussed is the Preliminary Plat for the First phase of this development which plat complies with city codes. The
preliminary Plat has been approved by the Planning Commission and City Staff.”
Planning Commissioner Ron Cardwell said the plat of land, proposed for downtown Piedmont, is comprised of 37 single-family lots and eight duplex lots. The proposed plat has an average lot size of 10,200 square feet, with the largest plot being 16,378 square feet and the smallest being 8,227 square feet.
“This will help spur some commercial growth,” Cardwell said. “Especially downtown Piedmont, an area where future commercial development could occur.”
Cardwell said the city’s tax base is based on commercial growth. “We have the supply with the land in place for commercial growth but we need to increase the demand for growth to occur.” He said the demand is based on Piedmont’s population.
Residential development in the downtown Piedmont area is needed and increasing Piedmont’s population will lead to increased commerce for local stores such as Williams, Dollar General, Piedmont Pharmacy, Sonic and Subway. “You get a few more people, then other commercial businesses might look at coming into Piedmont.”
The PUD ordinance passed this last Thursday, modifies an existing zoning ordinance, therefore creating this PUD as a new zoning ordinance.
“This new ordinance outlines what the densities will be, what the uses will be of what kind of residential and commercial developments and the road network will look like.” Cardwell said. “This PUD was developed in 2008 and then came before the city council to be amended a few years later when the grocery store became a hot topic.”
He said there has been some other changes to the PUD since 2008, some of which have been brought into question recently. He said that’s one of the reasons why the planning commission wants to have a workshop prior to approving the first plat inside of this ordinance.
“Because this is an ordinance, some of those details really need to be put down in writing,” he said. “And, they need to be finalized and agreed upon before we go forward, because it sets the tone, the requirements for this and any other future ordinances.”
Cardwell said the economic conditions of the country, specifically the housing collapse that happened several years ago, has an effect on development. He said if things continue to stay stable, then Piedmont will continue to see more residential and commercial growth.
Cardwell added there are going to be some limitations, stemming from infrastructure needs, which effect the entire development of the land. He said the development can not be built on the existing infrastructure like it is now.
“The city also has to be able to prepare itself to figure out a way or make sure the developer knows, ‘Hey, you’re going to reach a threshold when some capital investments are going to have to be made,’” he said. “Water is one of those big concerns, because Piedmont Road only has that one water line.”
For future development to succeed, Cardwell said making changes to the existing water lines in that area is going to be a primary focus. He said the existing water line may have to be looped around the city and that section of land.
He said some sharing of information between the city council, planning commission and developers is necessary.
“There needs to be an understanding that development pays for development,” Cardwell said. “The city’s got a payback policy for infrastructure that other people [should]get the opportunity to use.”