To the editor:

Neighbors of 4404 Valley View Road, the Burley’s site, received a neighborhood meeting notice from DJR Architecture. It claims “No rezoning or comprehensive plan changes are required for this development.”

But, then the notice lists required variances. One is “Increase in building height from two stories to three stories.” The Wooddale/Valley View Small Area Plan, which is part of the Comprehensive Plan, shows structures on this site must be two stories or less – the Comprehensive Plan must be amended.

This site is part of the Edina Flats project and was originally approved for a two-story structure with four residential units. That plan complied with code. But building 13 units on a .27-acre lot creates a housing density of 48.15 units/acre. This exceeds the 30 residential units/acre limit. It violates code – only eight units can be built.

Planning staff is attempting a work-around by calculating the number of possible units based on the entire Edina Flats acreage, which is 1.27 acres. Staff is arguing that because only 14 luxury condos were built on one acre that is noncontiguous with the Burley’s site, some units can be shifted onto the .27-acre site. This approach ignores Edina’s ordinances, which defines “lot”: “Lot means the basic development unit for purposes of this chapter. A lot may consist of one parcel, or two or more adjoining parcels, under single ownership or control, and used for a principal use and accessory uses allowed by this chapter.” These parcels are not adjoining.

All Edina residents should be concerned with this ordinance-violating maneuver. Picture a lot near your home and one not so close to it. Consider how many residential units could go on the combined acreage. Now imagine the city empowering a developer to disregard density limitation and place units however they like.

It’s unacceptable for Edina’s Planning Department to support this approach. It’s unacceptable that nobody on the City Council questioned this maneuver during sketch plan reviews. The parcels that comprise the Edina Flats project are not adjoining. Two separate lots are being developed as if they are one.

Julie Risser

Edina

Clarification: This letter was updated to clarify that the proposed development is located on a .27-acre lot.

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