Twin Lakes proposal advances 
Star Tribune 1/12/05
by Sarah Mc Cann 

Roseville is officially on its way to redeveloping Twin Lakes.  The City Council voted 3-2 Monday night to approve a mixed-use concept plan for the area in northwestern Roseville that's now filled with abandoned truck terminals and contamination.  As the vote reflected, the process has been divisive and frustrating for the council as well as city staff members and residents.   Mayor Craig Klausing and council members Dean Maschka and Greg Shroeder voted for the plan. Members Tom Kough and Amy Ihlan voted against it. 

Now plans for 30 residential acres, 30 retail acres, 10 office acres and 10 acres for new roads and ponds will be worked out in detail as the first part of a three-phase $220 million project.

Klausing stated several reasons he believed the project would benefit the community.   "This proposal will improve, not harm the quality of Langton Lake," he said. "It will create housing in a new neighborhood where there is asphalt and old trucks. ... It will improve the environment by removing or encapsulating contaminated soils. ... It will allow us to manage and have control over that area."  Maschka said the time had come to move on the difficult decision.  "If we do nothing, then nothing will be done," he said. "It's an ugly site, it needs to be cleaned up, there are better uses for that property."

Kough and Ihlan both said they favor redevelopment to improve the area but are not sold on this plan.  "I think it will bring in traffic that the neighborhood can't possibly support, will threaten Langton Lake Park, Roseville doesn't need another shopping center, and I believe this violates state law, city ordinances and the comprehensive plan," Ihlan said. She and Kough said the plan changes the comprehensive plan that recommends against a big box in the area. They said such a change requires a two-thirds vote of the council, according to state law.  "We should do a genuine, community-based planning, we should build consensus from the community up, we should go into the market and solicit bids," Ihlan said.

Master developer Michael Noonan said the reason for the exclusive negotiation agreement is it keeps the city from purchasing pieces of property, some of which the developer owns, and developing them without coordination.  "The process has been unparalleled in terms of the Twin Cities," he said. "The amount of time taken to slowly develop concepts, evolve concepts, provide meaningful information to the broad public has I think been unrivaled."

Some citizens who turned City Council meetings into crowded events disagree.  Joy Anderson of Friends of Twin Lakes said the community group isn't opposed to redevelopment but is opposed to the way this plan is being carried through.  "My main concern is that the city is not listening to the public," she said. "It's almost like they have their own agenda and this is supposed to be government for the people but they're totally ignoring the people who live in the neighborhood and the city." 

Friends of Twin Lakes filed a lawsuit Jan. 3 against the city stating the city had not fully considered the effect this redevelopment will have on the environment.  The pending lawsuit says the environmental review completed in 2001 was not adequate for this size and type of development. For now the lawsuit does not affect the ability to move forward with development plans.

STORY IN BRIEF

WHAT: The concept plan for redevelopment of Twin Lakes in Roseville was approved 3-2 at Monday night's City Council meeting.

WHERE: The area is in northwestern Roseville -- County Rd. C to the south, C2 to the north, Cleveland Avenue to the west and Fairview Avenue to the east.

WHO: Rottlund Homes is the master developer.

DETAILS: This will be a mixed-use development. Phase 1 includes 30 residential acres, 30 retail acres, 10 office acres and 10 acres for new roads and ponds. The three-phase redevelopment will include 270 acres total and is expected to be finished in about a decade.

WHAT'S NEXT: The developer will take suggestions from the council and work out finalized development plans. Also, city staff and consultants will discuss financial plans.

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