The plot of open land across from St. Michael-Albertville’s Middle School West has become a flurry of activity in recent weeks, as heavy machinery lays the groundwork for a type of development not yet seen in the STMA area.
The new housing development, The Preserve at Albertville, will include 70 single-family homes, all of them rental and under a single ownership, with a goal of bringing more single-family rental options to the area. The development will have amenities like a private park, pool, and clubhouse. These residential lots will be smaller than the city of Albertville’s standard sizes, but the council approved a Planned Unit Development last summer to allow for flexibility in lot sizing, though they decided all lots must be at least 6,000 square feet, be 50 feet wide, and include at least 25 feet of usable backyard space. The development still falls within the density limits for low density residential, even with the smaller lot sizes.
All homes in the development will be either two-bedroom, single-level homes with 1,250-1,515 square feet, or four-bedroom, two level homes between 1,700-2,200 square feet. Ian Peterson of Integrate Properties, the developer, said Robert Thomas Homes will build the houses, and most will fall in the rental range of under $3,000 per month.
Changes to 50th Street
The city of Albertville had a traffic study completed to see how The Preserve at Albertville would affect traffic on 50th Street near Middle School West. 50th Street will be the sole entrance/exit to the new development, and the area is busy at times with traffic from the adjacent school. SRF, who conducted the study, said the new development would generate approximately 660 new trips into and out of of the development per day but should not cause issues with operations or queuing in the area.
The study also considered pedestrian routes to Middle School West for students in that development. One option had pedestrians routing east of the new neighborhood to cross at the three-way stop sign at Main Ave., but they noted compliance issues are likely in this instance since they’d be routing significantly out of the way. An alternative would have students going directly across the street from the neighborhood’s entrance/exit (across from the middle school’s east entrance), but they noted the safety hazards of students crossing two lanes of traffic plus turn lane traffic. They determined the safest option would be to create a two-stage, midblock crossing (otherwise known as a median refuge island) on 50th St. so that pedestrians could cross one direction of travel at a time. SRF recommended further discussions with stakeholders to make a decision on the pedestrian route.