11/3/2017 2:12:00 PM Hemingway extension memo ok'd and Schoolview plat is finalized
The North Branch City Council last week approved a final plat, development agreement and letter of understanding with Chisago County getting the ball rolling on a development package, bringing over 100 homes and creating two commercial sites along the south side of #95 east of Grand Avenue.
The easterly access to the Schoolview plat will eventually come off Hemingway Avenue, being extended to Hwy 95.
Council also okayed a letter of understanding with the county spelling this out as a joint project. Right-of-way will be conveyed for the Hemingway extension by the developer.
Chisago County will accept that new, whole length of Hemingway as a county road, transferring the stretch of Lincoln Trail or County Road #14 through the middle school-stadium area, to the city. Local residents may have noticed trees being cleared on the four-way stop Grand and #95 corner, as part of the “business” zoned portion of the plat. Schoolview is a mix of 46 townhomes and 56 single-family homes, submitted by David Melby, partner in Casselberry Development LLC.
The plat includes 36 acres east of Hemingway to be given to the city for open space. Also, council action eliminated an area the developer had shown as part of the plat, north of #95 from this phase. Meanwhile, the Wildridge neighborhood will be seeing addition number six. Council approved this continuation of an ongoing housing development west of the freeway. Council member Robert Canada chose to abstain due to owning property adjacent to the development.
At the start of the council session the mayor presented her “State of the City” noting new and expanded commercial enterprises, adding the city grew by 44 households from 2015 to 2016. North Branch is at 10,469 population. She highlighted community improvements like the bike trail extension, community garden, new playstructures in Central Park, and maintaining the city’s AA rating with Standard & Poors. The Beautification Association, a 501C3 group that came together in the last few years, also reported on their works, including a lighting event this holiday season and plantings coming next year. Hanging baskets are $90 and donations are already being accepted for next summer.
City Attorney Vince Stevens reported he’d looked into an expressed concern made during public comment, at a council meeting, about how the Urban Service Area (USA) boundary was established. He said there was public notice both in the legal paper and posted, and staff made a good faith effort to reach the legally-required property owners. The city “followed proper procedure.” After a public hearing the boundary was “clear” about why a small area was eliminated from the USA due to expense and logistics in providing city services, Stevens concluded.
Council got a brief update on two projects the city learned early this month have been selected for being funded in a cooperative effort between the city and state/federal affordable housing programs. (Story Press October 26.)
The housing projects will be ready to go out for contractors’ bid by mid-winter 2018. The family housing site Cherokee Place, consisting of townhomes at 400th and Cherokee Ave. should be under construction by May, according to the Commonwealth development company representative Erin Anderson.
MN Housing representative Deanna Hemisch said Willow Grove, the apartments project probably breaking ground around July. The projects are scheduled to be ready for occupancy in 2019, and are geared to those with incomes of no more than approximately $56,000 annually, or 60 percent of the median area income.