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Council approves zoning for County Line Road development

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Another residential development along County Line Road is on the way after the Elgin City Council approved a rezoning to allow for a planned development district.

Peppergrass is a proposed residential development which would be located at the intersection of County Line Road and FM 1100, across the street from Elgin High School. The tract of land is about 66 acres and would contain 285 single-family lots.

The developer requested that the zoning of the land be changed to a planned development district (PDD). City manager Thomas Mattis said a PDD zoning is a special category that lets a developer request that the city allow a different kind of development than what they could do under the city’s zoning code.

“Through that process, the city always ends up getting more out of the developer than we would otherwise,” Mattis said. “It’s our preference that we would like every project to be a PDD, then we can specifically negotiate what’s going to happen.”

Planning & development director David Harrell said the PDD would entail a few special conditions, including larger blocks and special way-finding signs within the development. He added that staff has no issues or concerns with the plan, and the planning & zoning commission recommended approval during their meeting in December.

Considering all developments currently proposed, planned or under construction, nearly 2,400 single-family homes will be coming to North County Line Road, Mattis said; for comparison, Elgin currently has about 2,500 homes.

“The high school, which we’ve thought about for some time as being out in the country, five years from now will be completely surrounded by all these homes,” he said. “2020 is going to be a very active year for Elgin.”

Like other developments in the area, Peppergrass would also be required to contribute to the costs of improving North County Line Road. The agreement requires that the developers contribute $754,479 toward the project, due in three phases as the lots are platted. The project must also set aside the required right-of-way for the future widening of County Line Road.

The east quarter of the land, which is in the 100-year floodplain, will be kept as an open park space. The parkland would include a 2,307-foot trail along Elm Creek.

The council unanimously passed the agreement.

Also at last week’s meeting:

Stone Creek Ranch site annexed

The council took a couple more steps towards setting up a residential development on FM 1100 near County Line Road.

The council first discussed the proposed subdivision, called Stone Creek Ranch, during the November and December meetings. The development plans to put 289 single-family homes on about 69 acres of land. The developers requested that the land be voluntarily annexed to the city and given a zoning designation of R-3 single-family, two-family and industrial housing.

However, action was tabled for this project in November due to concerns that R-3 zoning allows for the creation of mobile and manufactured home parks. Although this is not the developer’s stated plan, the R-3 designation would permanently stay with the land and could potentially allow it to become a mobile home park if the situation changes. However, the lot sizes the developers are planning for would require an R-3 zoning.

During the December meeting, the council first discussed the possibility for changing the zoning ordinance for R-3 zoning to exclude mobile homes and mobile home parks. Mattis said, as the city and the developers discussed the situation, the city attorney said he thought it’s possible the inclusion of mobile home parks in the R-3 zoning category was a mistake from when the code was originally adopted, and the code was not intended to allow for mobile homes on R-3 land. As a result, city staff proposed to amend the city’s zoning code to eliminate mobile homes as one of the permitted uses under R-3 zoning.

During this month’s meeting, the council voted unanimously to annex the property into Elgin’s city limits and assign the development to Ward 3.

Next, the council will consider amending the ordinance to eliminate mobile home parks in the R-3 zoning category during the February 4 meeting, followed by zoning the property with R-3, Mattis said. He added the developers are supportive of this plan.

“I’d like to specifically thank and let the developer know how appreciative we are of your patience and understanding of our concerns with pushing it back,” Mayor Chris Cannon said.

Fees, ordinance waived for RelayFest

The council unanimously voted to waive the park fees for Elgin’s RelayFest, scheduled for the evening of April 25 in Veterans’ Memorial Park.

This year, Relay for Life of Elgin will be known as RelayFest, which will feature live music, a silent auction and fundraising, as well as the traditional Relay for Life events such as luminarias and various ceremonies. The event will take place from 6 p.m. to midnight.

“That estimate of a thousand dollars that you’re waiving for us to have RelayFest at Veterans’ Park can provide rides for patients to doctor’s visits… free wigs… (and) free 24/7 counseling that anybody can call,” event lead Shelley Buchman told the council. “We’re hoping this year, by being out on Main Street on Veterans’ Park, that we are more visible, and that we surpass that $78,000 (that Relay for Life raised last year), and maybe we can raise over $100,000 this year.”

In addition to the park fees, Relay for Life also requested that the open container ordinance be waived for that evening in Veterans’ Memorial Park and on Depot Street. Buchman said they are in talks with Circle Brewery, a company planning to build a brewery in Elgin, to possibly serve beer at the event with all proceeds donated to Relay for Life.

“Our mindset is, open containers help open wallets,” Buchman said.

Council sets nonprofit funding amounts

After discussing the topic for the past few meetings, the council approved funding levels for community non-profits based on recommendations by a committee that scored the applications.

The council also approved an agreement, discussed at the previous meeting in December, with the Elgin Chamber of Commerce to provide annual funding. The agreement documents the expectations on both sides of the existing relationship between the city and the Chamber.