Proposed changes to the Town of Clayton’s rulebook might reduce wait times for residential developers ready to build.
After the Clayton Town Council approves a master plan for a new neighborhood, future changes to the plan go to the planning director or back the Town Council. The planning director approves minor changes, while major amendments go to the Town Council.
The list of major amendments currently includes changes to phasing, or how a developer plans to subdivide lots. But since the housing-market crash, it’s become common for developers to alter typically smaller phases based on the money they can get from the bank.
As a result, developers ready to build have had to resubmit minor changes in phasing to the Town Council, a process that can take three months to complete.
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For instance, the master plan for Riverwood Ranch subdivision, which the Town Council originally approved in 2012, has come before the Town Council several times in recent months because of minor phasing changes.
“All we are really approving is where the lot lines are going to go,” said Clayton Planning Director Dave DeYoung. “That’s a 90-day process the way we do it now.”
DeYoung wants to change that process by allowing his staff to approve phasing adjustments. He said major amendments to master plans, including acreage, land uses and entrances, would still go to the Town Council.
The town requires developers to be specific in their master plans, down to the distance between homes, the style of mailboxes and open-space areas. Having everything beforehand allows the Town Council to approve all the details. The breakdown of phasing is an administrative task, DeYoung said.
“We weren’t getting crazy complaints about it, but it was taking projects that should be able to move forward quicker and delaying them,” he said.
The Clayton Planning Board supported staff handling the phasing changes for master plans.
“This will certainly streamline the process, without it having to come back to us and the council,” Planning Board Chairman Frank Price said.
The Planning Board’s recommendation goes to Clayton Town Council, which has the final say.