From: Jack G. Conrad [mailto:jackgconrad @ earthlink.net]
Sent: Wednesday, March 3, 2004 1:42 AM
Cc: Ward, John
Subject: Miller's Remo Caponi Property & the Eagan City Council Meeting Monday Night
Dear Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway,
While you read this summary, keep your finger poised over the "reply" button as Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway need creative, intelligent ideas, ideas that concerned citizens generate better than any other group. This evening the Eagan City Council discussed the proposed development of the six acres of land just south of Diffley Road roughly between the Caponi Art Park and the municipal water tower. This area is roughly half steep hill and half flat area on top with a few buildings also on top visible from Diffley just west of the water tower.
Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway, Professor and Ms. Caponi and others have urged the Council to work to keep this parcel with its central location available for the Art Park and Greenway. Trust for Public Land has also initiated a discussion of acquisition this land from the developer for preservation. We feel that this development is not right here, like having a lawnmower putt putting in your living room or making your bed out of cement. Developer Ray Miller now owns this land and plans to develop 16 townhouses on the flat area. The council received a "plat" or plan of his proposed development to study before this meeting with two major issues, how to provide a road into the development and should the zoning be changed from the current single family dwelling R1 to allow for townhouses. The access road, which legally must be provided by the Council, would either have to come in from Diffley and climb the hill to the development with a large curve or, in an expansion of the current road that was grandfathered in to an existing home, go around the water tower on the Lexington-Diffley Park road. The Diffley road is approved by Dakota County (a biggie) but will put traffic close to the Art Park and destroy many trees. Going through the park will cost the city money to upgrade the road and set a president of using park land for private development.
The current R1 rating for single family dwellings, per the developer, doesn't allow him to regain his money (according to him) hence the request.
Council debated the wounds inflicted on this land by single homes, townhouses and various arrangements of the townhouses, particularly a "compact development" where the buildings are clustered minimizing the "footprint" of the development. Council member Carson and others noted that (1) A park road would use just a small part of the perimeter by the watertower and not traverse through the park as well as minimize tree loss and (2) Compact development wouldn't get the dwellings much closer but Conservation Easements and other concessions could be obtained from Mr. Miller.
Several Friends of the ECG spoke reminding the council of the many problems with this development in addition to those discussed tonight. This development increases traffic leading on and off Diffley which is a busy, busy road, the park and residential traffic would be bottlenecked with a park route and potentially dangerous straight onto Diffley downhill without turn lanes. We again encouraged non-development but this wasn't the council discussion this evening, more of a "how to". There was no vote, agreement probably for use of the park road and allowing townhouses with a presentation in two weeks.
It would be great to save this land, click on reply and email your thoughts on creative ways to impress the city. Here a couple thought to get you going.
Would keeping it R1 make this development to expensive to do or just spread it out? How can we convince the city that greenspace (in particular, this spot) is more valuable as part of the Art Park and Greenway, both aesthetically and monetarily, than yet another development which is what most citizens don't want---that this is a quality of life issue. Why is development something local governments encourage, but greenspace isn't at least as valued, why do we assist developers so much? What would be important in letters to the editor? Why isn't anything involving heavy equipment on the home page of the city web site that day after any proposal rather than well after plans are made and circulated through the various departments?
Friends of the Eagan Core Greenwaywww.EaganCoreGreenway.org