Comprehensive plan raises questions

In spite of a lot of good coverage of Lake Elmo’s comprehensive planning process I still receive a lot of questions. Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions that I hear about our settlement with the Metropolitan Council.

Who must connect to metro sewer?

Our agreement with the Met Council requires that all new construction south of 10th Street be connected to metro sewer. Over the next 25 years, approximately 3,500 units of new, single-family housing will be built south of 10th Street. Lake Elmo has also agreed to build approximately 600 units of new housing north of the Lake Elmo downtown. All of these units will be on metro sewer. Other residences in the village will have the option to connect to metro sewer when they wish. The village area and Cimarron must be connected to metro sewer by 2030.

When does all of this happen?

Development that requires connection to metro sewer will be scheduled in approximately uniform amounts over the next 25 years starting with the village in 2008. Development that is not planned to receive metro sewer will occur without an imposed schedule as it has in the past.

Will the Tri-Lakes area be connected to metro sewer?

No, the village area is the only place north of 10th Street scheduled to be connected to metro sewer in the next 25 years.

Who must connect to the municipal water system?

The water system has two objectives: first, to make quality water available to all residents and, second, to minimize risk of polluting groundwater by drilling a large number of wells. Lake Elmo is planning to build two systems to provide water to our residents. The system north of the Lake Elmo Regional Park Reserve is under construction. Most new construction will be required to connect. Existing residents will be offered the opportunity to connect. No existing residents will be required to connect. The water system south of the Lake Elmo Regional Park Reserve is scheduled for 2012.

Where and when will the public works building and elevated water tank be built?

Construction of a new public works building and water tower will begin on an 8-acre site north of Highway 5 at County Rd.13 that was donated to Lake Elmo by the 3M Company. Construction should be complete within a year. Water for this tank will come from an existing well in the northeast corner of Lake Elmo.

What is RAD2?

RAD2 is a new planning classification for cluster development. It is unsewered residential development that contains two residences per acre. Approximately 160 acres near County Rd. 13 and on both sides of Highway 5 are being planned for RAD2. Approximately 20 acres north of 10th Street at Manning Avenue are also planned for RAD2 development.

Wasn’t the dispute with the Met Council resolved in January 2005?

Lake Elmo and the Met Council signed a document called the “memorandum of understanding” (MOU) in January. The original agreement gave Lake Elmo a lot of flexibility on how we are to plan our growth for the next 25 years. Unfortunately, comments from one council member and some Planning Commission members about “agree to do anything, then do nothing” has caused the Met Council to doubt our commitment to the broadly defined MOU. Twice the Met Council has insisted on additional detail in our plan in response to the harsh rhetoric. Our original agreement, the MOU, gave us an unprecedented amount of freedom to plan our future. The changes made from the “clarification” meeting are consistent with the original agreement. Changes recently proposed by the Met Council as conditions for approving our request for a schedule extension are still being negotiated (as of July 21, 2005).

Will there be places to work in Lake Elmo?

A high technology employment corridor is being planned for 14,000 jobs on 320 acres between Lake Elmo Avenue and Manning Avenue along Interstate 94. This is approximately the same area and density as the 3M Center. This development could take place anytime between 2008 and 2030. Metro sewer and municipal water will not be provided to the site until a suitable occupant requests the services.

What will happen to our taxes?

The required growth is being spread out uniformly over the next 25 years to prevent an impact on our tax rate. Construction of water and sewer utilities are being planned to be self- supporting with no impact on taxes.

What happens to Lake Elmo’s “rural character”?

The MOU has been widely described as the best possible agreement possible under the circumstances. In 25 years Lake Elmo will have approximately one person per acre north of Lake Elmo Regional Park Reserve and approximately six people per acre south of the park. Over 20 percent of our land will be in parks. Significant additional amounts of open space will be protected in land trusts. Our rural character will undoubtedly change but Lake Elmo will remain a very desirable place to live.

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