Lake Elmo council on board with three new development projects

Lake Elmo’s evolution from a rural town dotted with farms to a more fully developed suburb quickened a bit earlier this month.

The city council voted to support three new development proposals at its Tuesday, July 1 city council meeting. 

Two of those proposals are residential development projects in the city’s Interstate 94 corridor planning area; the other is a medical building to be built within the Eagle Point Business Park.

Council members first unanimously approved a preliminary plat for Hunter’s Crossing -- a new subdivision to be located just east of Lake Elmo Avenue and about one-fourth mile north of Interstate 94. The developer, the Ryland Group, plans to build 51-unit single-family homes on the 23-acre site that has long been occupied by the Country Air Golf Park.

The city council then approved a preliminary plat for a second residential development to be built along the I-94 corridor immediately west of Keats Avenue North and just south of Tenth Street North. The applicant, Hammes West, LLC, wants to build a 163-unit single-family subdivision on 78 acres called Hammes Estates near the southwest corner of Keats and Tenth.

Community development director Kyle Klatt told the council that the city’s planning commission had reviewed Hammes’ proposal at two separate meetings to address concerns commissioners had with development plans.

One key issue discussed, Klatt said, was that portions of the site abut a man-made channel on the southern shore of Goose Lake.

Members of the planning commission and city staff feared pesticides, lawn fertilizers and other contaminants would make their way into the picturesque lake. 

A public hearing was also held, and nearby residents voiced similar concerns about runoff polluting the lake, which is a nesting site for numerous waterfowl and songbirds.

As a result, city staff recommended the applicant -- as one of the conditions for approval -- be required to close off the man-made channel prior to development.

The majority of the council agreed. However, council member Anne Smith said she would still not vote for approval of the preliminary plat. Smith said the proposed 100-foot buffer between the housing development and the Stonegate community was inadequate.

“I’m not going to support this, and it’s not because I don’t like the proposed layout or anything like that,” she said. “I’m just not happy about having to get rid of the 200- or 300-foot buffers, because I feel we have the land there to do that and still get that amount of development in.”

The resolution passed 3-1 (council member Justin Bloyer was absent).

Klatt said he expects both developers to come before the city council to request approval of final plats soon.

“They’re trying to hit the fall construction schedule,” he said.

Eagle Point Medical

The city council also approved preliminary and final planned unit development (PUD) plans for a new medical building in the Eagle Point Business Park. The proposed 28,500-square-foot Eagle Point Medical Building would sit on 3.77 acres at the southeast corner of Inwood Avenue North and Eagle Point Boulevard.

The two story, multi-tenant building’s main tenant would be Noran Neurological Clinic, which would occupy the first floor. The clinic will include exam rooms, an MRI suite for diagnostic imaging and an infusion bay for cancer treatments.

The developer Mark Davis, CEO of the Davis Group, told council members he was pleased to bring the medical facility to Lake Elmo.

“We’re really excited to be doing a project that will bring a great clinic and imaging center to the community,” he said.

Council member Wally Nelson asked how many new jobs would be created in Lake Elmo when the building was completed. Davis responded that Nuran alone would hire around 25 for its clinic.

“It’s a great looking building, and we would like to welcome you to the community,” council member Mike Reeves said.

Construction for the project is expected to begin as soon as August and completed by next summer.

Joshua Nielsen can be reached at jnielsen@lillienews.com or 651-748-7822.

 

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