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Continued: Push for smaller lot sizes divides Minnetonka

  • Article by: KELLY SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 1, 2013 - 9:41 PM

Fretham, also a longtime Minnetonka resident, said he’s sympathetic to concerns and has adjusted plans, reducing the Park Valley Estates plan from 10 homes to six.

“Any time a property is developed, it changes a [neighborhood’s] character, not just in Minnetonka but in any city,” he said. “We try to address [concerns] the best we can.”

Although the City Council is struggling to come to a consensus on the proposals, Schneider said one of the city’s goals is to bring in more smaller, moderately priced homes ($450,000 to $500,000) because of a growing demand from younger couples who seek an urban, more-compact lifestyle in the suburbs.

Council Member Bob Ellingson, whose ward has two of the controversial projects, said he worries that bigger homes will end up going on the smaller lots.

“It just looks funny. These bigger homes need some elbow room. And I think that’s what people in Minnetonka are used to,” he said of the half-acre standard lot.

Subdivisions bring changes

As for losing trees, grading and street changes that residents oppose, city Community Development Director Julie Wisch­nack said they would happen no matter the number of homes built. The subdivision proposals, she pointed out, still keep the character of a single-family neighborhood.

That’s not the case for neighbors of a proposed medical building off Hwy. 7. On Monday, they’ll try to persuade the City Council to reject rezoning residential land for a two-story, 68,600-square-foot building, saying it’s too drastic for their neighborhood and will bring more traffic and noise from ambulances. Off Minnetonka Boulevard, residents’ outcry over a four-story senior home they say wouldn’t fit in resulted in a scaled-down plan that will be presented to the city on June 10.

As a developer, Fretham said he’s used to seeing resident outcry, and hopes the neighbors of his proposed projects eventually are pleased with them.

“Oftentimes, once developments are done and people understand and see it completed, they get used to it,” he said. “In the end, it’s really not that bad.”

 

Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141 Twitter: @kellystrib

 

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