A long-running dispute over development of land once owned by Prince appears to be settled.
The Chanhassen City Council voted 5-0 Monday for a plan that includes 169 lots for market-rate and luxury houses on the 188-acre site, between Galpin Boulevard and the shore of lakes Ann and Lucy.
The plan also sets aside 57 acres as undeveloped woods and wetlands along the lakes, said City Manager Todd Gerhardt.
Lennar Corp., the project’s developer, initially proposed building 181 homes. At an overflowing public hearing last week, some residents praised that plan for preserving the park area for trails and wildlife. Others worried that the area with houses would create problems with traffic, pedestrian safety, water runoff and ruin the views from their own homes.
“We just have been hammered with calls and e-mails,” Mayor Elise Ryan said. “The residents should be commended” for participating in the discussion, she said.
Ryan last week said she wanted more work to be done on Lennar’s concept before she would support it. City officials met with company representatives and agreed on further modifications, including sparing some trees previously marked for removal, increasing buffers between neighborhoods, decreasing the density of the housing and adding a parking lot for visitors using the park trails. The plan they agreed on included 167 lots.
But at the council meeting, Lennar representatives presented a plan with 173 lots, setting off some heated negotiating. Eventually, the city and the developer settled on 169 homes. Ryan said she was disappointed that Lennar had surprised the council with a different plan but was pleased with the outcome.
“Ultimately we ended up with a lot of really strong elements,” Ryan said, adding that the new plan “will benefit the city as a whole.”
The undeveloped parkland could eventually be linked with the city’s 102-acre Lake Ann Park with trails or boardwalks around the lake, said Council Member Jerry McDonald.
Lennar will spend the next four months working out the specifics, Gerhardt said. That includes lot sizes, sewer and water plans, sidewalks, street names, grading, pond design and stormwater management — what Gerhardt called the typical “down and dirty of the development.” Lennar will need final approval from the council after it completes the plan.
Prince once lived in a yellow three-story house on the property at 7141 Galpin Blvd. The house has since been demolished, but a security gatehouse remains. Paisley Park, his former studio and home, is across nearby Hwy. 5.
In agreeing to sell the property, Prince’s heirs requested that the development not be associated with the late megastar.
“They’re not going to call it Princeland or paint all the houses purple,” McDonald said. But eventually, he said, it might be appropriate to place a memorial in the wooded area to its former owner. “How can you not memorialize the guy?”