Woodland Cove moving forward in Minnetrista

  • Article by: TOM MEERSMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 7, 2012 - 10:03 PM

It's one of the largest residential projects in decades.

The Minnetrista City Council is on the verge of approving a master development agreement for Woodland Cove, a massive residential project with 1,071 housing units to be built over the next decade near Lake Minnetonka.

Officials say it's the largest development of its kind in the metro area in at least two decades, and it's expected to boost Minnetrista's population by about half -- 2,700 more people -- in the next decade.

The development at Hwy. 7 and Kings Point Road will transform 490 acres of farm fields, forests, wetlands and rolling hills on the western side of the lake into a mix of 11 housing types, from custom lake homes to row townhouses and multifamily units.

The council discussed the deal last week, suggested some minor changes and is expected to give final approval at its next meeting on April 16.

The master development agreement includes hundreds of pages of engineering and financing details for roads, sewers, parks and other infrastructure that will be built in phases -- and legal procedures to follow if things go awry.

Senior city planner Breanne Rothstein said the agreement provides a "memory" of everything that has been discussed.

"It could be 15 years before the final phase is done, so having an agreement in place helps keep track of all the necessary requirements," she said. "It provides a good framework for future city councils and future people working with this development to have certainty of what was approved at the outset, and how it's going to all come together."

Highway roundabout

The developer, Carlson Real Estate Co., declined to be interviewed about the project until the city has approved the final language.

The firm is expected to file a final plat next year for the first phase of construction. Rothstein said that phase likely would feature 96 units, including about nine of the most expensive custom lake homes and a mix of large, medium and small single family homes.

Other phases would be proposed and added as the market dictates, at an expected rate of about 100 units per year.

Also part of the early work in 2013 will be construction of a roundabout at Hwy. 7 and Kings Point Road, one of the development's two main entrances. That will also involve a realignment of County Road 11 and a land swap with Three Rivers Park District, which owns some of the land.

Commissioners and council members from Three Rivers, Carver County and Minnetrista are all moving toward approval of a joint powers agreement this month to facilitate that deal.

Kings Point Road will be reconstructed as part of the first phase, as large new water and sanitary sewer pipes are installed.

Driving the project in part has been the Metropolitan Council, which wants denser development to support extending sanitary sewers to western Hennepin County.

About 200 acres of the land along the lake's Halstead Bay have been owned for the past half-century by the family of the late business magnate Curt Carlson. An earlier plan to subdivide that acreage into 13 lots did not meet Met Council density standards for sewer hookups, so the developer purchased 290 adjoining acres for the larger project.

Water control

The development will include several private parks and one 7-acre public park, several miles of trails and a 2-mile greenway corridor that would link to Lake Minnetonka Regional Park on the east and Carver Park Reserve to the south.

John Barten, natural resources director for Three Rivers, said that one of the concerns is all the rainwater that would run off hundreds of rooftops, parking lots and streets in the development. Much of the flow moves toward the two district parks, he said, so there is concern about erosion and other runoff that could degrade water quality.

Barten said the company has devised a sophisticated system that routes runoff through a combination of water detention ponds.

"In terms of storm water runoff, it's very comprehensive," Barten said. "If it's implemented the way it's designed, it will be very successful in protecting the park district."

Minnetrista approved the project's preliminary plat in September, essentially giving Carlson Real Estate the right to develop.

Tom Meersman • 612-673-7388

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