Renewal efforts hit snag
Court: Big-box retail violates city plan
The state's Court of Appeals has dealt a potentially serious
blow to construction of a retail and housing redevelopment in
Roseville, one of the biggest industrial revitalization efforts
in the region. [
"If you believe in something enough and you know in your
heart it's right, you can fight city hall and win,'' said Joy
Anderson, president of Friends of Twin Lakes, a group of about
She said her group isn't opposed to redeveloping Twin Lakes,
an area that now includes several abandoned truck terminals and
warehouses and is considered an environmentally contaminated
"brownfield.'' But they oppose the amount of proposed
retail in the area, favoring more homes.
They filed suit, arguing that the city's planning process was
procedurally flawed in several respects. The group lost in
district court but won this week on appeal.
"We're certainly disappointed with the decision, and it
is a significant decision,'' said attorney Paul Reuvers, who
represented the city.
The suit stems from council approval last summer of a final
redevelopment contract for Rottlund Homes and other developers
to build a "first phase" of Twin Lakes, encompassing
80 acres of a 280-acre site north and east of Cleveland Avenue
and County Road C. That phase is to include 730 housing units,
221,000 square feet of office space and 330,000 square feet of
shops and restaurants.
A key tenant was to be a major discount store. Costco has
frequently been mentioned in public deliberations as the anchor
tenant. Developers have declined to publicly discuss those
negotiations, and a spokeswoman for Seattle-based Costco said
Friday that for competitive reasons, company policy precludes
speculation on potential markets.
Friends of Twin Lakes contended the first phase violated the
city's Comprehensive Plan, which they argued recommends against
a big-box retailer and strip-mall development in that portion of
the city. Bringing that plan into conformity with the Twin Lakes
project requires approval by two-thirds of the council — four
votes on Roseville's five-person council.
The appeals court also agreed with Friends of Twin Lakes that
the city must either revise its 2001 environmental review — an
Alternative Urban Areawide Review — or complete a new
Environmental Assessment Worksheet because the planned project
has changed considerably since the AUAR was done five years ago.
The planning process has been difficult in Roseville, where
virtually every facet of the project has been approved on a 3-2
vote. One council seat is open for this fall's elections, and
the two mayoral candidates sharply disagree about Twin Lakes.
City officials and developers were cautious Friday in
responding to the appeals court's decision, saying they wanted
time to study the ruling. The matter isn't expected to come
before the City Council until Aug. 21. A further appeal is
"As a team, we are considering the options we have
available to us,'' said Todd Stutz, division president of
Rottlund Homes. "It's still our intent to move forward with
the development, to obtain either additional approvals required
by the opinion or take whatever legal action is required to move
the project forward. We've committed too much time and money to
not move forward.''
Mayor Craig Klausing, who is running for re-election, still
held out hope Friday.
"If we're unable to move forward, I think that would be
a tremendous loss to the city,'' he said. "If it means
revising some things and revisiting some issues, that's what we
have to do.''
Council Member Amy Ihlan, facing Klausing in the mayor's
race, has opposed the Twin Lakes plan. "It's a shame it
required a citizens' lawsuit to make the council follow the law
and do the right thing," she said. "But this is a
great opportunity to revisit the project and do it right."
Steve Scott may be reached at 651-228-5526 or email@example.com.