Medina questions northeast population density

Medina City Councilors, Tuesday, June 17, said they were concerned that population in the northeast corner of their city is growing too fast and becoming too dense. Then asked what they could do about it.

Could they enact a moratorium on development?

Or what about getting a head start on amending the city’s comprehensive plan?

City staff left the meeting with direction to come back with ideas on how to proceed.

“Our citizens in this part of the city are fed up,” said City Councilor Kathleen Martin.

“They (residents) think they are losing the community they thought they were moving into,” said Planning Commissioner Victoria Reid.

“Traffic is nuts,” said City Councilor Jeff Pederson, referring in particular to County Road 116 and its intersection with Highway 55.

City Council John Anderson urged the city, Hennepin County and the Minnesota Department of Transportation to work on solutions for the County Road 116 area. “It is important for citizens to know ‘we hear you,’” he said.

City Attorney Ron Batty explained the moratorium process. The city would be required to delineate a geographic area for the moratorium and then study land use changes and official controls to enforce city land use regulations. A moratorium could be in effect for a year and possibly be extended. Or the time frame could be shorter. He added that getting approval of a comprehensive plan amendment easily could take longer than a year.

Batty said a moratorium would not apply to developments that already have received preliminary plat approval.

“There already is a lot of water over the dam,” he commented.

City Planner Dusty Finke said that Medina already is scheduled to begin its comprehensive plan update in 2015. A yearlong moratorium would bring the city to the start of the updating process cycle.

City Council members asked for a four-part study and they talked about the staff time that would be required.

Councilor Martin called the northeast corner “the gem of Medina” and praised it as a beautiful area. She wanted Medina to look into how to redistribute its population density so that the northeast corner does not continue to receive the bulk of it.

Martin said natural resources should be included in the study. She also wanted information from the four school districts (Wayzata, Rockford, Delano and Orono) about their ability to absorb increases in the student population during the next 14 years. Thirdly, she asked about the ability of the city’s fire departments to serve an increased population.

Councilor Anderson asked for information about transportation infrastructure that will be coming into Medina.

WOODLAND HILL PRESERVE

The discussion about the development picture in northeast Medina popped up in the middle of a concept plan review for the proposed Woodland Hill Preserve development, which would be accessed via County Road 116. Mayor Elizabeth Weir said the council should have the broader development discussion during a different part of the meeting. Charles Cudd De Novo, developer for Woodland Hill Preserve, deserved a separate review of their proposal.

He is proposing a new layout for the Fawn Meadows development that already has received preliminary plat approval from Medina. The new concept plan shows a slightly larger development consisting of approximately 15 single-family homes on 7.8 net acres located south of Hackamore Road, east of County Road 116.

The developer asked the council whether it preferred a concept with a cul-de-sac — a plan that would preserve trees – a through street that would connect the development to a roadway to the south.

Weir said the site has beautiful old trees and she preferred the cul-de-sac.

OTHER

The city council also:

DIRECTED STAFF to prepare a resolution ordering street and utility improvements for Tower Drive, Hamel Road and Kilkenny Lane. Staff also was directed to prepare plans and specifications for the project. Construction is expected to take place in 2015.

APPROVED an amendment to Medina’s alcoholic beverage ordinance that allows taprooms and micro breweries in the city. Medina has not received a specific proposal for this type of business.

APPROVED a $20,000 quote for constructing surfaces in the new Fields of Medina playground.

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

 

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