UMore Park development plan open for comment

Four different scenarios outlined for the coming decades

This is a big deal … literally.

Concept plan drawings were included in the University of Minnesota’s master plan for proposed development on the 4,900-acre UMore Park property. (Graphic from the University of Minnesota)

Concept plan drawings were included in the University of Minnesota’s master plan for proposed development on the 4,900-acre UMore Park property. (Graphic from the University of Minnesota)

One of what is believed to be among the state’s largest Alternative Urban Areawide Reviews for undeveloped land is underway. The proposal will dramatically change the landscape in Rosemount for decades to come.

Rosemount area residents and agencies may provide comments until July 10 regarding the 113-page AUAR for a 4,900-acre proposed sustainable community at the UMore Park property.

The review and comment period and a public meeting Monday, June 24, were given as a chance to raise issues and have questions answered with regard to a project that could alone double Rosemount’s current population of about 22,000 over the next 30 to 40 years.

The questions raised by the dozen or so residents in attendance at the meeting were good ones and issues that have been discussed before, according to City Planner Eric Zweber.

They related to stormwater management, road improvements and environmental standards.

Zweber said the issues raised will be reviewed through the AUAR, which primarily addresses work that aims to mitigate environmental factors such as water, erosion, wastewater, traffic and soil conditions based on the development.

He said the most helpful comments through the review are related to the mitigation strategies. He expects Dakota County, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, and the Department of Natural Resources to provide specific comments on the AUAR.

The western portion of UMore Park, which is land owned by the University of Minnesota, is currently the site of a 20-year mining operation that aims to reclaim aggregate that can be used in the construction of area roads and other projects.

Once the mining operation is complete, university officials plan to market the property to developers to build the projected housing, commercial and other uses.

Outlined in the AUAR are four development scenarios, three of which are interpretations of the university’s concept master plan that was adopted by the Board of Regents on Dec. 12, 2012.

Those three scenarios range from providing housing for 25,000 to 35,000 residents and the opportunity for an 18,000 to 24,500 jobs.

The other scenario is based on Rosemount and Empire Township’s comprehensive plans. Neither plan is specific enough to examine expected residential and non-residential uses.

Zweber sees the proposal as a timely one for the city, since the expected timeline would bring new development in an orderly and connected manner.

The report details potential environmental hazards on the site, which was once the location of the Gopher Ordnance Works, a World War II-era government-owned, contractor-operated facility. The plant primarily produced smokeless gunpowder of cannon shells.

UMore Park also once was the site for three electrical transformer recycling facilities.

A number of remediation activities and studies, which are listed in the report, have been done on the site, and other mitigation strategies are detailed.

A copy of the review is available on the city of Rosemount’s website at ci.rosemount.mn.us.

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