A preliminary plat request for a proposed development called Woodland Creek was tabled by the Waconia city council last Monday over concerns about trees.

The development is targeted for about 37 acres of property located south of the Sierra neighborhood and east of Highway 284, owned by the Plocher family. Development representatives Synergy Land Company and Hartman Communities are proposing 56 single-family residential parcels for the property consisting of two housing types: 65-foot-wide villa lots and 70-foot wide single-family lots. Two road accesses are proposed for the development, one via Highway 284 and the other via Campfire Court to the north.

The city council approved an annexation agreement with Waconia Township in early May that enables the property to be developed, however, at the annexation hearing, recent planning commission meetings and in a petition, neighboring residents expressed concerns about potential increase in traffic emanating from the new development through the Sierra and Campfire Court neighborhoods. Also concerns about removal of existing woodlands and treed buffer areas for Sierra neighbors.

Discussion at the council meeting focused on possible road reconfigurations and options to address traffic concerns. But greater conversation surfaced around the developer’s plan to remove a significant number of trees – more than twice as much forestation as allowed under the city’s tree preservation ordinance. The developer has also requested that the city review that ordinance based on impacts to the development.

That research was not complete at the time of the meeting and the council agreed to table the plat request until the review is done, likely later in July.

In other action at its June 24 meeting, the city council rejected a request by Nagel Assisted Living for a property at 240 Elm Street South to rezone it from single-family to general business district. The applicant indicated that the goal of the rezoning is to create an outdoor space for Nagel residents and future off-street parking and expansion space; however the council denied the request over concerns that it would not be compatible with other residential uses and that rezoning could open up the property to broader business use if it was ever sold.

The council district did grant a zoning request change request from School District 110 for property adjacent to Southview Elementary School that the district purchased recently. The zoning change from single-family residential to public district will enable expansion of the school parking lot, proposed for this summer.

In other business, the council passed a resolution naming the softball fields at Brooke Peterson Community Park “Al Melchert Fields.” The naming recognizes long-time city employee, the late Allan Melchert, who loved the game of softball, city officials said, and took extra care of the fields.

The city has received donations for a memorial, and signs will be placed near the entrance to the fields. A dedication ceremony is being planned with the Melchert family for later this summer.

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