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A ‘Significant Step’ Toward New Housing in Woodbury

The Woodbury City Council on Wednesday informally agreed to move ahead with new development in a portion of the Phase 2 area of the city.

Realtors say homes are selling more quickly. The city’s existing lot inventory is shrinking. Building permits are up dramatically.

Those were a few of the factors that led Woodbury City Council members to informally agree that the city should allow new development near in the Phase 2 area near East Ridge High School. (See map.)

The city January opted to defer opening up that area for new housing, but Councilwoman Julie Ohs on Wednesday said the timing looks good.

“It kind of all fell together and it’s time to move forward,” she said.

The move—which will have to be formally adopted at a later date—sparked a buzz in the hallway from those in the development community who attended Wednesday's council workshop. Several have spoken at previous meetings, saying there is strong interest in the area.

The city also got letters of support from Michaeel DeVoe, division president of Ryland Homes, and a joint-statement from Jim Ostenson and Dick Putnam of Woodbury Tandem LP.

Specifically, the city is set to open up sub-Phase 2A (the Fields of Woodbury) for development, meaning staff will take applications for platting and development later this fall.

As for the council discussion Wednesday, much of it centered on the roads in the area.

The city wants to extend Pioneer Drive, which will serve as the main artery for the new development, to Dale Road, said Klayton Eckles, city engineer. But there are some hurdles to clear—securing easements, establishing the right-of-way and crafting a ponding strategy.

Councilman Paul Rebholz urged property owners in the area to work with the city so it can extend Pioneer Drive as planned.

He also said city staff must take time to consider the eventual layout of Dale Road, and he asked city staff for an updated traffic count on that street. Rebholz also referenced a “donut hole” in the Stonemill Farms development.

“We don’t want donut hole part two,” he said. “It’s an important aspect in the whole process.”

The city has been looking at Phase 2 for several years, Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens said, and she was inclined to move forward with the first step toward new housing there.

City Administrator Clint Gridley also said it’s been a long-term goal of the city, and the council’s support Wednesday was a “significant step.”

 

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SomeGuy September 20, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Before ANY of Phase 2 construction begins, work to turn Bailey Road into a four- or even six-lane divided road needs to happen. Otherwise, this will be a major mess (a Minnesota tradition when it comes to adequate roadway planning and construction - let's try planning ahead for once).
Kris Janisch September 20, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Isn't Bailey technically a county road though? Maybe the city is coordinating with WashCo on that one, but I haven't really heard anything to that effect. Doesn't mean it isn't in the works though. Commissioner Weik, you out there?
Kim Lemrick September 20, 2012 at 05:45 PM
I agree and would add, find ways to avoid more slow, messed up stoplights. We don't need anymore roads like Valley Creek Road and it's nightmare of slow lights (which lately with the construction has had some flashing yellows that I'm going to miss when they are gone).
Kris Janisch September 20, 2012 at 05:47 PM
I think those flashing yellows are going to stay in there Kim.
Eric Berg September 20, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Bailey Road is County State Aid Highway 18. In 2015 (according to the County's 5 year CIP), they are doing "Management and Safety Improvements" between CSAH 38 (Maxwell Ave in Newport) and CSAH 13 (Radio Drive/Hinton Ave S). I don't have that CIP in front of me, so I can't tell you what "Management and Safety Improvements" mean, although, I'm guessing we're talking signalization and traffic flow for the first part.
Kris Janisch September 20, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Thanks Eric.
Kara Rowan September 20, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Any indication on what type of community they plan to develop? It would be nice if a newer neighborhood was established with larger lot size and some required and regulated open space within the neighborhood and within each lot. Woodbury offers nothing like this.
Kris Janisch September 20, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Good question Kara. I assume it would be platted more like the newer developments in Woodbury, rather than the large lots like they have in Afton or Grant.
Paul Whackernutz September 20, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Developers are going to cram as much density as they can in that area (look at the "urban village" and Stone Mill). It's all about maximizing revenue per acre (and from the city's perspective, keeping the Met Council off their back by dense-packing homes, too). No one would be able to afford what a developer would have to charge to get the open space lots you're thinking of.
Joel September 20, 2012 at 07:55 PM
I recently moved to Woodbury from out of state. Since I live in Stonemill Farms, can somebody tell me what the "donut hole" is? Also, I agree that Woodbury has a stoplight problem. When I first moved here, I was in shock with all of the left turn green arrows when there is a half-mile of clear visibilty of oncoming traffic. I just assumed there must have been a lot of accidents.
Eric Berg September 20, 2012 at 08:08 PM
You do have that type of large lot development in the southwest corner (an area roughly west of Radio and south of Bailey and around Bailey Lake. These are zoned "rural estate". The problem with trying to create this type of development is, as Paul states below, economic. The developer has to purchase the land, go through the platting, engineering, and preparation processes. They have to pay for running the infrastructure, building the roads, et cetera. Most developers I've talked to aren't paying cash for this, they've borrowed, so they're paying the cost on that. The more parcels they can create, the more that these costs can be spread out. It can be done. It would probably require a cluster development and selling the open space to a conservator or a government entity for park use, but, then again, you're getting back to smaller lots...but with open space around them. It's not a given that the open space would be purchased, so a developer is more likely to go with what they know and "trust", which is platting land for homes. My hope is that the school district thinks ahead and manages to get some land set aside for future schools. It'll be too late for us, but hopefully other kids won't get bused to the SEVENTH closest school.
SomeGuy September 21, 2012 at 02:19 PM
It HAS to be in the works ... otherwise, it is poor development management on an exceptional scale. You cannot allow more development in that area without proper infrastructure in and out. If you do not control the road, you coordinate with the county. If you cannot coordinate with the county, you don't move forward until you can. This is common sense 101 and the city administration needs to be help to task on this so that we do not have more poor planning resulting in the issues we already have. Woodbury - despite what business is here - is overwhelmingly a bedroom community for businesses to the west.
Kris Janisch September 21, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Not sure about the donut hole Joel, Patch isn't quite two years old yet. Also, just got this this morning: The latest statewide housing report from the Minnesota Association of REALTORS shows the housing market has had now had six straight months of increases. The sustained trend continues with shorter selling times and higher average sales prices. —Median statewide sales price is up 11.5% compared to August of 2011, with a statewide average of $156,000. —Sellers received 93.2% of their initial asking price, up from 90.2% in August 2011. —Days on market have decreased by 14.4% from last year at this time.

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