HJ/EDEnterprise Dispatch, Dec. 26, 2005

Dassel's Emerald Ponds to add 23 homes

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

The Dassel City Council approved a preliminary plat for the Emerald Ponds subdivision on the north side of town at its city council meeting last Monday.

The subdivision will feature 23 single family homes in an area along Fifth Street, south of the Summit Hills area. A typical home in Emerald Ponds will cost about $138,900, according to developers, Chris Lewis and Loren Seppanen of Aho Northwest in Waite Park.

“It’s kind of encouraging to see homes that people who live and work in Dassel can afford,” said Myles McGrath, city administrator.

For those who are curious, models of the type of homes to be in Emerald Ponds are already built in Eden Valley and St. Cloud, Lewis said.

The Dassel planning and zoning commission recommended the council approve the preliminary plat with five conditions. First, the sewer system must meet all the requirements of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Department of Natural Resources to protect any nearby wetlands. Second, trees with trunks that are six inches in diameter or larger must be inventoried and as many as possible protected during construction. Third, storm water management must be well engineered. Fourth, there must be an access to the subdivision on the northwest corner.

Finally, the developers have chosen to make a cash contribution to the city’s park system instead of dedicating land for a park, McGrath said.

The engineer, Linda Brown of Surveying and Engineering Professionals in Waite Park, and city staff are responsible for making sure the five conditions are met, McGrath said.

Todd Street will not be made into a through-street because it is too narrow and can’t handle extra traffic, McGrath said.

The final plat for Emerald Ponds probably won’t get approved until 2006, after the city knows what will happen with its application for a permit to expand wastewater discharge, though, McGrath said.

The council approved a moratorium ordinance that the city won’t consider new zoning and new plats for a year. Not only will the one-year’s delay give the city time to find out about its wastewater discharge permit, but also to fine tune its comprehensive plan, he said.

The plan is a bit too broad the way it is now and should be more targeted for specific kinds of development, McGrath said.

Council Member Robert Wilde, who was on the original committee putting together the comprehensive plan, said the plan was broad on purpose. The committee didn’t want the city to be dictatorial about how private property owners could use their land, Wilde said.

Currently, Dassel is dense with single family residences. The city might change the plan so it has a mix of types of housing, for example, McGrath responded.

Then Wilde urged the city to get as much planning into the one-year moratorium as it could.

Council Member Bob Lalone asked if the moratorium will have an affect on the city’s tax capacity.

Tax capacity is affected most after the house or building is constructed, not when the property is in the planning stages, McGrath said.

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