Andover council approves modification to housing plan

A developer will be allowed to build up to 35 homes in an area originally slated for 31 homes.

Larry Emmerich (left) in the late summer of 2010 gave the Andover Open Space Advisory Commission a tour of the property the 20.6-acres the city bought under its open space preservation program. Some of the property was wetland, but Emmerich lost 14 buildable single-family home lots in this sale. He asked for additional lots in the remaining land he has yet to develop and the council granted him up to four more connections to the city’s sanitary sewer system. File photo by Eric Hagen

Larry Emmerich (left) in the late summer of 2010 gave the Andover Open Space Advisory Commission a tour of the property the 20.6-acres the city bought under its open space preservation program. Some of the property was wetland, but Emmerich lost 14 buildable single-family home lots in this sale. He asked for additional lots in the remaining land he has yet to develop and the council granted him up to four more connections to the city’s sanitary sewer system. File photo by Eric Hagen

Property owner and developer Larry Emmerich does not need any city variances at this point and he may not be able to develop this many homes after he completes further engineering studies.

He just needed to know the Andover City Council would allow the additional homes.

“This is pending engineering. The number could change from 35 to 34 or 33, but we’d like to design to the maximum amount,” he told the council before it unanimously approved his request for four additional connections to the city’s sanitary sewer system.

This development is just west of a 20.6-acre parcel that Emmerich sold to the city in 2010 for $320,000 as part of the open space preservation program that Andover voters approved in 2006.

Although some of this property had a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources protected wetland designation, Community Development Director David Carlberg said this property would have supported 14 single-family home lots.

In essence, the city was buying away the rights to 14 sewer connections to homes and Emmerich was asking the council to allocate four of those lots over to property that could be developed, unlike the open space on which the city forbids development.

“He’s asking us to add four more lots onto his property that we more or less approved for a certain layout,” Councilmember Tony Howard said.

Emmerich and his family continue to live in the neighborhood, at the end of a long driveway that he said has been mistaken as the entrance to the open space property because his home is adjacent to this land.

This is the only area of Andover north of 161st Avenue that has city sewer and water. Carlberg said 155 sewer lots are designated for this area, which also includes property that has yet to be developed on parcels owned by the Ganter and Putnam families.

In 2006, Emmerich received preliminary plat approval from the council for 60 lots in the White Pine Wilderness development. After he constructed 15 lots in the first addition, 45 lots could have been constructed. He lost 14 lots after he sold the open space, leaving 31 lots remaining to be developed.

Councilmember Sheri Bukkila said she was comfortable allowing up to 35 units, but did not want Emmerich thinking of this as an exchange for him selling the open space to the community.

“Four lots to me is no big deal,” Councilmember Julie Trude said. “I’d say we move ahead and let’s get this going.”

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

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