St. Michael to consider higher housing densities

The St. Michael City Council discussed possibly allowing higher housing densities in agricultural areas.

Community development director Marc Weigle reported that the planning commission discussed details of an open house planned for Feb. 5 to discuss possible changes to the city’s comprehensive land use plan.

Weigle said the city is trying to gather input on whether some agricultural areas of St. Michael should be allowed higher densities than the current 1 house per 40 acres.

“At this point, the open house is to get public feedback on various alternatives, one of which would be to make no change,” Weigle later said.

Staff plans to mail notices of the open house to all residents on the west side of the city and would advertise the meeting to news sources. Councilor Joe Marx suggested including the housing phasing plan that was adopted in 2004 as part of the history of development in St. Michael.

In other housing-related news, the council heard that developer D.R. Horton just submitted plans for a 38-lot subdivision south of St. Michael Elementary School. The planning commission and council will be reviewing that plat in early February.

“Most projects in the exurban areas are occurring on bank-owned land or land developers already own, but there is starting to be increased interest from developers in this area for new land,” Weigle said.



In other matters, community development director Weigle updated the council regarding potential interest in the former movie theater site at Hwy. 241 and Interstate 94.

“Over the past six months, interest from prospective buyers in the theater building has increased,” Weigle said. “Some prospective buyers are considering using the building as a theater, while others are looking at remodeling for retail-type uses.”

Weigle said he has received feedback indicating that continuing the use as a theater is challenging due to the number of screens already in the market area (such as Rogers, Elk River, Monticello, Buffalo and Maple Grove).

“However, remodeling the building is also a challenge as the concrete steps for seating need to be removed, windows added, etc.,” he said.

In other action, the council:

HEARD that the planning commission considered an option to extend sewer and water across I-94 to service a possible industrial development at County Rd. 36 and Ogren Avenue. Staff said the state has an infrastructure grant program that could help with some of the costs involved, and that the council will discuss it more at a January work session.

APPROVED a resolution accepting the feasibility report and ordering the public improvement hearing for the NE Downtown Reconstruction Project. This project includes the Catholic School and neighborhood to the northeast – Ash Avenue, Birch Avenue and 1st, 2nd and 3rd Streets NE.