Public Hearing: Rezoning at 6600- 6800 France Ave. (Commons on France), Southdale Office Center

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My name is Roberta Thorpe. I live at 6804 Cornelia Drive. I’ve lived here in the Cornelia neighborhood for over 30 years and I want to continue being here. I have great concern about the development at 6600- 6800 France Ave. In my opinion, the density with the condos and apartments is way too high, too tall, and too much. Do we really need more apartments or condos around Southdale? This is not downtown Minneapolis. Let’s put a stop to this and put quality above quantity. Perhaps consider some townhomes in the area. It seems like Edina doesn’t have many townhomes and it might be a nice transition in that area. The other concern are the large parking lots. They’re not only unsightly, but noisy with air and light pollution. I am also concerned about the increased traffic in the area that this project will bring. We do have an elementary school in the neighborhood that will be affected by the increased traffic in our family orientated neighborhood. There is never enough green space around developments along West 70th Street. I would suggest planting more pine trees as they block unsightly walls and other areas, provide year-round green, and help noise and air pollution. I would like to know where the mechanical operational equipment be located? Please no more noise for our neighborhood to listen to. We can do better. Why change these areas when they seem to be working just fine? I would suggest just stopping all the development and let’s see what happens with all the other apartments and condos that are being built in the area. With development comes building noise which is extremely stressful. The “Beep beep beeps” from the equipment can be heard for blocks. So, lets wait and see what the impacts are from other existing developments are and vote no on this item. I don’t understand why residents who are impacted by all of these developments only receive 3 minutes of time to give feedback and ask questions. The developers come in and take as long as they’d like to sell their idea, get feedback, and basically waste a lot of people’s time. Maybe this could be looked at and something done about it. Thank you for listening to me and I think I’ve said it all, but remember that the people living in our neighborhoods are the ones that have to live with the results of all of this development and we should be considered extremely valuable in our comments because of what it will do to our neighborhoods and quality of life. Please vote no. Thank you very much and lets’ not try to fix everything that is already working. -Entered by City Staff

Edinastaff 8 days ago

As a resident of the Concord neighborhood and working group member of two small area plans, I am concerned about what happens in the Southdale area which has so much potential to be a destination gem and economic driver for our city. I support thoughtful and balanced re-development, but this proposal is all wrong for achieving the right direction for the future of that area. I will be sending a more formal letter to the city council regarding my strong objections to this project and I sincerely hope that the planning commission will do the same—object to this proposal by denying the request for an Ordinance Amendment/Preliminary Rezoning to amend the existing PUD. Among my objections:- The proposal does not meet the strategic direction found in Vision Edina of “Balancing Edina’s Redevelopment, and Enhancing Our Community Fabric and Character.”- The proposal does not meet the aspirations or goals for the Greater Southdale District Plan (GSDP) including this example from its Vision Statement: “We imagine new promenades that bridge nearby neighborhoods with the life of the district, where those seams become places of lasting value. We imagine beautiful outdoor spaces for play, socializing, and respite while accommodating the functional needs of new development.” And that’s just one example of many where this proposal contradicts the GSDP.- The proposed development detracts from rather than complements or enhances the regional medical center corridor in that area of Southdale. Edina has an opportunity to position and expand this specialized corridor that could have lasting economic development benefits for the community. - The proposed development is located on what could be a prestigious corner of Edina and should welcome visitors to a vibrant district. There is no “vibrancy” in this proposal, just a wall of buildings. Whether this proposal or subsequent, much care should be given to how that 22-acre property shapes the gateway of the district. - Finally, I am astounded that the developer is proposing this project will take TEN years to complete! Ten years of construction mess and noise; ten years of traffic detours and distractions; ten years of limbo. A lot can happen in ten years to derail development and Edina could end up with two lackluster, stalled, long-term construction zones: Pentagon Park and this property in Southdale.Please, Planning Commissioners, vote no to this proposal and deny the request. Thank you for your service to Edina,Connie Carrino

Constance 15 days ago

My name is Gregg Swedberg, and am a life long (60 years) resident of Edina. We live in the Lake Cornelia neighborhood. I am generally opposed to tall buildings in the community. I am also generally opposed to the overdevelopment of the Southdale area, but understand the need to reshape that area with the slow death of retail happening now. I really wish we could have an honest depiction of how the area is being developed. In this view, there's nothing happening on 70th and France and the huge new building on Hazelton is missing. (And in the 70th & FRance US Bank plan, the other development is conveniently hidden.) Separately, one might concede that this project has done a decent job of not going too high, and providing some green space. I might be missing it, but I do not see any plans for affordable housing. If it's there, I apologize. The parking garages are a really disappointing feature that I wish we could avoid so close to neighborhoods. In the Centennial lakes area, the parking garages are fine. At 50th and France, they seem to be okay. This one seems a little close. I'm also trying to figure out the fairly organized support of the 70th & France plan while this one seems to be less well-thought-of. I appreciate the chance to feed back.

Gregg Swedberg 16 days ago

My name is Victoria Mousseau and I am a 30-year resident of Edina (Chowen Park) and a loyal patron of both Tavern on France and Total Image of Edina. We need to slow down Edina’s population explosion. We need to leave some natural green spaces. As steward of our planet, we must stop tearing down what is still in good condition just to replace it with something more expensive. I don’t understand how we cannot have the financial resources to provide the recommended third fire station and sufficient police coverage to better control the increasing crime, when we have tripled the value (and tax base) of each house turned into a McMansion and built innumerable expensive multi-unit residences in former parking lots, and in every conceivable nook and cranny of this city.I have lived in the same house for thirty years and the quiet of my suburban neighborhood is now filled with constant construction noise (other than in winter). Beautiful mature trees have been cut down for new construction, just because they are a little bit inconvenient to leave in place. I have accepted that my 70-year-old house will be torn down when I sell it one day. I grew up in a suburb of Boston where old homes - older than any we have here - are valued for their age and idiosyncrasies; they are updated but not destroyed, even if that means 7’ ceilings, low doorways, etc.I am deeply saddened by what has happened here. We need to slow down the change.

Vmousseau 17 days ago

Kelly Veit, Lake Cornelia resident. I reside within 1,000ft of this project. I have followed this development for months and was present for an in-person meeting with the developer. I gave feedback regarding the first sketch plan and the second draft to the developer and to city council by email. I have concerns regarding the use of this space for primarily office space and parking. The Southdale design guide describes building the Southdale area to be uniquely Edina. I feel this current design does not achieve that. The southern end of the area will only offer a view of an office building and a parking garage to those that travel north/south on France Ave and along Valley View. If the residential tower is approved on the northeast/west corners it will form a wall to the area behind it. Why is an additional large office building needed? Plus a medical office building? This site has the potential to be wonderful and a location that residents and others visiting the area could stay and enjoy. Adding these additional office buildings to what is already there takes up valuable space that could be utilized for a more human experience and a draw to Edina. As their design stands there is nothing to inspire a person to visit/live/play in the area. It was mentioned in a city council meeting that this area would be an ideal space to use similar to 50th and France. Connect this area to my neighborhood and bridge the gap between Southdale mall/galleria and us. Townhomes would be nice, small streets with cafes, shopping, and intimate park space would all transition Lake Cornelia to France Ave. This design only serves to create a concrete barrier. In addition to these comments I feel the view of another office tower and parking garages from my home is very undesirable. No matter how well you “camoflage” a parking garage, it will always look like a parking structure. We already have traffic cutting through our neighborhood, I fear this would increase with this development. Per the developer, this plan may take ten years. To think of that level of noise for that long makes me cringe. In summary, Edina can do better. Make Edina and the Southdale area unique and inviting. Not another suburban office park with residential buildings thrown in to try and soften it. The area is enough of a parking lot already.

Kvpt 18 days ago

Kirsten Gullickson, South Cornelia resident, life-long Edina resident, constantly driving, biking, walking in the 6600-6800 proposed redevelopment area. I am writing to the Edina Planning Commission and the Edina City Council to strongly oppose rezoning to Planned Unit Development (PUD), and oppose changes to city redevelopment planning codes to existing setbacks from streets, sidewalks and green parkways between sidewalks and buildings, and I oppose granting variances for building height, and to floor area ratios. This redevelopment plan is squeezing far too many buildings onto the 6600 - 6800 site. The buildings are not only on top of one another, they are on top of the surrounding streets. The amount of traffic generated from these structures that pour onto France Ave. S. and Valley View Rd. will be staggering. France Ave. S. is already a nightmare (pre-pandemic). With the additional structures proposed for the W. 70th St. & France Ave. S. corner, the traffic will be stop-and-go throughout the entire day. The quality of life in an around France Ave. S. will plummet due to constant traffic. This entire area, and the businesses in the area, will become an area to avoid at all costs. Edina and neighboring Richfield are not lacking for new high-density housing. There are enormous apartment/condo complexes surrounding Southdale and now another one is going up behind Target on Hazelton Rd. Edina is a primarily a single-family dwelling residential area, and that is one reason why people move to the area. No one wants to live in the shadow of an office complex that should have half as many buildings on it, and that should be smaller in size than the proposed plan for 6600-6800. Office space is abundant in Edina, yet as we have learned, no one goes into the office during a pandemic. Even once it is deemed safe for workforces to return to office buildings, fully 50% of workers plan to remain working from home. Companies are planning for this, and are reducing their office footprints and moving to smaller spaces. Another pandemic is in the not-too-distant future epidemiologists say, so we should be planning buildings and living units with that at the forefront of our thinking. Edina does not require more retail space. The retail space Edina residents prefer are 50th & France, Centennial Lakes, Galleria, Grandview, Wooddale Ave. & Valley View. Additionally, even after the pandemic is contained through vaccination distribution, people will continue to order a majority of goods online. Take-out food will not go away. In-store, brick & mortar should be small, personal, and easy in-and-out. That's the future, not high-rise apartment buildings overlooking parking lots and adjacent to a water treatment plant and three office buildings. Edina needs additional green space and outdoor recreation space. Sidewalks should be everywhere on every street. Dog parks, pet-friendly dwellings, safe bike lanes are paramount. It is a fallacy to think that high-density will have everyone selling their cars and hopping on scooters and bikes. We have winter six months of the year, so we drive five blocks to pick-up dinner, get groceries, get to basketball practice, pick-up a prescription. Most parents are not going to hop on their fat tire bikes, towing the kids on the back of the bikes with a grocery carrier attached to the kids. We will be in our cars, and the high-density apartment buildings make parking and traffic a nightmare. Edina does not want to transform into a corporate office center casting shadows over whole neighborhoods with lines of cars endlessly waiting to cross France Ave. S.. or navigate from 494 to W. 50th St. Again, I strongly oppose granting rezoning to PUD for the 6600-6800 redevelopment project, and I oppose any change to existing Edina city codes regulating existing building setbacks from streets, sidewalks and greenways between buildings and sidewalks, and oppose changes to existing building height requirements and floor area ratios. Do NOT reduce the square footage of planned apartments in order to cram more apartments/condos into these buildings simply so that the developers can maximize their profits, or so that the city can increase its tax revenue. That is unethical and unwarranted, particularly during a pandemic. People now realize that they require MORE living area, two separate work spaces ideally, and immediate access to outside so that they do not have to be in elevators with others. There will be another pandemic, so plan now for those living situations. My last point is a question regarding the water treatment plant. There is some type of treatment facility in the South Cornelia area at the sector of W. 72nd and Oaklawn Ave. It emits a constant odor that is often nauseating. It would be critically important to ensure that the proposed water treatment plant at 6600-6800 does not emit any type of odor nor, obviously, toxic fumes. Clearly, I know nothing about the water treatment process, so this may not be a concern, but thought that I should mention this. Sincerely, Kirsten Gullickson

Kgully 19 days ago

Other than providing the developers with more profit, I don't understand why the buildings shown on this plan have to be so high or add so much more additional housing. Three-to-four story apartment and condominium buildings seem to be on a scale that fits the area. The contrast between Southdale First Addition and this plan is quite striking. I didn't happen to see what kind of building materials will be used. I'm hoping it's a more traditional brick. I may make more comments as I take a deeper look at the plan. Paul Lawrence.

Paul Lawrence about 1 month ago