Update (April 15, 2020) – The City Council voted to table the Resolution approving the final plat for Phase 2 of Woods Estates of Riverdale in order to provide Developer Seth Woods with adequate time to judge economic conditions and begin work on the project when he felt the time was right. Based on the recommendation of P&Z Commission co-chair, Wendy Syverud (who attended the meeting remotely), there was some concern that a conditional approval of the plat would set a time limit for Mr. Woods to provide the letter of credit and begin the work, regardless of the state of the economy which is currently reeling from the COVID-19 outbreak.
“If we’re still in lockdown mode in 90 days, then I’m probably not going to do anything this year,” said Mr. Woods during the public hearing that proceeded the decision by the Council. Unlike the first phase of the project, which saw Mr. Woods take on responsibility for over $5 million of construction costs without approval on the sub division plat, he made it very clear that he didn’t intend to begin any work on the site until he’s secured the letter of credit (which provides the financial guarantee the public improvements will be completed) and the City has given its approval of the plat for the phase.
Having an approved plat for the phase means Mr. Woods will be able to subdivide the property into smaller lots that are recorded with Scott County and then sell those lots to home builders and prospective home buyers.
Original Story (April 13, 2020) – After receiving a conditional recommendation from the Riverdale Planning & Zoning Commission for the final plat of the Woods Estates Second Addition, Developer Seth Woods has decided to ask the City Council for conditional approval of the plat – allowing time for the COVID-19 outbreak to run its course. Mr. Woods will make his presentation of the final plat at a public hearing on Tuesday, April 14th and the Council is prepared to review the recommendation from P&Z and provide its approval or denial later on that evening during the Council’s regular meeting.
In a prepared statement to the City Council, Mr. Woods says:
“As you know, the coronavirus outbreak has caused a great deal of economic stress not just here in the Quad Cities but around the world. For my business – as I’m sure is true for many of you – the uncertainty surrounding the economy has made a lot of my customers pull back from where they were just a few weeks ago …
It also makes pushing ahead – right now – with work on this phase a much riskier proposition …
At the Planning & Zoning Meeting, I was set to move ahead with getting our Letter of Credit from BankORION to City Hall by April 10 so things could keep rolling along. A few weeks ago, the Mayor and I discussed the option of delaying a bit as things have continued to get tighter, that’s sounding more and more like a good thing to do.”
As a result of the economic distress resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, Mr. Woods is asking the City Council to provide a conditional approval of the plat that restricts him from moving ahead with any construction on the second phase until he’s provided the City with an irrevocable letter of credit that meets with the City’s approval. According to the Mayor, a draft LOC has already been provided and with the exception of a small language change recommended by the P&Z Commission, it appears everything else is in order.
In a cover memo to the City Council outlining the situation and providing some advice on possible “next steps”, the Mayor outlined the three options available:
“Following the public hearing on the plat, Mr. Woods asks the Council to consider the following options:
a.) Approve the plat for Phase 2 but retain the P&Z Commission’s condition that a final, executed letter of credit must be received by the City prior to any construction work beginning on the site (although some material may be delivered and stored on-premises).
b.) Table consideration of the plat approval to a later date – presumably when Mr. Woods provides an executed letter of credit to the City. No further public hearings would be needed at that time, although a motion to reconsider will be on the agenda for each meeting until action is finally taken.
c.) Deny approval of the plat which would then require Mr. Woods to go through the entire process again with Planning & Zoning and Council, including public hearings. This action could be problematic for the City unless there were some clear deficiencies in the plat and engineering drawings submitted, which there weren’t.”
The documents presented to the City Council for review during the public hearing can be found here. A link to an online file containing all of the documents (including engineering drawings) provided to the Planning & Zoning Commission for their review and discussion during their March 24th meeting can be found here.