Lake Elmo to control its own growth

Met Council backs off  mandate to triple population

A contentious relationship between the Metropolitan Council and Lake Elmo that began in 2005 has officially come to an end.

The Met Council adopted a resolution on Wednesday, May 28 to terminate a mandate requiring the city to triple its population by 2030, known as the “memorandum of understanding.”

“The goal [of the MOU] was to have infrastructure planned and in place to support more efficient land use and growth,” the Met Council’s development director Guy Peterson said in a written statement. “That goal has been achieved.”

City administrator Dean Zuleger said the Met Council’s MOU would have contractually obligated the city to grow to 24,000 residents by 2030. He said the MOU was terminated largely due to city plans to build municipal sewer lines through the Village district and along the Interstate 94 corridor.

“The new 2040 growth projections and relief of the MOU really allows us to control our own destiny,” Zuleger said.

The 2010 U.S. Census put the city’s population at 8,069. Zuleger said a more realistic growth target for Lake Elmo would be between 18,000 and 19,000 residents by 2040.

Mayor Mike Pearson said Lake Elmo has had plenty of interest from developers now that the real estate market is rebounding from the Great Recession.

“With sewer service available to the Village area and along the I-94 corridor, we’re definitely seeing a growing interest in development.”

Pearson added that municipal sewer service is also important for environmental reasons.

“Many residences and businesses on septic systems [that are] often old and failing can now get on a wastewater collection and treatment system.  That’s important for both our groundwater and the surface water quality of Lake Elmo proper.”

Zueger said Lake Elmo was the only city contractually obligated to grow under an MOU agreement. Now that the Met Council has terminated that agreement, the city is allowed to grow at its own pace once again. He added that Lake Elmo officials must submit a new comprehensive plan by 2018 — like all other cities in the metro area.

Joshua Nielsen can be reached at or 651-748-7822.


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