New housing development in North St. Paul’s future

Forest along Third Street to be spared

 

The North St. Paul City Council took neighborhood concerns to heart when it unanimously approved the preliminary plat and planned unit development for a housing development to be built on the empty lot between McKnight Road and Third Street, south of the gateway trail. 

The parcel is otherwise known as the southern half of the former Anchor Block site.

The project includes the construction of 100 owner-occupied townhomes, which would sell for between $270,000 and $310,000. The plan originally also included 10 single-family homes to be located in the currently forested area on the east side of Third Street.

Residents shared concerns about the plans for that wooded area at an Oct. 4 Planning Commission meeting and an Oct. 11 open house. 

Neighborhood residents also reached out to city council members before the Oct. 16 council meeting to voice their concerns.

Jeff Hansen, otherwise known as “Scrapegoat,” said he originally bought his house on Oak Hill Place because of the large backyard that abuts the forest. He said that in addition to providing beauty, the forest buffers the traffic noise from Highway 36 and provides habitat for bald eagles, deer, fox and many other animals.

Had the 10 houses planned for this forest gone in according to plan, the steep slope that begins just beyond Hanson’s property would have been converted to a large retaining wall, disrupting his view of beautiful sunsets and wildlife, he said. He added that even if, from the second story of his home, he could see over the wall, his view would be only rooftops.

The city opted to swap ownership of a parcel located at the northwest corner of the Seventh Avenue/South Avenue/Third Street intersection with the developer for the wooded lot, in order to have no houses built on it.

A special condition, stating that the city and developer must reach an agreement on the land swap and the creation of a soils district, was added before the city council approved the planned unit development. The city also approved the preliminary plat.

“That works for me,” said Hansen following the city council vote.

“I just am so pleased that this has come to fruition in our town,” said Mayor Mike Kuehn of the development. 

 

—Aundrea Kinney

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