Eden Prairie city officials are creating a new zoning district they hope will spark but also control redevelopment in some aging industrial areas, including the Martin Drive area north of Highways 5/212 and west of Mitchell Road.
Why it matters: The city’s proactive approach means residents could eventually see more retail and other services in locations that have an outdated industrial history.
They call it the Flex Service Zoning District, and the city intends to apply its flexibility to the Martin Drive area and also the northeastern corner of Flying Cloud Drive and Pioneer Trail – kitty-corner from Flying Cloud Airport – where a few industrial businesses exist.
The move wouldn’t spell an end to those businesses; no existing properties are being rezoned at this time. But, the new zoning classification would be available to property owners looking for a change or investment – to build a distillery or craft-beer brewery where an industrial building now exists, for example. Or, to construct an auto-repair business.
In other words, the change to city code might create a path for businesses that don’t fit well in some of Eden Prairie’s other commercial zoning districts.
As an enticement to redevelopment or, as Director of Community Development Julie Klima says, “to provide some different incentives,” the new flex service zoning would, in some cases, have looser restrictions on parking, lot size, signage, building materials, and building setback requirements.
Buildings with frontage on Highways 5/212, away from existing neighborhoods, would be allowed the highest percentage of retail use.
The Martin Drive area, currently home to businesses like the Lunds & Byerly’s Fresh Kitchen and Bakery Facility, is one that’s recently been given new attention by the city. It was labeled as a “special study area” in the city’s long-range guide plan, called Aspire 2040. The guide plan created the flex service idea, and now the city is creating the zoning district with all of the details.
The Aspire 2040 plan says the overall objective is “… to further transform this area into one with a diverse and innovative mix of uses that are better suited in the Martin Drive area than in other parts of the city …”
Some repurposing of industrial buildings has already taken place, such as the use of these large spaces for youth gymnastics instruction or office-furniture sales. More of that could occur with the flex service zoning.
The Aspire 2040 plan says large-scale redevelopment may not be imminent, but it points out the Martin Drive area has some features that create opportunities, such as the frontage along Highways 5/212. Although not directly tied to the new zoning district, other parts of the Martin Drive area are seen as ripe for alternative types of redevelopment, such as apartment buildings along Mitchell Road.
The flex service zoning district was unanimously approved at the Monday, June 12, meeting of the Eden Prairie Planning Commission. Next, it will be considered by the city council.
We offer several ways for our readers to provide feedback. Your comments are welcome on our social media posts (Facebook, X, Instagram, Threads, and LinkedIn). We also encourage Letters to the Editor; submission guidelines can be found on our Contact Us page. If you believe this story has an error or you would like to get in touch with the author, please connect with us.