Northwest Roseville residents come out in force against proposed development


A more than 200-unit apartment development proposed for the southeast corner of County Road D and Old Highway 8 in Roseville brought neighbors out in droves to speak against the proposal at the city’s June 5 Economic Development Authority meeting. Though the authority voted against a pledge of city funding to support for the project, the developer is moving forward with its plan, and is likely to seek greater public input. courtesy of Google Maps

The 209-unit proposed apartment development in northwest Roseville would include three apartment buildings, along with a community building. The development would have underground parking, green space for residents and trails. Though Roseville declined to commit public money to the project, the developer is moving forward with its plans. courtesy of City of Roseville

Concerns raised over traffic, changes, brought by 200-unit complex

A proposed $46 million apartment development slated for the northwest corner of Roseville drew a crowd to the city’s June 5 Economic Development Authority meeting where neighbors raised concerns about the development’s density.

Though the EDA was only considering a resolution showing the city’s support of public financing options for the more than 200-unit development at the meeting, an organized group of residents from the area of Old Highway 8 and County Road D packed the council chambers.

With respect to the proposed development — slated for a large wooded lot between Old Highway 8 and Highway 88 just south of County Road D, which would include workforce and affordable housing — residents said they were afraid it would change the character of their neighborhood, which they say is already fraught with traffic and rising crime.

“My biggest concern is 200 units — I don’t want 200 units of anything,” said Claudia Herrera, who lives on Brenner Street, blocks from the proposed development. “This area is so small.”

Though others from outside the neighborhood argued in favor of the development, the EDA, which is the Roseville City Council by a different name, voted 3-1 against offering the city’s financial support.

The support would have come in the form of tax increment financing and community development block grants, worth about $1.35 million.

Though Roseville’s contribution to the project would have been only about 3 percent of its total cost, the city’s pledge of public money was seen as support for grants the developer, Sands Development, LLC, is seeking from the state.

Though it appeared the lack of Roseville public funding support could have scuttled the apartment project, Mayor Dan Roe, speaking June 15, said Sands went through with its applications for state funding, based on scaled-back project plans. 

Roe said the decision on state grants should come in early fall, after which Sands could begin the process of getting the project approved by the city. Between now and then, he said he expects the developer to seek input from the neighborhood and to potentially conduct a traffic study.

“The Sands folks are still very interested in developing the site,” Roe said.

 

For, but 

mostly against

The project, a three building, 209-unit mixed-income rental housing development, would be slated for the southeast corner of County Road D and Old Highway 8. The nearly 9-acre lot is heavily wooded, and in 2010, was rezoned from business to high-density housing; many residents said they would have been opposed to the rezoning, had they been involved.

The initial plans for the complex included 60 units of workforce housing, about a sixth of those dedicated as housing for people who had been homeless, along with green space and trails around the property. Roe said the affordable housing piece, for which Sands sought Roseville’s public support, may be smaller now that the city is not involved.

 

Resident after resident of the triangular-shaped neighborhood sandwiched between St. Anthony, New Brighton and Highway 88, said they were alarmed by the prospect of 400 or more people moving into the area, and the cars they would bring with them. 

Many folks said commuters go well above the speed limit along the two-lane Old Highway 8 — which is by no means a highway — and that intersections at the major roads near the neighborhood become clogged during rush hours.

Other residents said they were worried the large apartment complex would negatively affect their home values, and at least a handful said they were worried an influx of people would increase crime in the area.

Laurie Starr, who said she lives on Troseth Road, said crime had worsened in her neighborhood over the past decade, and that she personally knew of burglaries, graffiti and slashed tires — one of her license plates had recently been stolen off her car.

“We also have a lot of people parking in front of our house and we suspect they are doing drug deals,” she said.

Roseville area state Sen. John Marty sent a letter to the EDA in support of the development, and Sue Watlov Phillips, the executive director of the Metropolitan Interfiath Council on Affordable Housing, spoke in favor of it as well.

League of Women Voters Roseville Area member and former legislator Mindy Greiling pointed out the racially tinged way people talked about their crime concerns and offered personal experiences, backing the development. Near the end of the meeting Starr said her concerns were in no way racially motivated.

Greiling said the affordable housing aspect of the proposed development was especially important.

“Workforce housing is for people like me with my first job as a teacher,” she said. “A first-year teacher could not afford to buy a house in Roseville.”

 

Greiling choked up as she described her son’s struggles to find housing in Roseville — she said he has a mental illness and was unable to find an affordable rental in the suburbs and now lives in Minneapolis.

“We wanted him here,” she said, “he wanted to be with his family, so please support this resolution.”

 

More connecting 

in the future

Ultimately, the authority did not support the resolution. Council member Tammy McGehee, moved by the neighborhood’s concerns and opposed to how the affordable housing was placed within the development, made a motion to not provide a pledge of Roseville support.

Roe and council member Lisa Laliberte joined McGehee in backing the resolution; council member Jason Etten voted against it and council member Bob Willmus was not at the meeting.

Speaking after the meeting, Roe said he supported the motion because of issues of community involvement dating back to the rezoning of the site nearly a decade ago.

“Going forward we want to make sure we do a better job of connecting with the folks in the neighborhood,” he said.

 

Mike Munzenrider can be reached at mmunzenrider@lillienews.com or 651-748-7813. 

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