New housing development concept plan at Monday’s planning commission meeting

A new housing development proposed in Minnetrista to be located north of CR110W and just west of Saunders Lake will be before the city’s planning commission tomorrow night, Monday, 10/25/2020, at 7pm (call in numbers below). The planning commission agenda shows the concept/sketch plan from Summergate Companies is the only item on the agenda.

I intend to call in and I encourage other residents that value our parks and open spaces to attend as well.

Minnetrista, in my opinion, should encourage developers to include parks and open spaces in their plans rather than to pay cash in lieu of providing them.

Shannon Bruce

When a developer is forced to pay cash in lieu of providing land for parks the inevitable result is housing that is denser and of lesser quality in order to afford paying those fees.

I’m guessing Minnetrista residents would rather see the very generous allocation of lands in this development going to parks and open spaces than to see those spaces crammed with dense housing. It appears, however, the Parks Commission, at the direction of staff, is recommending cash in lieu:

“After review, the Parks Commission unanimously directed the
Applicant to consider a hybrid, land dedication and cash-in-lieu, approach to the
required park dedication as well as possible trail connections. If cash-in-lieu is
considered, an appraisal should be required to determine fair market value.”

10/13/2020 Parks Commission meeting

If we are to preserve and protect the rural landscape and ambience of Minnetrista we must have policies that do just that and a mayor that values our parks and open spaces more than the cash balance in our parks fund which, btw, has over $1M balance at the moment.

To listen live to the Minnetrista Planning Commission meeting: call +1 (571) 317-3122 and enter meeting Access Code 651-586-797 #, or join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone by accessing the following: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/651586797
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http://www.ShannonBruceForMayor.com

Should Minnetrista encourage or discourage developers to provide parks and open space?

Summergate Companies submitted a concept sketch plan to the Parks Commission at their meeting last night (Agenda Packet) for a Minnetrista housing development of approximately 200 homes located north of CR 110W, southwest of Saunders Lake, west of the existing Saunders Lake South development, and east of Halstead Drive.

The plan was presented along with a proposal, by one of the land owners, to sell a 28 acre parcel, just north of the proposed development, to Three Rivers Parks District. The 28 acre parcel is adjacent to Gale Woods Farm.

I was surprised staff was recommending, in lieu of the generous parks and open spaces designated in this development, that cash be required instead to go into the city’s Park Development Fund. Below is the staff recommendation from the agenda:

Recommended Action: Motion to direct the Applicant to submit a preliminary plat application, which includes a fair market land value appraisal, with the understanding that cash in lieu of land in the sum of 11% of the fair market value of the land will be required for the park dedication requirement.

This sketch plan is a model of providing plentiful natural open spaces and parks to future Minnetrista residents that will enjoy them and supports Minnetrista’s stated goal to protect the rural character of our community. The consequence of requiring cash in lieu of land is developers will fill in the open spaces and parks with houses to afford to pay the sum to the city. I don’t believe that is what residents want.

If Minnetrista wants to preserve parks and open space we need to encourage developers to do that, not discourage them by requiring cash-in-lieu of land when land is available, as in this case, and appropriately used in a development.

The Parks Commission ultimately made a motion to recommend a reduced amount of cash-in-lieu of land, given the generosity of an additional donation of 40 acres to Three Rivers Park District which hadn’t been considered in the formula for the development’s park dedication requirement. They also decided not to require a fair market value appraisal of the land and for the developer to submit a revised plan.

The next step is the city’s Planning Commission that will study a revised plan in November. Hopefully they will value Minnetrista’s parks and open spaces more than adding cash to Minnetrista’s Parks fund that currently has a pretty healthy balance of close to $1M (according to staff last night).

http://www.ShannonBruceForMayor.com

Three Rivers Parks District – Preserving Minnetrista’s open space

I met with Three Rivers Park District representative Marge Beard today at Gale Woods Farms to talk about past and future land acquisitions in Minnetrista. I found Ms. Beard easy to engage with and sensed a sincere desire to serve our community to provide access to open space, parks and trails that enhance our quality of life.

I look forward to working together in the future to make sure we preserve our natural amenities that Minnetrista residents value and continuing future plans to connect trails that serve our developments, rural areas and connect regionally across the county.

Minnetrista may be growing but we must make sure we maintain our parks and open spaces. After all, that’s why so many want to live here. I’m grateful to have an advocate like Ms. Beard working on our behalf.

http://www.ShannonBruceForMayor.com