Mounds View set to approve zoning, code changes for Crossroad Pointe


Crossroad Pointe, a 128-unit apartment building, is slated to go in on four acres at the southwest corner of Mounds View Boulevard and County Road H2. (courtesy of Google Maps/City of Mounds View)

Crossroad Pointe is planned to house three floors of apartments and an indoor parking garage, with one parking stall per unit. There will also be outdoor parking, creating an overall ratio of roughly two spaces per apartment. (courtesy Alliance Building Corps, Cole Group Architects and INH Properties)

Greenfield Avenue, which runs through the middle of the site, will be vacated later this summer. It will no longer connect through to Mounds View Boulevard and will dead-end at the future apartment complex. (courtesy City of Mounds View)

The Mounds View City Council held a series of public hearings on June 24 to discuss the proposed Crossroad Pointe development. 

After largely positive comments from the few residents who spoke, the council planned to move forward with the necessary zoning and code changes, as well as preliminary plat approval.

The proposed zoning and code amendments will need to be read a second time at the council’s July 8 meeting, but council members voted to approve the first readings and voiced no major concerns about the project. 

Crossroad Pointe would consist of 128 market-rate apartments on the southwest corner of Mounds View Boulevard and County Road H2, formerly the site of Robert’s Sports Bar. 

Once the necessary zoning and code changes are in place, the developer will need to come back to the city for final plat approval later this summer, and then will be on its way to breaking ground.

The city acquired the three parcels of land that make up the development, totaling 4.25 acres, between 2006 and 2013, spending roughly $3 million on acquisition, demolition and clean up. 

Although the site is guided for mixed use in Mounds View’s draft comprehensive plan, the city had trouble attracting commercial buyers due to a lack of surrounding population density. Two proposals by current developer INH, which included a gun range and a gas station, were met with backlash from residents and were ultimately declined by city officials. 

After coming to an agreement with INH on the apartment complex, the Mounds View Economic Development Authority entered into a purchase agreement with the developer to sell the site for $1.35 million. 

 

City code variances

Before construction can start, the site requires rezoning from a highway business designation to a residential planned unit development. PUD status will allow the project to vary from city code with regards to density, height and setbacks. 

“We’re going from 71 units to 128 through a PUD,” explained Jon Sevald, Mounds View’s community development director, at the June 19 city Planning Commission meeting. 

The complex will also be four stories tall, with three floors of apartments and an indoor parking garage. This will be one of a few exceptions to the citywide requirement that all buildings be three stories or fewer.

Additionally, the city requires a minimum setback of 30 feet from County Road H2 and Edgewood Drive; the developers are requesting only a 17-foot setback from H2, with a 66-foot setback from Edgewood. Approval of the PUD request will allow for the requested variances.

In addition to rezoning the property, the council will need to approve an amendment to city code in order to allow for studio apartments.

INH is hoping to include 16 studios in the development, which will range from 526 to 605 square feet. Currently, the city requires a minimum apartment size of 630 square feet, which it defines as a one-bedroom unit. 

Changing the code to allow for studio apartments with a minimum of 520 square feet would not only affect Crossroad Pointe, but would change the rules for future developments. Mayor Carol Mueller was the only one to vote against a second reading of this proposed amendment, after asking about its long-term effect. 

After the two amendments are approved following their second readings, the city can OK a conditional use permit for the project, as well as the preliminary plat. The latter action will group the three separate parcels into one. These two measures were also subject to public hearings on June 24.

 

Public response

The primary concerns voiced by residents throughout the review process have dealt with increased traffic in the surrounding neighborhood. After public input, the council decided to vacate Greenfield Avenue and have it dead-end at Crossroad Pointe.

At the June 24 hearing, resident Ben Sigrist spoke in favor of the development and the dead end. He noted that he had small children and did not want to see increased traffic spilling over into his neighborhood.

Meanwhile, neighbor Bill Loven was opposed to the change on Greenfield. “There’s plenty of space to build apartments without cutting off the street ... if that street hadn’t been open, a couple of times I couldn’t have gotten home because of the snow,” he said.

At an earlier meeting, residents along Edgewood Drive had also voiced concern about vacating Greenfield, fearing it would redirect the flow of traffic more heavily onto their street. 

“We’ve got four acres of land here and you’re putting 200 people there and 200 cars,” said resident Patrick Leary at the Jan. 16 Planning Commission meeting. “[Mounds View Boulevard] is already full in the morning and at night, the schools are at [maximum capacity].”

Since more than half the new development would be made up of studio and one-bedroom apartments, Sevald said he does not foresee a large number of children living at Crossroad Pointe.

At the most recent council meeting, longtime Mounds View resident Bill Buckingham expressed interest in moving into the apartments once they were done. He said we wants to downsize, but is having trouble finding apartments that don’t have a years-long waiting list or income requirements. 

Mueller pointed out that new, market-rate apartments haven’t been built in the city in roughly 30 years. According to the American Community Survey, the current vacancy rate in Mounds View is just under 5%. 

Following approval of the necessary zoning changes and the preliminary plat, Greenfield Avenue will be vacated later this summer, prior to final plat approval. According to Sevald, there are no further public hearings planned for the project, but residents with questions or concerns are encouraged to contact City Hall.

 

–Bridget Kranz can be reached at bkranz@lillienews.com or 651-748-7825.

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