Ramsey tables decision on Brookfield development

Staff Writer
I cover the cities of Andover, Blaine and Ramsey. I have worked at ABC Newspapers since August 2007.

When considering unresolved issues, the Ramsey City Council felt it was best to table a decision on a new housing development until a future meeting.

On a 5-2 vote Feb. 28, the council tabled action on the final plat for the eighth addition of the Brookfield development.

Capstone Homes plans to construct 25 single-family homes within this neighborhood located east of Variolite Street and north of 166th Avenue.

City Planner Chris Anderson said the Metropolitan Council raised some concerns a couple of days before the council meeting about the environmental impacts this development could have.

Community Development Director Tim Gladhill said there are wetlands and an oak savanna in this area to be developed. The city has wetland and tree preservation policies for its developments and the city believes it can address the Metropolitan Council’s questions and receive approval for a comprehensive plan amendment.

This amendment would allow the extension of the Metropolitan Urban Service Area to extend the sewer and water utilities and change the property zoning from rural to an low-density residential use with access to sewer and water. This would be consistent with the rest of the Brookfield development.

But another issue that has to be addressed is who should pay for a new water main loop that the city says would lead to a high water quality for homes at the end of the cul-de-sac planned in this development.

City Administrator Kurt Ulrich said the city’s public works committee proposed the city split the cost with Capstone Homes 50-50. City Engineer Bruce Westby said the total cost for this water main loop could range from $65,000 to $105,000, but this is a rough estimate. The water main loop would be going through a wetland.

Anderson said city staff has told Capstone Homes that it believed a water main loop would be necessary for this development, but Capstone Homes has tried to demonstrate that this would not be needed.

The consensus from the five council members who voted to table a decision on the final plat of the Brookfield 8th Addition was that it made more sense for the city to continue its discussions with the Metropolitan Council about its environmental questions and Capstone Homes about the water main loop before the council makes any decisions.

“I’d rather have it very clean, so we all know what our obligations and our expectations are before we approve a plat,” Council Member John LeTourneau said.

Mayor Sarah Strommen and Council Member Chris Riley voted against tabling the vote. Strommen said she felt city staff early in the review of this development made it clear that Capstone Homes would need to pay for a water main loop. Riley, on the other hand, was concerned about delaying the project more on behalf of the Metropolitan Council.

“I think the Met Council needs to focus on sewer and busing,” he said. “This is the eighth addition in a neighborhood that already exists and has been successful, so I don’t understand why we’re discussing it as much as we are.”

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