Medina sets Clam Corp purchase dates

The city of Medina has been working on details of the purchase of the Clam Corporation building at 600 Clydesdale Trail for almost a year, and the latest detail — setting of the closing date — almost makes the purchase official.

The Medina City Council Tuesday, Oct. 16, approved an amendment to the purchase agreement with Clam Corp that sets the closing date for Friday, Dec. 14. The agreement calls for Clam Corp to lease the building from Medina until April 30. That means that Medina can begin to renovate the building for use by the Public Works and Police Departments as early as May 1.

The City Council approved the purchase of the Clam Corp building in February at a cost of $4.125 million. At that time, Clam Corporation was still using the building and needed to find a new location. The Dec. 14 closing date and subsequent leasing of the building to Clam Corp set the timetable for the company to move elsewhere.

The 69,487-square-foot office/warehouse building is large enough to house both the Public Works and Police Departments. Both have outgrown their current quarters in Medina City Hall. Prior to February Medina was looking at building a new facility for Public Works alone at a cost of $6.5 million. When the Clam Corps building became available, Medina discovered that it could avoid constructing separate new facilities for both Public Works and Police. The result will be considerable savings for Medina taxpayers.

The City Council also took up other business on Oct. 16. Here are some meeting highlights.

PUBLIC BUILDING ORDINANCE

As Medina gets ready to move its Public Works department, the city has had to make sure it complies with its own ordinances relating to public buildings. City Planner Dusty Finke asked the City Council to amend the ordinance regarding public buildings in the Industrial Park zoning district, in which the Clam Corps building is located. He advised councilors to amend the ordinance rather than apply for a variance.

The City Council took his advice and approved an ordinance that will allow Medina to construct an accessory building to house salt and sand next to a berm on the east side of the Clam Corps building. The old ordinance did not permit this type of structure.

HOUSING CONCEPT PLAN

Planner Finke explained the concept plan for the Woods of Medina single-family housing development proposed for the Gorman Farms property located east of County Road 116 and south of Hackamore Road. Then City Councilors gave feedback to Toll Brothers, the developer/builder. If Toll Brothers decides to seek city approvals for Woods of Medina, the next step will be submission of a preliminary plat to city staff and the Planning Commission.

The Toll Brothers concept plan shows 125 single-family lots on 65.3 net acres. The entire site spans 80 acres, but it includes wetlands not suited for building. The site is listed as Low Density Residential in Medina’s Comprehensive Plan, and the developer is proposing R1 zoning. The layout for the site shows a housing density of 2.1 units per acre in an area where the Metropolitan Council requires a net density of 2.0 to 3.49 units per acre.

The concept plan also shows a pool and tot lot in the center of the development and a 4.7 acre park in the north-east corner in an area containing wetlands.

Drainage on the southern end of the proposed development was a major topic of discussion amongst the City Council, developer, staff and residents of Shawnee Woods Road, located just south of Woods of Medina. Everyone who spoke talked about the area being wet in the spring. Both residents and the golf course to the south have found the area to be soggy.

The engineer for Toll Brothers said he still is analyzing the area to better understand the reason for the drainage problem and how to solve it. Some speakers talked about the possibility that the water is coming from the Wild Meadows housing development to the east.

Traffic along County Road 116 also was a major concern. Steven Theesfeld, a resident of Shawnee Woods Road, said he and his neighbors already couldn’t get onto County Road 116 from their road. With more development in the area, “we won’t be able to get out of our neighborhood,” he said.

Everyone agreed that a traffic study would be needed.

Theesfeld said the residents along his street are long-time residents who “bought into” privacy and large lots. He urged the City Council “to preserve the nature of our neighborhood.”

He also called the Toll Brothers concept plan reasonable because of the proposed low density.

LORETTO CREEK PROJECT

The City Council accepted a $288,902.31 bid from New Look Contracting to construct water quality improvements in the Loretto Creek area. The Loretto City Council already had accepted the bid. The low bid was good news for both cities because a $334,450 grant from the Board of Water and Soil Resources will easily cover the costs.

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