A real estate firm named The Excelsior Group attended the St. Michael city council meeting last week to get feedback on a concept plan for residential development on the former Berning farmland, a 160 acre parcel near County Rd. 119 and Jamison Ave. The firm’s concept plan proposes 331 single family lots with a mix of HOA-maintained villas and single family homes.
This parcel of land lies just south of the land slated to become Lennar’s Fieldstone Passage development, which has now gotten final approval for its first phase of 40 homes.
The proposal calls for 115 (35 percent) of those homes to be 50 foot wide villa lots, with 5-foot side setbacks. Historically, the council has preferred 7.5 foot side setbacks and 60-65 foot lot widths at minimum, which the development’s 216 single family home lots would meet.
Though narrow, the developers say they prioritized more open space in the backyards as well as a possible public park with baseball and soccer fields on the property’s southeast corner, across CSAH 119 from Gutzwiller Park. City staff also noted that the density rate would still be low with this proposal, at 2.07 units per acre. The concept plan includes a lot of ponding and open space due to a limited sewer capacity in the trunk line that would service this parcel. Staff said a portion of the development on the north side would get sewer from the city of Albertville.
“Some councilmembers were comfortable with the design depending on the details of the actual plan submitted,” Community Development Director Marc Weigle said. “However, some councilmembers were concerned about the lots narrower than 60 feet with reduced setbacks.
Concept plans are tough because they are very preliminary and things often change by the time an official application is made,” he added.
The Excelsior Group said they do not yet have a specific builder lined up for this project.
Steph Griffin of Excelsior Group said they plan to move ahead with an Environmental Assessment Worksheet this spring and summer and bring a preliminary plat back to the city toward the end of that process. If all goes according to plan, she said grading may begin as early as this fall.