Ryan Companies is considering changes to an apartment plan rejected by the Eden Prairie City Council in August, hoping there’s a path toward city reconsideration and approval of the project.
The potential changes were outlined in a city council workshop Tuesday, Oct. 18. While there were no votes taken or commitments made, council members indicated that the revisions address many of their earlier concerns, and they have no objections to the revised plan being resubmitted for consideration, as long as the developer also meets with neighbors.
On Aug. 16, the council rejected on a preliminary 4-0 vote a Ryan Companies plan for a five-story, 211-unit apartment project on seven acres along Valley View Road, near its intersection with Topview Road/Plaza Drive, a block east of Home Depot.
At that time, council members raised a number of issues, among them parking, traffic and road access, building height, and stormwater drainage. They instructed staff to prepare findings for a formal rejection of the plan, and return to the council with those findings.
Instead, Ryan Companies has worked to revise the plan, hoping it can allay concerns and still have a project that’s financially viable.
The new plan is still five stories and, at 210 units, just one less apartment. However, a flat roof would replace a pitched roof – reducing the building’s height by over 11 feet – and additional parking has been created to get the project closer to city requirements.
In addition, Ryan Companies has added rooftop solar panels, electric-vehicle charging stations, and energy-efficient building components to make the building more “green.”
The company said the project would no longer be feasible if it were made four stories tall, significantly reducing the number of apartments.
The proposed revisions were shared Tuesday by Tony Barranco, president of the North Region of Ryan Companies, during a work session that typically precedes the council’s twice-a-month formal meetings. The work sessions typically allow the council to have deeper discussions of general city topics while deferring action to formal meetings.
Council members declined to say whether they would vote yea or nay on the revised plan. Instead, they said that if Ryan Companies does, indeed, resubmit its project for consideration, the firm would need to meet again with nearby residents to share the revisions. Neighbors opposed to the project nearly filled the council chambers during the Aug. 16 hearing, echoing many of the council members’ reservations about the plan.
Concerns about added traffic that would result from the project, as well as the single street access that would be a right-turn-in, right-turn-out only from Valley View Road, are not addressed in the plan changes outlined by Ryan Companies this week.
However, city officials note that traffic would be added to that area regardless of whether the vacant property hosts apartments, retail, or office development. Uses other than apartments would add the same amount of traffic or more, according to a traffic study by the city. City staff is suggesting that nearby intersections would still be rated as A, B, or C – in other words, acceptable and able to handle added traffic – if the apartment project were built. It’s expected that nearby traffic signals might be timed differently to accommodate increases in traffic.
If Ryan Companies decides to move forward with the revised plan, it’s likely that a neighborhood meeting would be held in mid-November at the earliest, with a resubmittal to the city in mid-December and a council hearing in January, estimated Ryan’s Barranco.
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