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That wasn’t enough for Richard Payne, whose back yard borders the site.
“It’s just completely out of character and out of scale for the neighborhood,” he said, adding that he acknowledges the site needs to be redeveloped at some point. “Hopefully there’s something that can be built on this site that’s good for the city, good for the developer and owner and good for the neighborhood.”
Nearby, 62-year-old Harriet Skarie has lived there since she was 7 years old. Like many of her long-term neighbors, she fears the facility would bring traffic and parking congestion from ambulances and visitors to the quaint neighborhood.
“That’s why people buy here — they want to live in a neighborhood,” she said.
But the developer isn’t giving up on proving it’s possible to be a good neighbor. Stoddard said scaling it down will give it a more residential feel. “Right now, we’re looking at what best fits into the neighborhood in size, scope and services,” he said.
It’s a “step in the right direction,” Colehour said, but he’s still wary about the plan — not just for his neighborhood. He said it could set a precedent in Minnetonka for developers who want to rezone underutilized sites into major apartment buildings.
“If this can go in our neighborhood, it can go into any neighborhood with a small school or church,” he said. “They could end up with an apartment complex smack dab in their neighborhood.”
Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141