Not until after the city hears from the Metropolitan Council, the regional planning agency that has approving authority over development plans for all metro area cities, would Apple Valley begin serious review of any proposal the developer may submit, said City Administrator Tom Lawell.

The land in question is along the east side of Pilot Knob Road south of County Road 42. It has been mined for gravel. Single-family homes have been built to the east and south, and Lebanon Cemetery is directly to the north.

If the zoning change is approved, the land would switch from medium-density development — between six and 12 townhouses, condominiums, and low-rise apartments per acre — to low-density development with two to six single-family homes per acre.

A change in 25 acres would not make a noticeable difference in the community, Lawell said. “Apple Valley still has a lot of vacant property. The sand and gravel mining areas are still being redeveloped.

“We have hundreds of acres still remaining.”

Construction of individual homes is where the new housing market is coming back the strongest, Lawell said. “Single-family homebuilders continue to see this area as desirable, and this was a request of a developer.”

Demand for townhouses and townhouse-style units is sluggish or nonexistent, a city report says. And since the opening last year of the Cedar Avenue busway, known as the Red Line, “one thought is that the higher-density housing might need to be closer to transit as opposed to over in an area that is already predominantly single-family,” Lawell said.

Changing the designation of these 25 acres should not adversely affect adjacent property, City Planner Tom Lovelace said in a briefing to the City Council. “Staff does have concerns with the proposed lot and street layout that will need to be addressed as part of any formal subdivision request,” he said.

Apple Valley’s 2030 comprehensive plan designates 42 percent of the community as low-density residential and 5 percent as medium-density residential.

Between 2000 and 2012, 3,383 new housing units were built in Apple Valley, including 360 single-family homes, 1,353 townhouses and 1,670 multifamily residences.