Housing sector’s rebound in Farmington

Two residential developments totaling 278 units earn approval

The Farmington City Council granted preliminary plat and planned unit development amendment approvals for Fairhill Estates at North Creek — a development southwest of Highway 3 and 190th Street that had previously stalled because of low demand for new housing.
Graphic from the city of Farmington

Indicators that the housing sector is rebounding in the south metro were on display during the Farmington City Council’s meeting on Aug. 21.

Two residential housing developments earned approvals that would bring a combined 278 units over several years to the city, which had a 2010 Census tally of 7,412 residential units.

The new units in these two proposals would tick up that total by about 3.7 percent.

The preliminary plat and planned unit development amendment approvals were granted for Fairhill Estates at North Creek — a development southwest of Highway 3 and 190th Street that had previously stalled because of low demand for new housing — while Regetta Fields received the go ahead for preliminary and final plats along with its planned unit development.

Fairhill Estates had its 1,000-acre PUD and Alternative Urban Areawide Review approved prior to the real estate recession of 2008 as its been almost 10 years since the original document was approved.

Out of that has grown a plan that would be the first of its kind in Farmington using an alternative storm water management system that focuses on reuse of the water on site and gravel road shoulders and parking areas to reduce the amount of hard surface water runoff.

Regetta Fields received the go ahead for preliminary and final plats along with its planned unit development. It is located generally northeast of the intersection of Flagstaff Avenue and County Road 50.
Graphic from the city of Farmington

There was a lengthy discussion during the meeting about language related to expectations of the stormwater system, which consists of riser pipes that will be maintained by the homeowners association members.

In the end, staff and the development team committed to working on objective criteria to determine operational standards of the system, which will be incorporated into the final PUD.

“We are very confident that we have a great design for the project,” said John Shardlow, senior principal and projection manager with Stantec.

He said he appreciated the willingness of city staff members and council member to go on this journey with them to create a development that aims to have less of an impact on the environment.

“We definitely want to make this a successful project,” said Council Member Robyn Craig. “We definitely want you here.”

Minnetonka-based True Gravity Ventures has altered the North Creek proposal to include lots that range in size from 4,720 to 9,300 square feet.

The portion of the total development that was approved Aug. 25 includes 217 units and 86.6 acres that are able to be developed for a net density of 2.51 units per acre.

One of the unusual features of the development is the incorporation of an open space that is designated for agricultural use by a third party.

The developer also aims to reuse stormwater from the site on the agricultural land.

Another feature that will be used on a trial basis are gravel road shoulders and some parking lanes.

The goal was to give the development a rural feel. The use of the gravel areas will be monitored and maintained by the homeowners association.

The site is abutted by a current housing development to the south that is located in Empire Township.

The Fairhill Estates at North Creek had its preliminary plat approved unanimously at the Aug. 8 Planning Commission meeting.

The Planning Commission and City Council will consider approval of a final plat at a later date.

Regetta Fields

A proposed 61-unit residential development generally northwest of the intersection of County Road 50 and Flagstaff Avenue had its preliminary plat along with a final plat for a portion of the site approved Aug. 21 during the City Council’s regular meeting.

The impact of more traffic on Flagstaff Avenue was the most talked about concern during the approval process, which included a neighborhood meeting and a public hearing at a Planning Commission meeting.

The commission approved the development plans unanimously Aug. 8. The council also unanimously OK’d the plans.

Residents asked if the additional homes would merit additional traffic control at Flagstaff and County Road 50, but staff reported that vehicle volumes were studied by Dakota County in 2014 and the numbers did not warrant signals at this intersection.

Staff said that although the traffic volumes met warrants on County Road 50, they were low on Flagstaff Avenue.

Backups of traffic related to Farmington High School, which is located to the north, were noted but for very limited times, staff said.

Dakota County reported it will complete an updated warrant analysis as development continues, according to staff.

The development will have two connections to Flagstaff Avenue, with one of them including a southbound turn lane from Flagstaff. The turn lane aims to mitigate concerns about traffic flow into the development especially during release times at Farmington High School.

Tim Giles of Giles Properties Inc. of Elko New Market is developing the 24 acres, which is owned by Farmington resident Richard Sayers and was re-zoned for residential uses in June.

The first phase consists of 32 single-family residential lots, which will be each at least 60 feet wide and 6,000 square feet in size. Park and trail development will also be part of phase one.

Though the R-2 zone requires a minimum density of 3.5 units per acre, the site had the requirement waived through the PUD. It will have 3.13 units per acre.

Northeast of Regetta Fields is a cluster of single-family houses on larger lots.

The rest of the property adjoins agricultural uses and a industrial park to the east.

Contact Tad Johnson at [email protected] or at twitter.com/editorTJ.