Planning department explains Kasayuli and Larson zoning

by Ben Matheson on January 27, 2014

Kasayuli_Zoning2The Bethel City Council will take another look at zoning Kasayuli and Larson subdivisions at its meeting Tuesday. The subsdivisons are slated to be zoned under a category called residential planned unit development. It allows for more flexibility and the city can match the zoning to what’s in in the covenants. Rachael Pitts is the planning director for the City of Bethel.

“This is what I call zoning-lite. There’s not a lot of requirements, but there is enough to be able to issue site plan permits in this area,” said Pitts.

The proposal requires minimum setbacks, and 10,000 square feet lot size minimums. It would also limit the number of structures per lot and limit homes to two stories. All of the lots in Larson are simply labeled residential lots. With zoning, the city would have the basis to accept or reject site plan permits based on the few requirements of the zoning. As for current homeowners, they shouldn’t be affected in their current uses of the land.

“So if you have an existing development and let’s say you have a non-conforming lot. For instance you don’t have a 15-foot front setback, you would be a non-conforming lot, but we would understand that would have been in existence before zoning came into effect,” said Pitts.

Kasayuli is also residential planned unit development, but the map does include several commercial lots and open space. These reflect what was set aside in the convents from the developer and landowner years ago. Pitts emphasizes that zoning is not permanent. Future changes come as residents go through a process through the planning commission and city council.

“I think people may be a little uncomfortable knowing their property is being zoned especially if its never been zoned before. but I have spoken with people who live in Larson and Kasayuli subdivisions. And they think this is a really good idea. They not threatened by it and they don’t anticipate problems through this process,” said Pitts.

In the long term, Pitts notes that zoning is a way to keep the community’s development orderly.

“We have lots of lots of undeveloped land in Bethel. If you think about where you want certain land uses to happen and where you want to minimize conflicts, that is something zoning can really address through long range planning. Zoning can be simple, it can be complicated, but in the long run it is on the of the best tools to guide development in a city as it grows,” said Pitts.

Links to maps of the proposed zoning overlays for Kasayuli and Larson are available on the city’s website.

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