Development Review Process
Every property owner within the city has the legal right to use their property. The use of land is guided and controlled by the policies, plans and ordinances of the city, in accordance with state law. The City Council encourages involvement and participation in the development review process.
Shorewood has an adopted a Comprehensive Plan which outlines the "big picture" for future development in relation to land use, water, storm water, sewer systems, parks, trails and roadways. The Comprehensive Plan provides a general picture of how development of all areas is planned for Shorewood. This plan gives people buying and selling property in Shorewood an idea of how a specific piece of land is expected 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 Shorewood is to develop in general, the zoning and subdivision ordinances establish specific standards a development must meet. These ordinances identify which uses may be located on a parcel of land according to its zoning designation (i.e., residential, commercial, lakeshore) and the minimum standards for development, such as lot size, setbacks, etc.
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, and Public Safety, review the application to assure consistency with the city's ordinances, good site design and planning principles, appropriate state regulations, 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: Public Hearing and Planning Commission Review
After staff review and input into the development design, the application 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.
Certain applications, such as preliminary plats, conditional use permits, rezoning, and comprehensive plan amendments, require a public hearing at a Planning Commission meeting. Prior to a public hearing, notices are mailed to the affected property owners (within 500 feet). In addition, a notice is published in the newspapers used by the city for legal notices - the Sun Sailor, the Lakeshore Weekly - and in the City Newsletter, The Shore Report.
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.
Opportunities for Citizen Input - Citizens may comment on a proposed development by:
- Writing a letter to the Planning Commission and City Council
- Speaking at the public meeting described above
- Sending an e-mail to Shorewood Planning Department
- Faxing comments to the city at 952.474.0128
Step 3: City Council Meeting
The City Council considers the Planning Commission's recommendation, the public testimony, 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 Shorewood encourages involvement and participation in the development review process. Questions about the review process should be directed to the Planning Department at 952.960.7900.