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Seven acres eyed for rezoning as retail business

The direction of how Orchard Place in Apple Valley will be developed is continuing to be carved out by city officials.

The Apple Valley Planning Commission heard about an application from HJ Development LLP and Rockport LLC for a preliminary plat and rezoning request during a Feb. 5 public hearing. No residents spoke about the application at the hearing and the commission did not take action on the application.

The Orchard Place development will be on 414 acres that is being mined south of County Road 42, east of Flagstaff Avenue and west of Pilot Knob Road. Of the total acreage, nearly 40 acres of land has been identified for commercial use, according to Bruce Nordquist, Apple Valley community development director.

City Planner Thomas Lovelace said the applicants are seeking to subdivide a 45-acre parcel, on the northwest corner of 157th Street West and Pilot Knob Road, into three lots and three outlots by preliminary plat. Included in the preliminary plat would be right of way for Pilot Knob Road, 157th Street West and future development of 155th Street West.

Nordquist said the applicants are also seeking to rezone 7 of the 45 acres from sand and gravel to retail business. The developer would eventually like to rezone 34 of the 45 acres, but those requests would be made in multiple phases.

The 7 acres requested for rezoning are on the northwest corner of 157th Street West and Pilot Knob.

According to Lovelace, the retail business zoning districts are areas that are centrally located to serve the need for general retail sales. An overall concept plan must be submitted and approved by the city. The concept plan has to include the architectural style of buildings, parking, driveways, landscape and screening, and adequate spaces for future community facilities. The initial construction of new shopping centers in a retail business zoning district must include a minimum of 20,000 square feet of floor area.

Examples of shopping centers in Apple Valley that are zoned retail business are the Cub Foods shopping area, Time Square and Apple Valley Square, according to the city.

Nordquist said the developer has discussed building multiple tenant buildings with a total square footage of 32,000 square feet on the 7 acres in the rezoning application. But no further information has been shared with the city about possible tenants.

A right-in only access to the site from southbound Pilot Knob Road was proposed. Because Pilot Knob is maintained by the county, the Dakota County Plat Commission reviewed the proposal and said it would not allow the proposed access, a city report said. Nordquist said the city is working on alternative access to the site off 157th Street West.

The site plan indicates a pathway will connect to the existing tunnel under 157th Street West in the southwest corner of the proposed development. The path will then extend north to the south side of 155th Street West. The trail section would be part of the North Creek Greenway, a 17.5-mile trail and natural corridor connecting Lebanon Hills Regional Park and the Vermillion River, the city said.

The Orchard Place request is expected to come back at a future meeting for further consideration by the Planning Commission.

Patty Dexter can be reached at

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