Market analysis suggests ways to jump start downtown Corcoran

Residential development is the short term key to establishing a downtown community district in Corcoran, according to results of a market analysis of the city’s southeast district.

Mary Bujold, president of Maxfield Research and Consulting, summarized more than 150 pages of research results at the Thursday, April 13 Corcoran City Council meeting. The council accepted the report and also took up other business. Here are meeting highlights.

RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT WOULD ATTRACT RETAIL

Bujold gave statistics on demand for a broad array of development types — residential, retail goods and services, office, commercial and industrial – in Corcoran and surrounding cities. Because Corcoran is located away from major freeways, the city is less likely to attract big box retail, such as a Target store. Industrial companies would prefer locations near freeways, she said.

Bujold also said development to the east in Maple Grove and Plymouth is creating demand for housing further to the west. As residents move in to developments such as Ravinia in Corcoran, downtown Corcoran could attract neighborhood businesses such as restaurants, a drugstore, hair salons, hardware and more.

The market analysis also looked at “leakage,” the number of people who head to communities surrounding Corcoran to find these types of goods and services.

The researchers said Corcoran could jump start the new downtown district by encouraging new residential development west of Maple Hill Road with single-family and multi-family units, including row homes and detached villas.

Results of the market analysis will be put to use immediately as Corcoran updates its Comprehensive Plan. The Metropolitan Council is requiring cities to submit their 2040 Comprehensive Plans by the end of 2018. City comp plans are thick documents describing citizens’ visions of what they want their cities to look like by 2040. Corcoran’s comp plan will have chapters on land use, transportation, housing, parks, recreation and more.

The Corcoran City Council in 2016 authorized city staff to seek a research firm to conduct the market analysis. The results are on the city website at ci.corcoran.mn.us. To find it, click on Government, City Council, Agenda Packets 2017, and finally 2017-4-13 Council agenda packet.

OPTION TO PURCHASE PARK LAND

City Administrator Brad Martens reported on a new development in the saga of the 121-acre Roehlke property, located adjacent to Corcoran’s new Public Works Facility on County Road 19. The city has options to purchase all or parts of the acreage through Oct. 15, 2017. He said an attorney for the Roehlke family has offered to extend the purchase option until after the fall of 2018. Cost of the land would not increase between October 2017 and October 2018.

Martens asked the City Council for direction on how Corcoran should respond to the new Roehlke proposal. Mayor Ron Thomas and City Councilor Mike Keefe were absent from the meeting. The council voted to table the issue until the April 27 meeting, when the full contingent of five city councilors is likely to be present.

Corcoran has had options to purchase the property since April 2012, when the city purchased part of the Roehlke farm for the Public Works Facility. The city has considered the possibility of using Roehlke land for a “regional recreation amenity,” containing features such as baseball and soccer fields.

Three options are on the table. Option one pertains to the 45.5-acre balance of the west farm and would cost $598,000 plus two percent interest per year from June 1, 2014. The Public Works Facility sits on a portion of the west farm.

The second option involves paying $520,000 plus two percent interest per year from June 1, 2014 for the 38-acre south half of the east farm; the third involves paying $520,000 plus two percent interest per year from June 1, 2014 for the 38-acre for the 38-acre north half of the east farm.

Martens estimated that it would cost Corcoran approximately $2.5 million to develop the site. These costs are anticipated in the city’s five-year financial management plan.

The new proposal from the Roehlke family came after the City Council discussed the purchase agreement on Feb. 9. At that meeting, Martens said the Planning Commission would need to hold public hearings about any land purchase and then the City Council would need to review the proposal. The council would need to begin this process soon in order to meet the October deadline for exercising the purchase options.

The Council directed city staff to take no action, essentially letting the options expire. City Councilors talked about major expenses that Corcoran is incurring, including cost for constructing sewer and water infrastructure and roadways in the vicinity of downtown Corcoran. The council also discussed looking for parkland located closer to eastern Corcoran, which has a higher population density.

At the following City Council meeting representatives of the city Planning Commission and Parks and Trails Commission commented on a need for athletic facilities and expressed disappointment about the council’s lack of action on the Roehlke property.

OTHER

City Councilor Tonya LaFave presents a trophy to Patrol Officer Duane Hochstetler in recognition for his 10 years of service to the city of Corcoran.
City Councilor Tonya La Fave presents a trophy to Patrol Officer Duane Hochstetler in recognition for his 10 years of service to the city of Corcoran.

The City Council also:

APPROVED the city’s revised special assessment policy that will be used to determine how much property owners would be assessed for water, sanitary and storm sewer and road improvements.

APPROVED the process of planning a large gathering that would take place at the Stanchion Bar on June 3. The nonprofit group Better Angels of Our Nature is planning a fund raising event featuring live bands. If the crowd exceeds the indoor capacity of the Stanchion Bar, a portion of the event might take place outside. A noise ordinance exemption until midnight would be involved.

The Rogers Fire Department has a new ATV grass fire/ rescue rig that can carry firefighters and water to grass fires and bring back fire victims. Fire Chief Brad Feist described the vehicle during his annual report to the Corcoran City Council.
The Rogers Fire Department has a new ATV grass fire/ rescue rig that can carry firefighters and water to grass fires and bring back fire victims. Fire Chief Brad Feist described the vehicle during his annual report to the Corcoran City Council.

HEARD annual reports from the Loretto, Hanover and Rogers Fire Departments.

RECOGNIZED Patrol Officer Duane Hochstetler, of the Corcoran Police Department, for his 10 years of service to the city.

APPOINTED Mayor Ron Thomas and City Councilor Brian Dejewski to the committee that will define specific crime and drug issues to help the city retain a safe atmosphere. Other committee members are Police Chief Matt Gottschalk and Police Lt. Ryan Burns. The committee will set measurable goals and help the City Council develop an action plan.