The Woodbury City Council on Wednesday took a detailed look at preliminary plans for a new mixed-use development on 200 acres in the southwest portion of the city.
Plans for the development—dubbed Bielenberg Gardens—call for retail, commercial and residential growth at the southwest corner of Radio Drive and Bailey Road.
Bryan Harjes, an associate with Hoisington Koegler Group, Inc., outlined some of the alternatives and the process during a council workshop. Features of the development include a “green-space network,” senior housing, water amenities, office space, a pharmacy and a location for a fast-food establishment, among other things.
The idea, Harjes said, is for a walk-able area that has a “main street character.”
Council members discussed several aspects of the plans, including how to address pedestrian traffic from the nearby Bielenberg Sports Center (a tunnel is a possibility), the placement of certain businesses and managing overall traffic flow in the area.
Councilman Paul Rebholz said he supports a roundabout at Hargis Parkway and Radio Drive. Under the plans, Hargis Parkway would be extended from Radio west into the site and act as the main thoroughfare for the development.
Rebholz also asked what the right percentage of retail would be.
After factoring in right-of-ways and other existing buildings on the property, there are about 25 acres slated for retail development, Community Development Director Dwight Picha said.
“My concern is that we’re under-sizing this,” he said.
Councilwoman Amy Scoggins asked where the foot traffic would come from. “Who’s going to be walking there?”
Harjes said planners expect pedestrians to come from the surrounding area, and the buildings would have storefronts with sidewalks.
Scoggins also asked about the viability of a grocery store, noting that many already exist in Woodbury. Officials responded that there is a demand for a grocer in the southern portion of Woodbury and it would likely draw shoppers from Cottage Grove, as well.
City Administrator Clint Gridley said he would like to see something similar to the Seasons Marketplace area, where people can park in one spot and visit several shops without having to drive to each place.
Managing traffic at the development came up often, with Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens saying she liked the idea of two internal roundabouts at the site and hopes the county continues to plan for roundabouts on Bailey Road.
Rebholz also reiterated his preference for roundabouts and said the county shouldn’t consider traffic signals in the area, which could cause traffic-stacking issues near roundabouts. “One roundabout does not a system make,” he said.
Work on the site plan will continue and the city is planning a public open house about the development sometime after school begins in September.