In the coming years, the City of Minnetonka will have to tackle many complex issues. Patch asked this year’s City Council and mayoral candidates about how they’d handle some of the major issues facing the district.
Today’s question is:
- What principles are most important to you when considering whether a new development is appropriate for Minnetonka?
I think the three most important principles are:
- Consistency of the proposed new development with the Comprehensive Plan.
- The level of compliance with zoning and subdivision ordinances in force at the time the new development is requested.
- To make sure the review and approval process of all new development is open, fair and transparent.
Minnetonka is a fully mature city; it will need continued renewal to remain relevant and vibrant. New Minnetonka developments should provide services needed by the community and ideally, most development should be anticipated by the Comprehensive Plan. Development is stressful: its construction is noisy and it often makes traffic flow inconvenient. Residents voice their concerns in the planning process of each development; listening to their ideas can improve outcomes and reduce points of conflict. I will require significant deviations from established zoning to have a documented benefit, such as lessening the loss of natural resources or improving the affected neighborhood.
At Large Seat A
As stated above [in an answer to another question], the values of open space and our natural environment guide me whenever a new development is proposed.
Minimum disruption to the parks, neighborhoods and social well being of the community. Architectural harmony, environmental consciousness in construction and enhancement of neighborhood lifestyle are important considerations. What does this development do for the City? Is it needed housing, shops, services? Are residents in the surrounding area given an opportunity to opine on the development and make suggestions for improvement or change?
At Large Seat B
Minnetonka is a mature community, with only a few undeveloped areas remaining in the city. The majority of new development and redevelopment that occurs is governed by the city’s existing zoning ordinances. When development is proposed that requires some exception to the current ordinances, I believe that it is important to evaluate each proposal individually and consider issues such as:
- Does the proposal align with the city’s 2030 Comprehensive Guide Plan and development goals?
- Does the proposal fit into the neighborhood’s character?
- What input and feedback do the developer, city staff, residents and other stakeholders have?
Often there are opportunities to enhance the project to meet the needs and concerns of all involved. I believe that an open process with respectful communication is important in engaging citizens & stakeholders in determining what is appropriate for Minnetonka.
As I communicated yesterday in the Minnetonka Patch, I am running for the Minnetonka Council seat because I believe our city lacks a cohesive vision and a common sense approach for developing our community for the 21st century. My response to yesterday’s question addressed the lack of a cohesive vision. Today’s question addresses the lack of a common sense approach to community development.
As I talk to Minnetonka residents, I’ve heard how the City has denied, for no discernible reason, developments and home remodeling projects that have adhered to code. Why? In addition, I’ve listened and learned how commercial developments are forced to add low income, affordable housing components to a plan that did not call for it.
I’ve also listened to how projects that follow code are forced to make changes to the project design, which significantly increases cost. At times these force changes have resulted in projects being abandoned. This is wrong and I will work to change this.
As a City Council member, I will ask myself the following questions when considering whether to approve a commercial development or home remodel:
- Does it follow code?
- Does it maintain Minnetonka’s character and fit the location?
- Does the project make (common) sense?
- Is it economically viable and serves the citizens of Minnetonka and the broader community?