A new 48-unit apartment building could be coming to Orono.

At its city council meeting on Monday, July 12, the city council voted 5-0 to direct staff to draft a resolution to approve of the apartment complex at 2060 Wayzata Blvd W.

The project application was presented to the city on May 19 by Mohegan Hansen Architecture and CBS MN Properties,

The Orono Planning Commission and City Council has requested some changes to the initial application but the proposal is for three-story building with one level of underground parking that will house 48, 1 to 3 bedroom apartments with plans to develop some rooms to condominiums in the future.

The complex will also have an exercise room, a community room in building, and a roof top deck. It will be made primarily of brick, limestone and metal with flat roof.

The changes that the Planning Commission and council requested were to move the proposed patio on the northwest side of the property, provide fencing or security around the property and to lower the height of the building from 31 feet to 30 feet to meet city code requirements.

The initial proposal was for a 31-foot building but they lowered it 30 feet, 9 inches and hoped to get approval for that height from the council.

“We’d like as much as height as we can get but we are trying to compromise at the nine inches and its not a whole lot we are asking for and are hoping you are receptive to it,” Dale Richardson, of CBS MN Properties, said.

But the council and Mayor were adamant that they must get to 30 feet.

“For me that 30 foot is a hard number in height,” council member Matt Johnson said.

Fellow member Victoria Seals concurred, “30 feet is a really slippery slope with us so 30 feet is where its at and you guys are wicked smart, you will design something amazing within that box so that’s where I am at.”

Mayor Dennis Walsh added, “That’s the tough thing for the council. Once you make it 30 feet something that becomes the new 30 feet. Its always been 30 feet.”

City staff also recommended the following conditions be meet before drafting the resolution for the project. Met Council approval of the Comprehensive Plan amendment that reduces the density below 20-units per acre; Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) approval; City Engineer approval; and Fire Chief approval.

The next step in the process is for council to formally approve the resolution. After that, the applicants will then develop final plans for approval.

In other council action:

The council approved the hiring Brent Weldon as the new Public Works Streets and Stormwater Supervisor. Weldon has been with Hennepin County Public Works for 16 years, the past 10 as a foreman.

That position was open because previous Public Works Streets and Stormwater Supervisor D.J. Goman was promoted to Public Works Superintendent.

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