Another local body has approved plans for Noble Hill.
Noble Hill is a controversial, 50-home development proposed by Pulte Homes near Riley Creek and the Fredrick-Miller Spring in Eden Prairie.
The 3-2 vote Aug. 12 by the Riley-Purgatory-Bluff Creek Watershed District approves a permit for the project. It also leaves an opposition group few options aside from a court challenge.
Activists react: Spring Valley Friends
“We’re disappointed by the decision, obviously,” said Rebecca Prochaska, a member of the group now known as Spring Valley Friends.
The group responded to the latest decision by citing new and ongoing concerns by University of Minnesota civil engineer professor Otto Strack.
Strack raised new concerns about whether the plan’s water infiltration and retention ponds – designed to hold runoff and prevent pollution and erosion on the sloped property after large rainfalls – will do the job.
“His new warning and information … has convinced Spring Valley Friends that this project is even more dangerous and unsuitable for Eden Prairie than previously thought and should be stopped,” the group said in a prepared statement Aug. 13.
But local officials point to multiple studies — including an additional “slope analysis study” ordered during the watershed district’s review – that conclude the Pulte Homes project can protect the steep slopes as well as the nearby creek and freshwater spring, as long as the building and engineering plans are followed.
The project has also been approved by the City of Eden Prairie.
Prochaska, however, said the group is still appealing an earlier decision by the city of Eden Prairie to not conduct an Environmental Assessment Worksheet as part of the review process. The city’s decision has been upheld by an appeals court.
However, the plaintiffs have filed a petition seeking review by the state Supreme Court.
Prochaska said the group is also hopeful that the new concerns expressed by Strack – that the infiltration and retention ponds planned on the slopes pose what she calls “a safety risk” – will prompt the city or watershed district to reconsider their decisions.