CDA plans fourth affordable housing project in Eagan

Demand for workforce housing continues to rise

The Dakota County Community Development Agency plans to build a 28-unit townhome complex at Highway 13 and Letendre Street in Eagan as a part of its Family Townhome Project, which is aimed at providing affordable housing for moderate-income families with children under age 18. The program has 19 complexes, two of which are in Eagan. Another is set to open in the spring of 2013.

As the recession lingers on, the Dakota County Community Development Agency continues to face growing demand for affordable housing – prompting the agency to plan a new townhome development in Eagan.

The CDA hopes to build the 28-unit Riverview Ridge Townhomes at Highway 13 and Letendre Street next year as an expansion of its Family Townhome Project, which is designed for moderate-income families with children under age 18.

“We are aiming to provide affordable housing for people with modest paying jobs,” said Kari Gill, deputy executive director of the CDA.

The CDA currently operates 19 rental townhome complexes under the program, which includes two developments in Eagan. A third is set to open in the summer of 2013.

There are 1,100 families waiting to obtain workforce housing in Eagan, Gill said.

Residents must meet income guidelines, provide good landlord and credit references and pass a criminal background check.

The 4.3-acre property considered for the project currently consists of the former Richfield Blacktop site and two undeveloped lots to the north.

The Eagan City Council unanimously agreed on Dec. 4 to submit a comprehensive guide amendment to the Metropolitan Council for review.

“For the past 13 years, I have watched what the CDA has done,” Council Member Cyndee Fields said. “I don’t think there will be any problems with what they bring forward.”

Mayor Mike Maguire said he supports the proposed plan but encouraged the CDA to consider finding accesses to nearby parks from the site.

The city’s comprehensive guide currently designates the northern lots as high density and the southern lot as medium density. If approved, all three lots would be designated as medium density.

If the comprehensive guide amendment is approved by the Met Council, it will return to the City Council for a vote.

The CDA hopes to begin construction on its latest development by spring 2013 and open the following summer.

A few residents who live near the proposed development expressed concerns about the number of homes on the site.

Ron Miller, whose home abuts the northern portion of the proposed site, expressed concerns about the growing numbers of rental properties nearby.

There are currently approximately five single-family homes to the west of the site and a multifamily development to the west of the homes.

“If this development becomes large, we will become an island,” Miller said.

Miller suggested the CDA build twinhomes instead of clusters of townhomes.

Maguire noted that the city cannot dictate the style of homes built on a site. Both twinhomes and up to 12 townhomes per two acres are permitted under the medium-density zoning, he said.

For more information on the CDA’s Family Townhome Project, visit www.dakotacda.org/townhome_program.htm.

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