From: Jack G. Conrad [mailto:jackgconrad @ earthlink.net]
Sent: Wednesday, April 7, 2004 11:41 PM
Cc: Ward, John
Subject: Eagan City Council Actions on the Anderson Property
The Eagan City Council met tonight to discuss the Anderson Property, and in particular the nine (of eleven) acres that Trust for Public Land (TPL) has earmarked for purchase on behalf of the City. TPL was represented by Bob McGillivray, who is handling the complex and challenging negotiations.
This is my summary but there were three real reporters there tonight from both local newspapers and the St. Paul Pioneer Press (thanks to David B. for calling the St. Paul Pioneer Press) who calmly recorded all this information either for local articles or "background" for later.
Also, thank you to everybody from Eagan who came tonight to show support---this is a big deal as we were the only people there with any supporters and this weighs heavily with elected officials.
Bob McGillivray of the Trust For Public Land spoke to the Eagan City Council. He introduced himself noting that the non-profit Trust for Public Land has, over the past 30 years, preserved 1.9 million acres worth over 3 billion dollars. Their mission is just that, to preserve land that would otherwise be developed or degraded in some fashion. Bob noted that TPL had secured an option on the Anderson property, had an appraisal performed---agreeable to TPL, the Andersons and the City of Eagan---also had the land surveyed, cleared the title, and had an environmental assessment done. This, of course, was in addition to "mid-wife-ing" the $720,000 in grants from State and County programs, a feat that could not have been done without TPL's good natured expertise to purchase the land, along with a contribution of $180,000 from the City of Eagan.
There were two main issues discussed:
(1) The first was a conservation easement the City wanted to require of the Andersons on the two acres with their home place (an issue that came up late in the negotiations). Conservation easements are something that we nature people usually love as they avoid development but thereby markedly devalue the land although it seemed unfair to require this for the remaining two acres with their home as the 9 acres land was priced under market value (by today's standards). Bob stated that the Andersons were willing to agree to not subdividing the remaining two acres instead of the conservation easement, a generous concession. The City agreed with this and will negotiate the details.
(2) The second issue was an entity called trunk fees. The City of Eagan, I gathered, counts on all remaining land within city limits to pay trunk fees for storm and sanitation sewers. These have been mostly built, but new developments pay them as (per Mike Maguire of the City Council who spent a lot of time evaluating this issue), the fees are "traditionally due on development" as the "fair share" of previous improvements. If not paid then, the taxpayer would "have to absorb the cost." The city is willing to not charge $6,092 for the 9 acres of park property (it has no need of sanitary or storm sewers), but feels the two home acres should pay even though the Andersons plan no change in their "sewer status" if that phrase is acceptable.
The City Council voted twice this evening, once in favor of the preliminary subdivision and once in favor of the final subdivision of the Anderson property. In so doing, they changed the zoning from Agricultural to E for estate for the two acres of the Anderson Property (with the trunk [sewer] fees still open to negotiation on these two acres). In any event, things are moving along except for the negotiation of trunk fees on the Anderson's remaining two acres, which total $4,482, a cost that TPL rather than the Anderson's would need to pay at this stage-a tough demand to meet for a non-profit organization on a budget. To Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway, this is not a nice way to treat someone who has delivered $720,000 to the project.
John WardFriends of the Eagan Core Greenway www.EaganCoreGreenway.org