MERA lawsuit allowed to proceed

A Ramsey County judge, while dismissing the majority of the Friends of Twin Lakes claims, allowed one part of its petition to advance in the ongoing redevelopment struggle in Roseville.

The non-profit “Friends” group opposing redevelopment plans in their are argued that the Twin Lakes proposal may violate the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act.

“We’re very pleased that we get to present that evidence at trial,” said Alex Klass, who represented the Friends of Twin Lakes.

There will not be a jury, but arguments and evidence will be presented to the Ramsey County District Judge M. Michael Monahan. The case is not expected to go to court until December, Klass said.

The Twin Lakes site, which had mainly been occupied by trucking companies, is located near County Road C and Cleveland Avenue. The entire site encompasses 280 acres, but the Phase 1 plan currently submitted has development spanning 80 acres. That plan calls for a mixed use of housing, office and retail, including a “big-box” retail store such as Costco.

The Friends of Twin Lakes argued that the redevelopment will cause pollution and will destroy nearby Langton Lake.

Friends to air

part of argument

The judge ruled against the Friends’ claims that the proposed development was not consistent with the city’s 2001 alternative urban areawide review, or AUAR, and that the plan violated the city’s Comprehensive Plan.

However, he did not rule against the group on its MERA claim. But unlike the previous two claims, the Friends of Twin Lakes and Roseville have contradictory facts.

Mayor Craig Klausing said he did not see the ruling as a victory for the Friends of Twin Lakes. Instead, he explained that the judge would allow evidence to be presented from both sides.

“I’m confident that once (the judge) looks at the evidence and sees that, for instance, Twin Lakes Parkway is a parkway and not a highway, that we will prevail,” Klausing said.

Joy Anderson, the president of the Friends of Twin Lakes, said the group is anxious to get its day in court. Unlike the earlier rulings where Anderson said she thought the judge did not want to create law, she hopes a trial could spur new regulations that could help Friends of Twin Lakes stop the proposed development.

“In order to create laws we have to go ahead with the MERA suit,” she said.