Medina OKs site plan for eye care clinic

The Medina City Council, Tuesday, July 2, reviewed a site plan for a Complete Eye Care Clinic proposed for the Hamel Station commercial development, located south of Highway 55 and west of Sioux Drive in the area known as the gateway to Hamel.

City Councilors liked what they saw. They directed city staff to draft a resolution approving the site plan and bring it back to a future City Council meeting.

City Councilor Kathleen Martin said she was happy that a business currently located in rented space in Medina is now finding a way to stay permanently in the city.

Dr. Gina Wesley, an optometrist, owns Complete Eye Care and is operating the clinic in the Adams Pest Control building on Highway 55 west of County Road 116. Once her new building is complete, she and her staff will be located just west of West Financial Credit Union in the Hamel Station development.

The City Council approved the three-lot Hamel Station development in 2007. West Financial constructed its building on one lot, but until now, nothing has happened on the other two lots. One was earmarked for a 9,216-square-foot retail building and the other for a 1,750-square-foot coffee shop, with drive-thru. Complete Eye Care is proposing to construct a 4,442-square-foot building with a footprint of approximately 3,470 square feet on the lot once intended for the coffee shop.

City Planner Dusty Finke noted that the proposed eye clinic would be larger than the previously proposed coffee shop, but the clinic would not have a drive-thru or outdoor patio. The Hamel Station site is just south of Elm Creek, so the developer has to deal with limitations on hardcover and filtration of storm water runoff before it enters the creek. The site plan for the Eye Clinic includes a storm water pond large enough to handle precipitation from a 100-year storm.

City staff have asked the builder, Brian Baas Construction, to reduce the hardcover on the proposed site plan for the eye clinic by 744 square feet, Finke said. The builder told him that he thought this was doable.

The City Council also took up other business on July 2. Here are some meeting highlights.



The City Council discussed at length a request from Ned Sorely for a comprehensive plan amendment pertaining to his rural property at 4200 Hillview Lane in Medina. The amendment would include his property in the Metropolitan Urban Services Area (MUSA) and make it possible for him to connect it to the city of Loretto sewer system. Hillview Lane forms a boundary line between eastern Loretto and western Medina.

City Planning Consultant Nate Sparks said the Planning Commission had recommended denial of Sorely’s request. The City Council decided to follow the commission’s recommendation and directed city staff to draft a resolution for denial.

Sorely’s six-acre property is located in an area in Medina that is not scheduled to be developed until after 2030 under Medina’s Comprehensive Plan. The property is zoned Rural Residential-Urban Reserve. That means the area is not scheduled to receive sanitary sewers until after 2030. Meanwhile, nearby Loretto has a sewer system that connects to outdoor wastewater treatment ponds. A plan for improving water quality in Lake Independence calls for Loretto to hook up to Metropolitan Council sanitary sewers and close its wastewater ponds, but the Met Council and local jurisdictions have not agreed on a way for this to happen.

Sorley is proposing to replace a house located on his six-acre property, and the new house would require a new septic system, Sparks said. His current septic site is located within a private easement on a neighboring property, and the area of this easement does not allow for expanding or replacing the septic system. Meanwhile, a manhole near Sorley’s driveway would enable him to hookup to Loretto’s sewer system. The distance to hook up to the sewer is about the same as the distance for hooking up to a suitable septic system site. However, the hilly topography would require sewage to be pumped uphill to reach the septic site.

Sparks said that adding Sorely’s property to the MUSA would affect Medina’s ability to meet housing density requirements under the city’s 2030 comprehensive plan. Sorely would construct one house on his 4.8 net developable acres. The Met Council requires an overall minimum density of 3.0 units per acre. So far Medina has approved large single family developments, such as the Enclave, that place the city’s density at 3.03 units per acre. Adding a one-unit 4.8 acre parcel to the MUSA would drop Medina’s density down to 3.01 units per acre and restrict the city’s flexibility for unplanned emergency connections to sanitary sewers.

Mayor Elizabeth Weir said, “I can’t support this. It seems so reasonable, but it’s going to make planning and development extremely difficult for the city.”

Weir was concerned that approving the comprehensive amendment would “open the door to all sorts of these requests.” She added, “I’m sorry for Mr. Sorely’s dilemma, but I don’t think it’s unsolvable.”



The City Council also:

CALLED FOR an open house on the 2014 city budget at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3, at Medina City Hall.

DIRECTED city staff to draft a resolution approving a lot line adjustment and easement vacation for property owned by Michael Kunin and the Wallace Anderson Estate at 855 and 985 Medina Road.

APPROVED a letter from Mayor Weir to the Minnesota Housing agency in support of the Dominium affordable rental housing project proposed for a site on Clydesdale Trail behind the Medina Entertainment Center.


Contact Susan Van Cleaf at [email protected]