Medina gets preview of affordable rental townhomes

Dominium proposes 32 units near MEC

Dominium is proposing an affordable rental townhome project consisting of 32 units for a 4 acre site just north of the Medina Entertainment Center. The Medina project would be similar to the Dominium complex in Albertville, shown above. (Photo courtesy of Dominium)

Dominium is proposing an affordable rental townhome project consisting of 32 units for a 4 acre site just north of the Medina Entertainment Center. The Medina project would be similar to the Dominium complex in Albertville, shown above. (Photo courtesy of Dominium)

Medina City Councilors on Tuesday, Feb. 18, got chances to comment on a concept plan for an affordable rental townhome project proposed for the area north of the Medina Entertainment Center.

Nick Anderson, of Dominium, presented a plan for 32 units that would sit on 4 acres at 510 Clydesdale Trail. The plan shows nine buildings with three to four units per building. A club house and office building, and playgrounds for younger and older children are on the south side of the site just north of Clydesdale Trail.

As Mayor Elizabeth Weir looked at the concept she said, “This is a wonderful opportunity for Medina. We have good jobs and we want to have a work force.”

The City Council knew it would see Dominium’s concept plan eventually. Last year Dominium asked Medina for the city’s support when the developer and property management firm applied for tax credits from the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. Once the MHFA granted Dominium’s request, the way was clear for the firm to submit its concept plan.

So far both the City Council and Planning Commission have given Dominium their input on what would be a Planned Unit Development. Dominium’s next step would be to submit a preliminary plat and a request for rezoning to PUD from the current mixed use, R3, zoning.

A PUD would give the developer the flexibility to create a project with a net density of 8.65 units per acre compared with the 3.5 to 7 units per acre allowed in a mixed use zone, said City Planner Dusty Finke. If the PUD proposal is approved, Dominium also would be allowed to construct buildings with 22-foot setbacks from a private street, instead of the 25 feet required in the current zoning. The concept plan also shows 20-foot setbacks between buildings, instead of the 30-foot minimum required by the regular zoning.

Finke said the Planning Commission generally supported the PUD concept. Commissioners were not concerned about narrower setbacks between buildings and from streets because Dominium would manage the property and the streets would be private streets.

Anderson said his company would own and manage the project for at least 15 years. After that the townhomes would be eligible to be sold.

Weir said she was concerned about the 22-foot setback between curbs and garage doors: Would that give tenants enough room to park large pick-up trucks? Also, would the garages be large enough so that residents would keep garbage inside?

Anderson said Dominium is attempting to build a project that has less than 50 percent impervious surface coverage on the site. This affects the length of driveways. He had checked out the issue of garage size by measuring his own garage. It was smaller than those proposed for the rental townhomes.

Weir also asked that downspouts be pointed toward rain gardens. She called it a water quality issue and said it was better to prevent water pollution than to have to clean up impaired waters.

City Councilor John Anderson said it was very important that on-street parking not be allowed, and Dominion’s Nick Anderson said the property managers could make this a matter of policy.

The City Council also asked about where irrigation water would come from. Dominion’s Anderson said an underground holding tank would collect storm water for irrigation. This source might be supplemented by water from what now is a city well on the southeast corner of the project. Dominium and Medina are discussing whether the developer would take over ownership of the well.

City Councilor Melissa Martinson said about the project, “This looks very nice. I understand you want to keep the cost down, so it will be affordable.”

The concept plan review ended with Weir saying, “We’re all supportive, with some questions. We welcome you to the city.”

OTHER

In other business, the City Council:

LEARNED that Medina’s spring cleanup day will take place on April 26 at the new Public Works and Police Building instead of the old public works area next to Medina City Hall. Public Works Director Steve Scherer said the mayor will do the traditional grilling of hotdogs. Garage doors will be open to help create a “down home feel” to the event.

APPROVED the Medina Police Department’s request to establish an eligibility list for qualified individuals for the position of Community Service Officer. The position would be temporary and part-time for 20-24 hours per week. Applicants must be 18 or older, be community oriented, be certified in first responder training, have a valid driver’s license and be enrolled in an accredited law enforcement program.

Contact Susan Van Cleaf at susan.vancleaf@ecm-inc.com

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