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New development's density draws complaint

A new housing development may create additional density in eastern Woodbury, a concern brought up by a homeowner in a nearby neighborhood.

However, the new development, proposed by Metro Land for 21 single family homes on five acres near the existing Stonemill Farms neighborhood, was approved as part of the overall planning of that area, which began 10 years ago.

The application to begin building "Liberty Ridge" this year was also approved by the Woodbury Planning Commission Monday, June 3. The name of the development will change as part of the agreement.

Since the new development, to be located north of Liberty Trail and east of Liberty Ridge Elementary School, falls in District 834 boundaries, commissioners and staff said it may confuse prospective buyers. Liberty Ridge Elementary is part of District 833.

"We just didn't want potential homeowners to think their children would go to that school when in reality they would be going to District 834," associate planner Dan Olson said.

The parcel was part of the Stonemill Farms development in 2003, but is no longer associated with it, according to city documents.

It will be a new standalone development without ties to any of the existing homeowner associations.

The property is currently vacant and is surrounded on the north and east by city-owned land used as open space. The west is used for the elementary school and the south is the single-family residential neighborhood Heritage Park.

Heritage Park resident Cody Coonradt expressed concerns about the proposed density since it will be 4.2 units per acre, versus 3.2 units per acre in surrounding developments, which is in conformance with the already approved platting of the Comprehensive Plan.

"I feel the density that is proposed is inconsistent with the density that exists," he told planning commissioners last week, adding that it creates 15 to 20 percent more density.

Senior Planner Eric Searles said the proposal is still consistent with other neighborhoods in Woodbury like Dancing Waters and Bailey's Arbor.

"It will have more of a dense feel," he said, but added, "it's still a single family product."

Additionally, traffic is estimated at about 30 vehicles trips per day and the street can handle up to 2,500, he said.

"I don't believe there is any design challenges with the density," Searles said, adding that yard setbacks at five feet will be the only aesthetic difference.

The Planning Commission unanimously approved the application for the new housing development.

Woodbury City Council held a public hearing Wednesday, June 12 and approved the development as well. Construction is set to begin by mid-June.

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.