St. Michael to study utility extension for area east of I-94

Fox Creek proposes homes to replace 9 holes

The St. Michael City Council authorized having an engineering firm analyze a proposal to extend sewer and water services east across Interstate 94.

One of the areas that could receive the utilities is the Fox Creek Golf Course, which proposes to replace its northern nine-hole course with a residential development.



City administrator Steve Bot said that, with the possibility of new development east of I-94, staff recommends working with engineers to update the comprehensive sewer plan and analyze extension of water and sewer on County Rd. 36 to serve potential new development.

If it’s feasible to extend the utilities, the engineering firm would also work on plans for such a project, Bot said. He added that installing carrier pipes across the freeway would make sense during construction of the I-94 expansion project that will add a lane between Rogers and St. Michael.

Bot said the freeway expansion would require closing the Hwy. 241 on ramp for at least 10 days and the off ramp for up to 25 days.

The proposal to update the sewer plan and analyze the water extension would be about $17,500 to $19,500, Bot said, and the cost for plans and specifications would be $23,100 to $25,400.

Mayor Jerry Zachman and councilors Chris Schumm, Nadine Schoen, Joe Marx and Kevin Kasel discussed the proposal. Staff said there is a state grant program the city could apply for to help offset the costs, and that future development would be responsible for paying a portion as well.

The council ended up unanimously authorizing the MFRA firm to complete the plan update and analysis for extending sewer and water across I-94.



In related matters, community development director Marc Weigle said the Fox Hollow golf course is still analyzing whether a residential development would be feasible on the northern nine holes (the 18-hole course is located on the south side of County Rd. 36, and the nine-hole is located on the north side).

The council suggested adding the topic to a joint work session with the planning commission to discuss open space development.

Reached later, Weigle said the golf course is trying to see if there is a better use of its land. Such a change would require zoning approval from the city council.

Weigle said the city recently hosted a meeting with the Fox Hollow area to discuss the golf course’s concept for housing.

He said common concerns were if residents currently using septic systems would be required to hook up, and the answer is no.

“Everyone’s septics are functioning well there, soils are decent,” he said. “Bringing sewer and water would be for new development.”

He said another concern is traffic and the impact to County Rd. 36 and Ogren Avenue, adding that turn lanes would probably be required but that County Rd. 36 would not be expanded to four lanes.

The third concern was higher-density housing near the existing 1-acre lots.

“At this point there hasn’t even been a concept review by the city,” Weigle said. “Planning and zoning have seen the concept but there’s been no formal process. I think the golf course is doing due diligence work related to expenses for utilities and grading, and at some point if they decide to move ahead they would come back to the city and we’d start the more typical process for review.”

Weigle added that there are a few other areas west of Fox Hollow that are zoned for commercial and industrial development.

“The engineer will determine whether it’s more cost effective to do the utility extension now, or maybe they’ll come back saying it really doesn’t matter when you do it,” he said. “Then we would drive it more when development happens. That’s the big question.