Development Review Process
Woodbury has an adopted Comprehensive Plan which outlines the "big picture" for future development in relation to land use, water, stormwater, sewer systems, parks, trails, and roadways. The Comprehensive Plan provides a general picture of how the development of all areas is planned for Woodbury. This plan gives people buying and selling property in Woodbury an idea of how we expect a specific piece of land to be used. Any property owner has the right to request a change in the Comprehensive Plan. This request is reviewed in the same manner as described below for a development proposal.
While the Comprehensive Plan illustrates how Woodbury is to develop in general, the zoning and subdivision ordinances establish specific standards development must meet. These ordinances identify which uses may be located on a parcel of land according to its zoning designation (i.e., residential, office, industrial) and the minimum standards for development, such as lot size, setbacks, and the like.
Step 1: Development Application
All parties interested in subdividing and developing property must process a development application consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances. First, developers and property owners meet with city staff to informally learn what is allowed on a particular piece of land and to present a sketch plan.
After learning if the proposal meets the requirements for use of the land, the developer makes a formal application to the city. Staff members from multiple departments, including Planning, Building, Engineering, Public Safety, and Parks, review the application to assure consistency with the city's ordinances, good site design and planning principles, appropriate state regulations and court decisions, as well as the city's long-term plans. State law allows a maximum of 120 days for the city to act on the development application after it is accepted for processing.
Step 2: Neighborhood Meeting
After the formal application is submitted for review by staff, but before the request is reviewed by the Planning Commission, the City Council requires the developer to hold a neighborhood informational meeting. Neighborhood meetings are held for applications for preliminary plats, conditional use permits, planned unit developments, and/or rezoning proposals that are located adjacent to or within a residential zoning district.
The developer schedules the meeting and sends out the notices to property owners within 500 feet of the property proposed for development. The purpose of this meeting is to provide information about the application and for area residents to ask questions about the project and the development process before the application is discussed by city advisory commissions and the City Council. It is important for citizens to get involved at this stage to ensure that concerns are addressed early in the process.
Step 3: Planning Commission Review
After staff review and input into the development design and after the neighborhood meeting, the request is scheduled for review by the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission is a group of local citizens who are appointed by the City Council to review proposed developments and make recommendations to the City Council. These residents volunteer their time to serve on the commission. If the proposed development involves or relates to the adopted Park and Trail Plans, the Park Commission also reviews the proposed development and makes a recommendation to the City Council.
Whenever necessary, the city sends out a notice of the meeting date(s) to property owners within 500 feet of the development. This is an opportunity for citizens to obtain information about the application(s), ask questions, participate in these meetings and provide their input to the commission members.
The commissions consider the legal rights of property owners to develop their property, the best interests of the city as a whole, public input and staff comments. Based on their findings, the commissions make recommendations to the City Council.
Step 4: City Council Public Hearing
Certain development proposals, such as preliminary plats, conditional use permits, rezonings, and comprehensive plan amendments, require a public hearing at a City Council meeting. Prior to a public hearing, notices are mailed to the affected property owners (within 500 feet) with the Planning Commission and/or Parks and Recreation Commission notices. In addition, a notice is published in the newspaper used by the city for legal notices - the Woodbury Bulletin. With the benefit of the Planning and Park Commission recommendations, the City Council holds the public hearing, which allows citizens to voice their opinions on how the Council should deal with an issue and why citizens feel that way. Statements rather than questions are preferred at the public hearing stage. If possible, background information on the project should already have been obtained by citizens earlier in the review process.
The City Council considers the public testimony provided at the hearing and all other background reports to make a final decision. It is important to remember that the city must approve an application from a landowner if it conforms to the Comprehensive Plan and ordinances of the city. If the Council approves the proposal, the developer can begin to obtain permits for grading and construction.
The City of Woodbury encourages involvement and participation in the development review process. Questions about the review process should be directed to the Community Development/Planning Department at 651-714-3533.
Opportunities for Citizen Input
Citizens may comment on a proposed development by:
- Writing a letter to the advisory commissions and City Council
- Speaking at any of the public meetings described above
- Email the Planning Department