Neighbor 2 Neighbor

Van Dykee Village Town House (next to Emma's Place)

Excerpt from:



b. Van Dyke Village Town House Development (Van Dyke Street, north of County Road B)
Mr. Roberts said Mr. Bruce Mogren is proposing to build a 24-unit town house development on the vacant property on the west side of Van Dyke Street, north of County Road B. This development, called Van Dyke Village, would be primarily for workforce housing for low and moderate-income families. There would be on-site management to help monitor and run the property.
Mr. Roberts said on March 27, 2000, the city council directed city staff and the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) to buy from Ramsey County the four tax-forfeited properties on the west side of Van Dyke Street for the development of low to moderate or mixed income housing.
On June 22, 2000, the council adopted a resolution authorizing the reconveyance and the purchase of the tax-forfeited properties on the west side of Van Dyke Street for the development of low to moderate or mixed income housing. City staff, based on this council approved, bought this property from the county for the city.
Mr. Roberts said a reason this property went tax-forfeit and has not yet been developed is poor soils. There are areas of poor soils on the property that the builder will have to correct as part of the development of the site.
Mr. Roberts said this is an expense that a developer would have to consider when putting a project together for this area. Mr. Mogren, while working with the city and the county on preparing the development proposal, told him that having at least 24 town houses is necessary to make the project financially feasible.
Mr. Roberts said many of the neighbors who contacted him expressed concerns about the proposed housing and the residents who would live there. Mr. Mogren is proposing to have 75 percent (18) units within this development for workforce housing, which is for low-to-moderate income residents.
Housing and Redevelopment Authority Minutes of 03-18-03 -6- Mr. Roberts said to qualify as a resident, Ramsey County sets the income levels based on the household size and their percentage of average median income of the Twin Cities area. For example, a three-person household at the 50 percent median income level has an annual income of about $34,500 per year and a three-person household at the 60 percent income level earns about $41,000 per year.
Commissioner Pearson said he has received telephone calls from neighbors complaining about the problems occurring in the neighborhood since Emma’s Place has opened. The neighbors have said homeowners have to keep their belongings under lock and key or it gets stolen. They can’t leave their garage doors open or things get stolen. They told him the kids that live in the neighborhood are being harassed by the kids at Emma’s Place that hang out in the neighborhood. If the kids walk on the trail or around the pond, the kids at Emma’s Place harass them. Kids on the bus are being harassed to the point they don’t want to ride the bus anymore. He feels if this proposal is built, there will be even more problems for the neighborhood. The neighbors that live there have gone through enough since Emma’s Place was built. Commissioner Pearson said he voted against the Van Dyke Village proposal at the planning commission meeting and he is voting against this proposal for the HRA as well. The traffic at Cope Avenue and White Bear Avenue is bad enough. He feels the city has done a disservice to this area and he can’t vote for it. He said the police report is totally inaccurate in the staff report and in his opinion it is not a report at all. He feels the city should have received a detailed report of the nature of the complaints occurring in the area from the police department.
Chairperson Fischer asked staff if Mr. Mogren has a problem with putting in a sidewalk?
Mr. Roberts said no, Mr. Mogren agreed to put in the sidewalk.
Commissioner O’Brien said since the city put in the sidewalk on White Bear Avenue underneath Highway 36 he has seen many people use the sidewalk. In the past he has seen people trying to get down White Bear Avenue in the snow with traffic coming and going to Cub and Rainbow, and not having a sidewalk made it very difficult for people. This sidewalk is used often and he thinks it will be just as important to have this sidewalk by Van Dyke Village proposal. In his opinion, the sidewalk was money well spent for the area. The residents will be using the sidewalk to get to the bus stop, to the Goodwill, and to cross White Bear Avenue to Cope Avenue to get to restaurants across the street. He said he thinks people will be using the bus for transportation. This will increase the pedestrian traffic. If the residents will be driving that live in the Van Dyke Village, then that will increase the vehicle traffic in the area. This particular intersection is a hazard with many near miss accidents. There is already a no left turn sign there because of the traffic hazards.
Mr. Roberts said there is a bus stop on White Bear Avenue and County Road B by Health Partners that people will probably be using.
Commissioner O’Brien said there is also a bus stop in front of the Amoco station on White Bear Avenue so people may be cutting through those commercial properties. Commissioner O’Brien said having 22 or 24 units in this development, in his opinion, does not make that big of a difference. He feels the traffic is already a large problem and the 24 or more cars coming from that development will not make that big of a difference.
Housing and Redevelopment Authority Minutes of 03-18-03 -7- Chairperson Fischer said she wonders if the Van Dyke Village development proposal should be penalized because of the bad experience with Emma’s Place and the problems that have occurred in the neighborhood. She said years ago, before Emma’s Place was built, the neighborhood was in opposition of building town homes in that area, so there is a history of opposition of building in that area of the neighborhood.
Commissioner Pearson said he thinks it would be better for the neighborhood to have slab on grade single-family dwellings zoned R-1(S) instead of this proposal. He doesn’t think the city is serving the neighborhood with this proposal at all. Maplewood has already exceeded their necessary limit for affordable housing.
Mr. Roberts said he did some checking and there would only be enough land to build eight single-family dwellings on R-1(S) sized lots in that area. Because of the cost of the land and the cost to correct the soil conditions, it is not cost effective to build eight homes there. He said this proposal would be more cost effective with the 22 or 24 rental units proposed to be built there.
Chairperson Fischer said the city has already exceeded the amount of affordable housing expected by the met council but they are supposed to keep adding to the affordable housing stock. She said she is fine with this proposal just as she voted on this at the planning commission. She felt having the two units over the density would not make much difference. She likes the fact that having the two additional units would allow Mr. Mogren to have the on-site management there. So for that reason, she approves this proposal.
Commissioner Pearson said he wants the commission to understand that on-site management is not the same as it is in a manufactured park. In a manufactured park on-site management includes people that are there every day and they enforce the rules. The residents that would live in the Van Dyke Village units for on-site management are getting a break on their rent. They might even go to work every day and not be there in the daytime. So basically they may not be there to make sure rules are enforced. The on-site management personnel will probably not get involved with Emma’s Place and the problems that could occur.
Chairperson Fischer said the on-site management people may be timelier and call the police department and get the incidents documented. This would immediately take care of some of the problems that keep occurring at Emma’s Place. She said Emma Norton’s board of governance has been around for a long time and if their board was notified along with a list of documented problems the people that cause these problems may be evicted or a change in management may occur.
Commissioner Pearson said he would be interested in knowing what teeth (so to speak) the management at Emma’s Place has to correct these problems and get the guilty people moving out.
Mr. Roberts said he’s aware that one family was evicted from Emma’s Place. He said he was not sure if there were still problems occurring there or not.
Chairperson Fischer said years ago, the HRA and the HRC were instructed by the city council to call the residents at the apartments on Beebe Road. The reason the committee had to make the telephone calls was because of the history of problems at that location. The committee called the residents to find out how things were going there and if there were any solutions to the problems.
Housing and Redevelopment Authority Minutes of 03-18-03 -8- Chairperson Fischer said the committee found out there had been problems but management put a stop to them. The management called the police every time they thought a problem was going to occur or when it was occurring and the police responded immediately. Because this was a low-income rental building, the residents found out that if they had any complaints against them they were going to lose their apartment. Soon there were no more problems because the management put a stop to them immediately by contacting the police department. She said sometimes management or a change in management could make a big difference in how buildings are cared for. Many times the history of problems goes with the location for a while but that can be changed.
Commissioner O’Brien said he thinks Maplewood needs this price range of housing available. Not everyone can afford a $200,000 home. People need a safe, affordable place to live. He thinks the project will make a large impact on that site. He doesn’t think the Van Dyke Village project should be penalized because of the problems that are occurring at Emma’s Place. The Board of Directors at Emma Norton’s needs to be made aware of the problems and maybe the management needs to be changed in order to fix the problems. Maybe having this facility at Van Dyke Village will help make the problems go away by reporting them to the police department. Getting things documented with the police department will help prove if or if not the problems are arising from the residents at Emma’s Place, since the police department said they could not prove that they were.
Chairperson Fischer said she received a telephone call from a resident that complained about Emma’s Place and wondered if workforce housing was the same type of housing as Emma’s Place. She said she explained to the resident the difference between the two.
Commissioner O’Brien moved to approve the resolution on page 36 of the staff report. This resolution changes the land use plan from BC (business commercial) and R-3(M) (residential medium density) to R-3(H) (residential high density) for the 3.6-acre site of the Van Dyke Village town house development. The city bases these changes on the following findings:
1. This site is proper for and consistent with the city’s goals, objectives and policies for high-density residential land use in the comprehensive plan. This includes:
a. Creating a transitional land use between the existing residential and commercial land uses.
b. Being between two collector streets, near an arterial street and would be near shopping and services.
2. This development will minimize any adverse effects on surrounding properties because:
a. The on-site ponding and landscaping will help separate the town houses from the properties to the east and from the town houses to the south.
b. There should be no significant increase in traffic from this development on existing local residential streets. The existing street pattern directs the traffic from the town houses to two nearby collector streets.
c. There should be less traffic from this development than from a commercial development on the same site.
Housing and Redevelopment Authority Minutes of 03-18-03 -9- Commissioner O’Brien moved to approve the resolution on page 37 of the staff report. This resolution approves a conditional use permit for a planned use development for the Van Dyke Village town house development on the west side of Van Dyke Street, north of County Road B. The city bases this approval on the findings required by code. (Refer to the resolution for the specific findings.) Approval is subject to the following conditions:

Read More:

HRA 3/18/03 Minutes

Posted by action on 05/19/2003
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