Public Hearing: Rezoning from PCD-3 to PUD, Subdivision and Consideration of an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) at 70th & France

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I would like to call attention to the developer’s statement about the matter of building footprint/floorplate in response to the Design Experience Guidelines (DEG). Quote from the DEG: “• Building footprints above 60 feet should be no greater than 12,000 SF for residential use and 24,000 SF for commercial space.” Quote the developer’s response on Page 18 of its Plan document dated 10-16-2020: “It is important to note that modern office space floorplates are typically 28,000 – 35,000 sf. These generally accepted floorplate standard sizes are a result of careful planning around utility consumption, natural light entering space, creating connections within space, and maximizing efficiencies. our office floorplates vary from 30,000 sf – 35,000 sf.” The developer appears to be saying that Edina’s DEG is not just a little wrong on this matter, but that it is completely out of range. Is this true? Did Edina develop the DEG based on faulty advice? The discrepancy regarding footprint/floorplate needs to be resolved. Roberta Castellano 4854 France Ave S

Roberta C 1 day ago

Jim Jensen (Dawson Lane, Edina) I am an Edina resident and live a few blocks from the proposed development. I am against approval of this project. Aesthetically, the design of the project looks blocky, chunky, monolithic. The buildings are enormous and grossly out of scale for the neighborhood. There is no integration with the surrounding community. The dimensions and height of the buildings would limit sunlight, particularly in the winter months. Also, it seems as if the US Bank parcel (Site D) is not assimilated into the overall design of the plan. For example, the US Bank setback of 40 feet is not consistent with the Site B setback and the community guidelines. The Site A residential tower is even more problematic. Such a large tower (24 stories) is out of scale for the neighborhood and violates the Southdale Design Experience Guidelines as well as the Greater Southdale District Plan. The residential tower would also present line of sight problems for the neighborhoods to the West. The additional traffic would certainly add to congestion and delays particularly along France Avenue. The construction of such large impervious structures would add storm water inputs into the Nine Mile Creek watershed and put additional stress on this sensitive ecological system. It is also not clear to me if the proposed development block meets the requirement for 15% parkland at ground level. Plantings in raised concrete boxes do not represent green space that the community could use and enjoy. The affordable housing element of the proposed plan is certainly laudable, and I support it; however, the TIF taxpayer subsidy is not appropriate in this case. The developer should pay the full cost of the project. I also wonder about the plan of isolating the affordable housing to Site C. Why not have a mix of housing (affordable/market) at both Sites A and C? Let me be clear, I am not against well thought out development that is respectful of our community guidelines and zoning laws; however, this proposed development is neither. Rezoning this block to establish a PUD would create major problems for not only the surrounding neighborhood but also for the entire city of Edina. Post meeting note: Apparently the proposed development failed the traffic study. It was revealed that 4000 additional vehicles/day would overwhelm the France/70th Street intersection. This is the obvious consequence of not following the Southdale Design Experience Guidelines and Greater Southdale Area District Plan. I also learned last night that the PUD approval process is not very transparent. The developer is seeking an overarching rezoning and approval when many important aspects of the project are unknown. In my view, this is another major problem with the proposed PUD and rezoning plan.

jimj 2 days ago

I think something should be done to make it possible for residents to provide speaking comments at the meeting...with the current system people are on hold and don't get thru...happened two meetings in a row. Only the Chamber of Commerce got thru on the hearing last night? Something off with this picture.Also I note below Ms. Melton refers to the 110 unit "affordable housing" she privy to some information that is not public? I only heard they don't have a clue how they are going to meet the affordable housing guidelines of the city and in fact are keeping open the option to do the "opt out" and cash payment in lieu of units on site.

Kathy 3 days ago

This project has my full support. I live near Arden Park, but my family and I frequently spend time near the project site for our shopping or grocery needs. I welcome this progressive and forward thinking addition because many of the surrounding developments are outdated and do not contribute to the growth of the Southdale area. This development will provide affordable housing, quality retail, and logistical office space. The increase in tax revenue this development will contribute to our city is substantial, and will only help the value of our housing markets. I am proud to live in Edina and look forward to seeing this project transform our community for the better.

Drew S. 3 days ago

I fully support this project! As an Edina resident, (Dewey Hill) and visit the area 4-5 times per week. I would love to see our city continue to improve with modern, sustainable developments that incorporate housing, retail, and office space. Many of our buildings are quite frankly outdated. This is not the edina of 30 years ago. If we don't change with the times, we will see our great community change for the worse.

Keith 3 days ago

I am reflecting on the campaign by the City of Edina to discredit having building height limits in our city's Comprehensive Plan, which included a claim that the Metropolitan Council deemed it a “nuisance”, which was false. At the time that Edina testified that the City had submitted many Comp Plan Amendments (“CPAs”) “just for height”, the City had actually not even submitted one CPA just for height. Does anyone else recall the City’s public assurances that, while removing height from the Comp Plan, ‘not to worry, because those heights will still be in the ZONING’. Now the developer proposes a 24-story, a 9-story building, and a 10-story office building, all of which exceed the 8-story zoning limit. And what about that office building? Cary Teague states that it is proposed to be 10 stories. The developer discusses 10 stories in its plan document, but at the same time omits the number of stories from the plan’s Site B description page. The developer only stated, “Approx. 150,000 SF of Office space”. Is it possible that the developer might be planning to increase the number of stories? What are we getting? How about the 50-foot setback from France Ave? Well, no. The developer would agree to the right turn into the project from northbound France, which is recommended as necessary to accommodate the projected increase in traffic. However, the developer disregards the impact of its current proposal (creating the need for a right-in turn lane) by asking the City to disregard the 50-foot setback. That’s not a ‘give to get’ scenario. Instead, it is a “give and give”, and it is a precedent-setting compromise for the area. How about the building footprint in the Design Experience Guidelines? No, the developer rejects the footprint guideline, too. How about green space? Soil is important, too, you know, because some soil bacteria consume methane. With all that height, and disregarding the footprint, we’ll surely get more ground level green space, right? Well, no. By comparing drawings and aerials, it appears that the developer proposes to provide less green space than is currently on the US Bank site. This visual review appears to be confirmed in one of the Engineering Review, which describes a proposed increase in impervious surface. Well, how about the zoning for other setbacks? Well, no, the developer proposes rejecting the zoning on all 4 exterior sides of the site. But we get new streets, right? Like Ewing and 71st Street? Well, no, as proposed, those are private access aisles. These buildings will need access aisles for routine and emergency purposes, and, as was stated in the staff fire and building report, they must be of sufficient size and capacity: “Verify fire access roads can meet the angle of approach and departure for our fire department apparatus and can support our aerial towers GVW of 82,000 lbs. with outrigger weights of 75 PSI = 60,450 lbs. per outrigger.” Giving street names to the access aisles, as though they were public streets, is misleading, and, thankfully, Commissioner Miranda asked questions that led to this being only partially clarified. The developer is NOT proposing to give this land to the City in exchange for all of that excess height. The public will gain only some limited form of use of these access aisles. I think it would be a significant error on the part of the City to accept such an arrangement. I do not think that the proposal is ready for preliminary approval. Roberta Castellano, 4854 France Ave S.

Roberta C 3 days ago

Issue of building lighting and light pollution. In addition to hearing conversations occurring 460 feet away, another feature at the new Nolan Mains Apartments is that they have strung party lights on another of their rooftop patios, catenary lights, just like they have done down at the street level on Market Street. They keep the rooftop party lights on all night! Because those lights are on the rooftop, they do not impact the Nolan Mains apartment units, but they do shine into my windows and obscure the sky view—dusk to dawn!Roberta Castellano, 4854 France Ave S

Roberta C 4 days ago

Steve L from Interlachen. I think this a great looking project and will be an excellent compliment to all of the redevelopment in the area. I fully support this project which will be substantial upgrade to the existing project. It will increase tax base while providing quality housing and retail opportunities to a wide variety of Edina residents as well as others.

Steve L 4 days ago

OPPOSITION TO PROPOSAL FOR 7001/7025 FRANCE AVEWe wish to voice our disapproval of the proposal for 7001/7025 France Avenue. Our primary concern is the height. The increased density associated with the proposed heights will increase traffic on France Ave by an estimated 4000 entrances and 4000 exits every day. It will also overload Cornelia School. Most importantly, such height will set an unfortunate precedent which will fundamentally alter the character of our neighborhood. We urge you to allow no more than eight stories for this development.Thank you,Mark and Julie Manfred

manfreds 4 days ago

Ruth is correct about noise. I live at 49th & France. One evening this past summer, I heard people talking in my backyard, but there was nobody there. What is going on? Where are these people? I checked the street, I checked across the street, I kept looking. Imagine my surprise when I finally discovered that I was hearing a group of people talking up on a rooftop patio at the new Nolan Mains Apartment building, 460 feet away!! (Measured the distance using Hennepin County’s Property webpage.) Not only heard them talking, but even heard some of what was said! I have a direct view of the patio. There are walls along portions of the patio, so I am guessing that people’s voices are bouncing off of the walls and, given the design, projecting all the way to my home. It's not what I'd call a gift. Roberta Castellano, 4854 France Ave S.

Roberta C 4 days ago

This is Ruth McIntyre, and I have lived in Cornelia neighborhood for 19 years. To Edina City Council: I agree with fellow Cornelia neighbor concerns and I have some more about this proposed development:• Effect on Pedestrians: Height proposed will affect pedestrians who walk along 70th Street because of the mass and the number of structures on such a small site. Pedestrians will be dwarfed by the height and mass. The shadows from the buildings, which will fall onto 70th street, will be especially detrimental in the winter (ice). High rises drop ice onto land below them in the winter and that will happen here, too.• Setbacks: The developers propose a generous setback from the street for the sidewalk and buildings on France Ave. but not on 70th. However, it is more comfortable for pedestrians to walk on 70th than it is on France, so a bigger setback on 70th, or at least no change from what it is now, would be more helpful to pedestrians.• Affordable housing: Why can the affordable housing not just be included into the ‘market rate’ apartments? If this was the case, there would be no need to have two separate apartment structures on the one site.• Taxpayer subsidies: This proposal should not get TIF funds. Developers should be able to finance their projects themselves without taxpayers having to subsidize them. Especially at a site like this, the city should give preference to appropriate projects that do not request TIF funds.• Zoning changes: I am against allowing rezoning for this site. They are proposing a building which is 3 times the currently allowed height limit. This is too large a change.• Light pollution: It is healthier for the neighborhood to have darkness at night and developers at the open house said they would seek to ‘light up’ the high-rise structures at night because they are ‘iconic’. This should not be allowed. • Noise: Truck deliveries: moving trucks, garbage trucks, delivery trucks all take up space, block traffic and make noise. This will impact neighbors. Noise will bounce off the hard surfaces of the buildings and especially travel farther at night, impacting neighborhoods.Please do not allow this project as proposed to go forward.

R.M 4 days ago

Hope Melton4825 Valley View RoadEdina, MN 55424Coordinator, Edina Neighbors for Affordable HousingDear Mayor and Members of the City Council,I am writing to support approval of the 70th & France development--the re-zoning to PUD, subdivision and consideration of an EAW, at 70th and France.The 110 units of affordable housing are badly needed in Edina and this is an ideal location, close to transit and a diversity of public and private services. I strongly support the revisions recommended by the Planning Commission--especially the 50 foot setback and additional green space with public areas including the proposed park south of the residential tower. In addition, the height and density is appropriate in this location, and it conforms to the Design Guidelines. What many miss is that added height and density in locations close to public transit discourages car traffic, opens the area for more green space, and reduces carbon emissions. Finally, I look forward to more specifics regarding the affordable housing on the site.

Hope Melton 4 days ago

This is Joel Zaslofsky and I've lived at 7124 Heatherton Trail (a few blocks away from the proposed development) for a decade. Kelly Veit said it well when she wrote that the Greater Southdale District Design Experience Guidelines call for developments that are uniquely Edina, add to the human experience, include green space, and offer real physical transitions from larger developments into the surrounding neighborhoods … which this proposal does none of.For example, the Greater Southdale District Design Experience Guidelines say a main consideration for development is "sunlight in public spaces." A 24-story building actually creates less sunlight in the public spaces around the development and will create shadows long into the morning for my Lake Cornelia neighbors.Beyond the major disconnect between the guidelines my fellow Edina residents worked years to create and this proposed development, I can't wrap my head about why we'd put up a 24-story building kitty corner to the spot the vast majority of us agreed was inappropriate for a 30-story Estelle tower.I have two kids who go to Cornelia Elementary and I've yet to hear a peep about the impact all these new families would have on our school system. The way I see it, giant developments like this proposed one are at odds with what we love about our Edina school system like diversity and manageable class sizes – especially at Cornelia.The major benefit so far for people in favor of the development as proposed is affordable/workforce housing. I get that, and I want affordable housing in Edina as well. But at what cost? Where are the people in favor of the traffic and pollution a giant development will bring? Where are the people in favor of the reduced walkability and bikeability we said we wanted in the latest updates to the Comp Plan? Where are the people in favor of the precedent this proposal would set to bring a downtown Minneapolis setting into thousands of people's back yards?I'm sure these people are out there and I can understand why they think the tradeoffs would be worth it. Me? I don't think any of the tradeoffs of having a massive development on 70th and France are worth it. And pretty much everyone I talk to in South Cornelia and Lake Cornelia agrees.

JoelZaslofsky 7 days ago

I'm concerned about the large number of apartment buildings that have gone up in the 6 years since my husband and I have moved here. I understand that there is a projected increase in population expected in the next 20 years, but it seems like Edina City Council is going at break-neck speed to put up apartment buildings in the Southdale area adding to congestion. Increased density may be necessary, but it seems too much too fast. Also, I'm concerned about the new 70th and France project with the large 24 story tower that seems out of place and too high for the area. Whatever gets built, I hope it will include affordable housing since rental does not help lower income people buy homes.Becky

Becky Thacher-Bell 12 days ago

I support the development of additional affordable housing in the Southdale area. It is a perfect site as it is in walking distance to everything. The proposed height does seem high for being on the edge of a neighborhood.

briggsb 15 days ago

This is a great project that will bring continue excitement and vibrancy to the area. There is much for Edina and other neighboring city residents to enjoy about this project and I feel this will help grow our community in a positive way!

EHeltne 16 days ago

This development proposal does not meet the expectations of the neighborhoods most affected by it. The looming building will cause the residents in the east part of the South Cornelia and Lake Cornelia to lose the right to privacy in their own backyards. If you doubt that, please walk along Southdale Road some afternoon or evening, and see how close the Westin appears, and it is shorter and much further away. It seems like those in favor of this project by and large will not be affected by it on a daily basis. This development does not meet the SD experience guidelines. It is THREE TIMES taller than the 8 stories that should be there. What was all of that work developing the guidelines for if they're completely ignored on a whim? The guidelines were developed for a reason. This is an egregious level of disregard for the people who live in those neighborhoods. It is disappointing and disrespectful on so many levels. I've spoken with several neighbors, both long time and newer residents, and they feel dismayed by the prospect of this height. Development is fine, with a more respectful attempt to adhere to the guidelines. This is not a reasonable expectation for development. We expect better of those who have the responsibility to do right by the residents. JoAnn Russell, Lake Cornelia

JoAnn 16 days ago

I support this project. I live in the Parkwood Knolls neighborhood and visit the Southdale area 2-3x per week. There are many reasons this would benefit Edina residents, most importantly the project replaces an antiquated building with a vibrant development that’s advantageous for our community. Additionally the developers have done multiple local projects and earned their highly respected reputation.

jason vogt 16 days ago

I fully support this project. I believe it is the exact mixed-use development the city of Edina (especially the France Avenue corridor) desperately needs. It is a great combination of housing (including desperately needed affordable housing), retail, parking and a world class office building. I fully support this project.

JConzemius 16 days ago

Edina resident, along with my husband and 1.5 year old child. My husband works two blocks from the site and has for the past 15 years. We fully support this project for several reasons, including its ability to deliver housing at an accessible price-point (something Edina very much needs), its walkability, ability to draw not only residents but more businesses to the area, its forward thinking design, greenspace & gathering spaces, all under the direction of a trustworthy development team who has a vested interest in our Edina community. Fully support the project.

LBodine 16 days ago