A project in Eden Prairie that was pegged as a unique energy-efficient, high-density development with affordable homes asked the city last week to allow it to increase prices after struggling to meet the pricing limit.

Eden Gardens, located near Hwy. 212, got city approval in 2014 to build 36 homes with “green” features such as efficient windows and improved insulation, at prices ranging from $330,000 to $599,000. Sixteen higher-priced “market-rate” homes on the perimeter were designed to blend in with the adjacent Fairfield neighborhood, while the remaining 20 homes were to be midmarket.

But the city said that after a year of marketing the homes, the developer hasn’t been able to meet the limit on home prices and include amenities that buyers want. It has asked for a new three-tiered pricing plan for 14 remaining homes that would price six of them under $372,000, four from $372,000 to $400,000 and four others from $400,000 to $440,000.

The city bought the 8-acre property from the Minnesota Department of Transportation and sold it to the developer, Homestead Partners, with the initial goal of having 21 of the 36 homes priced between $240,000 and $360,000, saying that it would counter the explosion of luxury homes, attracting younger families and empty nesters who want smaller lot sizes and moderately priced homes. But project costs drove up the home prices.




Council approves booze and bees

Robbinsdale is the latest city to update its municipal code to allow for microdistilleries and beekeeping, both growing industries in the Twin Cities.

The City Council approved the changes last week, adding licensing for microdistilleries with on-sale cocktail rooms, which are similar to brewery taprooms. State law allows the operators of a distillery to serve their own spirits on-site, as long as the local jurisdiction permits it.

The City Council also changed its beekeeping ordinance after some residents expressed interest in having beehives. The city’s code had required hives to be located 300 feet from any neighboring property, which effectively prohibited beekeeping in the city limits.

The latest change allows the city to approve permits for hives, with certain restrictions such as flyway barriers and number of colonies.

Both changes are effective in mid-February.



Historical society hosts streetcar talk

The Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Historical Society will host a free event Monday on the history of streetcars and steamboats in the area.

The event, part of the group’s monthly “Tapping History: Pints and Reflections on Lake Minnetonka’s Past” series, will take place at 7:30 p.m. at Excelsior Brewing. It will include a presentation by historian and author Aaron Isaacs of the Minnesota Streetcar Museum.

Between 1905 and 1932, tourists and day-trippers to the Lake Minnetonka area relied on trains, trolleys and steamboats to get around. For more information, contact info@elmhs.org or 952-221-4766.



County Board to meet in St. Louis Park

With construction going on in the boardroom at the Hennepin County Government Center, the County Board will hold its Jan. 12 committee meeting at St. Louis Park City Hall. The board will return to the Government Center’s 24th floor on Jan. 19.

The Jan. 12 committee meeting takes place at 1:30 p.m. It will be streamed live on the county website and televised on Metro Cable channel 6, MCN.



Nonprofit raises $2 million in donations

The nonprofit Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners (IOCP) has raised $2 million in its annual “Sleep Out” fundraising campaign, nearing its $2.2 million goal.

The fundraiser, which is the longest running campaign of its kind in Minnesota, benefits programs that help more than 2,000 west metro area families. Donations will be accepted through Jan. 15.

To donate, go to iocp.org/donate