To the editor:
In the early morning hours of April 29, Edina Planning Commissioners approved a rezoning request from Reuter Walton for the parcel of land where Perkins stands. The developer’s vision falls outside of the 2018 Comprehensive Plan by proposing seven-story structures on land designated for two- and four-story structures in the Building Height Overlay District. Re-zoning to PUD allows those requirements to go away on land that falls outside of the Potential Change Areas that are clearly shown in the Comprehensive Plan.
In his presentation, Edina Community Development Director Cary Teague used a diagram that showed a proposed off-ramp from Highway 100 that would cut through the parcel. If built, Reuter Walton’s complex will be adjacent to the off ramp. Not many apartment complexes are located right by exit ramps but the diagram normalized this concept by showing the outlines of two other buildings to the north snuggled up against the proposed ramp. These buildings don’t exist. The northernmost fantasy structure is in the middle of the current exit ramp. It’s quite possible the Department of Transportation would want to keep this land and use it to offset traffic congestion.
The other fantasy building replaces the historic and beloved structures on Frank Tupa Park – the Grange Hall and Cahill School. What’s up with that? Members of the public and the planning commission deserved to see an accurate image, particularly when a municipal historic site/museum is involved. Summer camps occur here and pedestrian/bike travel is already challenging in this area.
It’s clear the proposed off ramp will require some of the Frank Tupa Park land – a section of land west of the Grange Hall and Cahill School. What if city officials met with the DOT and talked. Maybe there could be a land swap. The DOT could purchase the Perkins parcel and turn the eastern section over to the city. Edina could then replace the parking it will lose. Perhaps it could expand the park to make it a walking/learning destination. In return, Edina could give the DOT the western section of Tupa Park that it will need.