Brooklyn Park City Council approves Cove at Northwoods Park housing development

The Brooklyn Park City Council approved a preliminary plat and rezoning of 21 acres east of Winnetka Avenue between 107th and 109th Avenues for a 55-lot single family residential subdivision called Cove at Northwoods Park at its May 22 meeting.
Both the plat and rezoning were approved in 6-0 votes, with Councilmember Susan Pha abstaining.
The plat combines four separate parcels into a 21-acre plat to create a medium-density housing development with 3.61 units per acre. The density of this development is on the low side of the medium-density designation, as anywhere between 3 and 9 units per acre meet the criteria.
Single-family, split level homes without basements will be built on smaller-than-typical lots in the development in an effort to meet density requirements. The applicant, Landmark Development, is working with home construction company D.R. Horton to construct houses that will fit on the 63-foot-wide lots.
Homes in the development will cost between approximately $315,000 and $350,000,according to Nathan Fair of Landmark Development. “They certainly are not half million dollar homes,” he said.
A Department of Natural Resources protected water basin, which city officials said has been dry for some time, will be moved and restored on the property. The DNR has reviewed and approved plans for the restoration work. Cindy Sherman, planning director, said that there is groundwater at the site, and it is expected that the pond will hold water. Two pre-treatment stormwater basins will also be constructed, and wildflowers will seeded around the basin.
When land from the basin and right-of-way are excluded from the size of the site, it totals 15.232 acres on which to build. Additional right-of-ways will be platted for both Winnetka Avenue and 109th Avenue, which forms the border between Champlin and Brooklyn Park.
Two existing homes on the site will be removed with development. All trees on the site will have to removed as well, as a large amount of dirt will need to be brought to the site for grading.
Setbacks on the lots are comparable to nearby subdivisions, with proposed setbacks at seven-and-a-half feet for both garages and living spaces. Front yards setbacks will be 25 feet in an effort to allow for more usable back yards.
Access to the subdivision will be through a looped road network that connects twice with 107th Avenue. All streets in the development will be public roadways.
Unlike the Planning Commission, council members did not express concern with the lack of an internal sidewalk in the development. They did, however, voice concerns about traffic on 107th Avenue and Winnetka Avenue.
While Hennepin County plans to make improvements on Winnetka Avenue in this area, the timetable for that construction has not yet been laid out, Sherman said.

An overhead graphic rendering of the Cove at Northwoods Park, east of Winnetka Avenue between 107th and 109th Avenues. (Submitted graphic)
An overhead graphic rendering of the Cove at Northwoods Park, east of Winnetka Avenue between 107th and 109th Avenues. (Submitted graphic)

“I’m going to be voting for this, but I did have a concern on dumping all the traffic down 107th, when there’s a lot of activities over at the park, I just wonder how that’s going to work out,” said Councilmember Terry Parks. “I know there’s been some concern by residents over there why we’re picking a stop sign instead of a stoplight, and that was a concern that I had as well,” he said.
“I also had a concern and talked to several of the residents that live back there already about all that traffic coming out from 107th out onto Winnetka,” said Councilmember Bob Mata.
“If you’ve ever tried to go north on Winnetka to the 109th stop sign during any type of rush hour, it’s already bad, and it easily backs up to 107th, so I have a great concern about that,” said Councilmember Lisa Jacobson. The developer should save as many trees as possible in the development, she added.
The county has recommended construction of a bypass lane or turn lane on Winnetka at 107th Avenue in lieu of a stoplight. For a stoplight to be installed, the intersection must meet certain criteria as determined by the county, according to Sherman.
A signal is going to be installed at Oxbow Creek Drive and Winnetka Avenue, south of the proposed development. Sherman said this signal should help create gaps in traffic on Winnetka.
The county, which must approve all plats, has asked the developer to include turn lanes and bypass lanes in the project.
“To be frank, right now that’s going to kill the project, if the developer has to put in turn lanes and a bypass lane on Winnetka, the project will just be dead,” Fair said. The county recently asked for these lanes, but the project has already been two years in the making, he said.
Turn and bypass lanes are not included in the current proposal.
“That plays a big part in my decision because I know that the residents there have a concern about turn [lanes] and bypass [lanes],” Pha said.
Councilmember Mark Mata said he would prefer to see no stoplights installed on Winnetka and have roundabouts installed when Winnetka is upgraded. He said the county should bear the cost of installing turn lanes on Winnetka.
Parks also said the city should consider netting at the baseball fields at Northwoods Park to prevent home runs from hitting houses. Mark Mata said additional trees should be planted to block potential home runs.
Mayor Jeff Lunde asked if it was possible to vary setbacks slightly to ensure that there isn’t a straight sight line down streets.
Fair said with the size of the site, that would not necessarily be practical, but boulevard trees will be included to break up site lines.
“With or without this development, we have a problem with traffic at 109th,” Lunde said.

Contact Kevin Miller at [email protected]