Council authorizes lawsuit against developer over loan

The city is preparing for possible legal action against a developer it says reneged on a loan from 2008.

Following a closed-door session Friday, the City Council took the unusual step of authorizing the city attorney to initiate a lawsuit or foreclosure action against entities headed by developer Don Gerberding. The loan relates to Gerberding’s redevelopment of a parcel at 2nd Street and W. Broadway that now houses his company, Master.

Precisely what the city intends to do remains unclear.

The city granted Gerberding a 10-year, $350,000 loan in 2008 to transform a site once occupied by Irv’s Bar, which had attracted many police calls. Gerberding developed the parcel — though not to the city’s original specifications — but soon fell into default on the loan, according to city documents.

“We are a patient lender,” said the city’s community development chair, Council Member Lisa Goodman, following Friday’s meeting. “We believe in the community development objectives. But a complete disregard for us as a lending institution is not acceptable.”

Unrelated to the loan dispute, Gerberding is also trying to develop a property at Franklin and Lyndale Avenues.

Eric Roper @stribroper



City Council to look at new mine reclamation plan

Attempts to transplant 100 white pines to reclamation areas of the Zavoral Mine in Scandia have failed, and now the City Council will review a new plan.

Tiller Corp., which received a permit in 2013 to reopen the mine for sand and gravel operations, said the soil was too rocky for the trees. Representatives from the city, the Washington County Conservation District and the National Park Service met with Tiller officials at the site in May to review the problem.

The original plan called for clearing and grading the “transition area” at the mine. The new plan suggests an approach that includes saving desirable trees and shrubs, removing invasive shrub species and reintroducing native shrub species.

Tiller sold the controversial proposal of reopening the mine in part on promises of reclaiming the area, which had closed to mining in the 1980s. Conservationists opposed it because of the mine’s proximity to the St. Croix River.

The City Council will consider the revised plan at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Scandia Community Center, 14727 209th St. N. The park service has endorsed the new plan, City Administrator Kristina Handt said.

Kevin Giles @stribgiles



Plans for homeless youth building go to City Council

More than 200 people packed an Edina Planning Commission meeting this week to debate plans for a homeless youth building.

Dozens of parishioners and church leaders supported the project while some residents and businesses said bringing homeless youth to Edina could increase crime and drugs in the community. Other opponents said they supported the concept, but didn’t think it fit in the neighborhood or medical district near Southdale.

The Planning Commission voted 4-1 to recommend the City Council approve zoning changes and see how the project can be appropriately incorporated into the medical district by amending the city’s comprehensive plan. The $10 million project called 66 West now goes to the City Council to consider in September.

St. Paul-based Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative plans to convert a TCF Bank building off W. 66th Street into a 39-unit two-story apartment building with space for counselors to help homeless youths finish school and find jobs. It would be the first apartment building for homeless youths in the western suburbs.

An estimated 250 homeless youths live in the Bloomington-Richfield-Edina area.

KELLY SMITH @kellystrib