Development with Coborn’s grocery store and developer of proposed child care center also seeks incentives

by Beth Balmanno

Contributing Writer

The Otsego City Council held a public hearing on Oct. 28 for a proposed tax abatement for Parkview Retail, a commercial and housing development project that will include a Coborn’s grocery store. The tax abatement would ask the city to initially cover the costs of constructing streets, utilities, and related public improvement projects within the development. Estimates for the improvements are estimated to cost $871,171. Future tax revenues from the development would then be used to repay the city for these expenses.

Nick Anhut from Ehler’s, the city’s development finance consultant, was there to discuss the process of tax abatement and to answer questions. There were no comments during the public hearing portion of the meeting.

No action was required or taken at the meeting after the hearing closed, and the council will formally vote on the tax abatement request at the Nov. 12 council meeting.

A public hearing was also held to vacate an existing drainage and utility easement and to submit the final plat approval for the 4th addition of Meadows of Riverpointe. This addition of the Lennar Homes project will add 32 single-family homes to the existing development, which is located northwest of CSAH 36 and east of Randolph Avenue.

“Lennar has been very successful with this development, moving forward much faster than they originally anticipated with their 10-year build-out for the project,” City Planner Daniel Licht told the council. “It’s good to see that progress happening.”

There were no public comments and the council approved the final plat plans for the project.

The council interviewed four legal firms in October in their search for a new city attorney after Andrew MacArthur, Otsego’s attorney for more than 20 years, announced his retirement. Mayor Jessica Stockamp and the City Council were unanimous in their decision that Campbell Knutson, P.A. of Eagan was the best fit for the city’s needs.

“I felt most comfortable with Campbell Knutson,” Council Member Tom Darkenwald said, “although they will have some very big shoes to fill.”

Stockamp asked city staff to start working on a contract with the firm for the full council to approve.

Prior to the council meeting, there was a special meeting for staff and council to discuss the 2020-2029 Capital Improvement Plan and debt service refunding.

The council also heard from First Children’s Finance about a proposed child care center to be located within Otsego. Mark Hanson, an economic development consultant for First Children’s Finance, noted in a letter to the council and mayor it is requesting financial incentives toward the project to include a tax abatement schedule and or a partial or full write down of the land costs.

First Step Preschool and Extended Child Care is currently operating at 555 Railroad Drive in Elk River, where it serves 140 children ranging in age from 16 months to 9 years. Its current location is for sale, but not adequate to allow for growth.

More than half of the clientele come from Elk River, while a few dozen come from Otsego. Another 28 come from seven nearby communities.

First Step’s ongoing vision is to provide affordable child care and preschool to the community at current or below market rates.

The Otsego location being considered would be ideal for maintaining the current clientele and helping with the child care shortfall in Otsego.

Stockamp said discussion about the proposal at the special meeting held before the regular meeting was limited due to time constraints.

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