The Wayzata City Council could not agree on either a 3 month or 6 month development moratorium at a regular council meeting held April 20th and as a result will take no action to slow development in the Mixed Use Residential/Commercial and Central Business Districts.

The agenda item had been added to the Council's new business after the Planning Commission requested the moratorium from the Council in a joint workshop on April 5th.

The Planning Commission had shared the following concerns with the Council: (verbatim)

  1. The 2040 Comprehensive Plan notes that up 30 units per acre may be considered in the Mixed Use
    Commercial/Residential and Central Business District parcels, but the corresponding Zoning
    regulations are not yet updated to reflect when, why, and how this density would be permitted.
  2. The updates to the Design Standards will be reviewed in public meetings in April, May, and possibly
    June; however, project proposals may be submitted before the updates are adopted.
  3. Questions arose on how the community’s vision for more housing choices at varying levels of
    affordability can be incorporated into regulations and policies that guide development on Lake Street and Wayzata Boulevard.

Based on the request and the feedback at the joint workshop, Wayzata City Staff had drafted two ordinances for discussion including an emergency 3 month moratorium to allow completion of design guidelines and a 6 month moratorium to address inconsistencies between the current zoning ordinance and the 2040 Comprehensive Plan.

Two additional actions for Council consideration included No Development Moratorium and a 12 month moratorium to study the housing density adopted in 2040 Comprehensive Plan and then update the Zoning Code.

As part of the discussion, Council-member Alex Plechash stated "I would support a two to three month short pause, for the design standards but I would not support any of the other options."

Council-member Jeff Buchanan also supported a short term moratorium, "I haven't changed my opinion from the workshop, I believe it makes sense to have a moratorium to let our design standards catch up with the applications that we have. I think the others are a little vague and they could be forever."

Council-member Cathy Iverson weighed in supporting a 6 month moratorium, "I am concerned about the 2040 Comp Plan and the density that is in there." Iverson continued, "Option three would really give us an opportunity to review... density by acre and density by zone. People have a lot of construction fatigue."

According to City Attorney David Schelzel, the three month moratorium as drafted by City Staff was an emergency ordinance identified to protect the general welfare of the City and required 4 votes both for a pre-amble declaring the emergency and 4 votes supporting the emergency ordinance.

A motion to adopt the first reading of the 6 month ordinance garnered only two votes from Mayor Johanna Mouton and Cathy Iverson, failing to gain the simple majority required for a standard ordinance.

A second motion to adopt an emergency 3 month moratorium also failed to garner the needed 4 votes both for the pre-amble declaring the emergency and the emergency ordinance with and Council-members Molly McDonald, Jeff Buchanan, and Alex Plechash supporting the motion.

Stay tuned to for more on this developing story including the forthcoming Design Standards currently in front of the Planning Commission.