Crystal Planning Commission Recap – September 2014

There were two items on the agenda for the September 8th Crystal Planning Commission meeting.

The first was an application for the plat of the Gaulke Pond Homes property.  This is the empty lot on Douglas Drive from about 39th to 40th Ave.  There is one house currently on that property, kind of right in the middle.

The proposal is to knock down that house and divide the land into 15 single family home lots (13 would face Douglas, two would face Colorado on the back side of the property).  I am really excited about the prospect of 15 brand new single family homes in Crystal.  It would add to our tax base, and bring many new families into our community.  I am also a fan of this proposal, in particular, as I consider the proposed addition the proper density for the area.

Unfortunately the proposal ran into some issues, and city staff was recommending that we table the approval of the preliminary plat until the next meeting.  Staff had flagged two items which they considered major issues with the project- one related to water runoff, and the other related to driveways.

Douglas Drive is a county road, and Hennepin County gets to weigh in on new plans for the property, since this project would add more driveways to “their” road.  The County is on record opposing the amount of new driveways that would be added, and wanted the developer to combine driveways so that every set of two houses would share one common driveway entrance.  It seems to me that the county’s insistence that somehow half as many double-wide driveways is better than individual single-wide driveways defies all logic and reason.  The developer agreed, and felt he would be able to mitigate the issue with the county.

The second concern centered around some disagreement between the city staff and the developers regarding the calculations related to water runoff.  To me it seemed that this disagreement was more based in a communication breakdown between the developer and the staff, rather than a fundamental issue with the project.

I felt that there was opportunity to move the project forward and work out the final details as we moved through the remaining phases. The majority of other commissioners disagreed, and a motion was made to table this item until the next meeting.  I voted in the dissent.

In general, I hate to slow down projects because of the bureaucratic process.  I hope that the issues can be resolved quickly and that development can begin soon.  I believe this will be a good addition to our neighborhood.

The second item on the agenda was the U-Haul store application that was tabled last month.  Staff was much more comfortable with this application this month, as they had additional conversations with the applicant that helped assuage the concerns we had the last time around.  This item was passed unanimously.

After a few updates on old items the meeting was adjourned.

Prepared and paid for by the Kolb for Crystal Committee, PO Box 28373, Crystal, MN 55428