The Wayzata Planning Commission approved a motion to send new design standards on to the City Council.

Andrew Faulkner, project manager with architecture and urban design firm Van Meter Williams Pollack, went into detail on amendments to the proposed design standards. The amendments were in response to discussion held during the Planning Commission’s April meeting. Feedback received from the community via letters and emails was also considered in shaping the refinements to the proposed document.

The first major change was in redefining the boundaries between the three districts: Lake Street, Wayzata Boulevard and the Bluffs.

“This started with a visual preference survey from the community,” Faulkner said. “They identified that the section of Wayzata Boulevard north of the Bluff District has a much different feel and we definitely agree with that sentiment.”

This section of Wayzata Boulevard will be removed from the Wayzata Boulevard District to allow that district to be more focused on commercial and mixed-use development. Faulkner said it will also make that area into a residential bridge between the Bluffs District and the neighborhood to its north.

Faulkner noted the Bluffs District’s standards will apply to all commercial, mixed-use and multi-family development proposals which take place outside of the three districts.

There were also refinements made to the junction between the three districts. This was done to include land into the Bluff District which fits the topographical bluff feature of the land.

“We are still including the Wells Fargo parcel in the Wayzata Boulevard District because it is more commercial in character,” he said. 

Clarification was added regarding bicycle parking, which is required. It is now stated that bicycle parking should be placed in building recesses and side yards, but there is flexibility for the city to allow parking in the tree planning zone on a case-by-case basis.

Non-binding guidance on electric vehicle charging was included at the behest of the Energy and Environment Committee, though Faulkner said there are no teeth behind requiring charging stations.

“But it’s our understanding that local municipalities in Minnesota are not currently allowed to require more stringent building standards than the state of Minnesota. So we are uncertain whether Wayzata could require electric vehicle charging in parking garages,” Faulkner said.

Minnesota follows the International Building Code, which according to Faulkner will require pre-wiring with its next code revision. This revision is unlikely to be adopted by Minnesota until at least 2026 and it would be limited to commercial buildings.

Several commission members had questions about significant deviations from the design standards. They wondered what deviations would be considered significant and in what scenarios the commission or city staff would need to make decisions on proposals with deviations.

Emily Goellner, community development director, said the commission would review all significant deviations. Staff would also review designs just as it does for zoning reviews today. Staff would have the ability to review and approve minor deviations, but if a deviation is deemed significant it would go through a review process similar to when building requests include variances.

“It’s more like how an ordinary zoning application would work,” said David Schelzel, city attorney.

Commission chair Christine Plantan called for a motion on the design standards document. Commissioner Jeff Parkhill spoke in favor of moving forward, noting the correction of typos and other minor changes needed to finalize the document.

“It seems to me a lot of eyes have been on this document,” he said.

Commissioner Peggy Douglas agreed.

“We spent many months on this. We could keep doing this for months,” she said. “I think we should acknowledge what was discussed today. It’s time to move on with this document.”

Douglas motioned to approve the document subject to incorporating minor changes, corrections and clarifying language. Shelzel suggested a “friendly amendment” reflecting the discussion around deviations. Goellner noted staff and the city clerk would work with attorney Shelzel to ensure everything is codified as discussed.

Parkhill seconded the motion and it was approved by a 5-2 vote with commissioners Lindsay Bashioum and Laura Merriam voting ‘Nay.’

After corrections are made, the document will be presented to the City Council during a regular meeting.