It was mostly business as usual at Eden Prairie’s March 17 City Council meeting, albeit with a few asides from Mayor Ron Case and Council members about the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic which drastically altered daily life in the week prior.
The Council unanimously approved two resolutions for Planned Unit Developments and zoning changes, one for a residential development and one for an industrial warehouse.
The residential development is called Eagle Ridge and sits on two parcels of land at 15807 and 15817 Valley View Road. Developer JMS Custom Homes will build 10 single-family homes on a cul-de-sac there, said Ryan Murphy, a representative of JMS Custom Homes, in a presentation to the Council.
The target buyers are young professionals, empty nesters, small families and single parents, and the price range is between $600,000 -$700,000, Murphy said. The homes will be designed with environmental protection in mind, including insulated windows, energy-efficient appliances and a lighting system that involves fixtures on individual homes rather than street lamps, designed to limit light pollution, he added.
“We think that the coverage from the houses will give the neighborhood soft lighting − uniform and soft − ambient and calm lighting,” Murphy explained. It would also mean lower maintenance costs for the city, he said.
The industrial development is a 130,000 square foot, single-story building on just over 10 acres near Valley View Road and Golden Triangle Drive. It’s a speculative project, with no tenants signed up yet, said Kit Bennett, a developer with the Opus Group, but the developer anticipates that three to five businesses will eventually move into the building, which will be 80% warehouse space and 20% offices.
Council member P.G. Narayanan commended the Opus Group for designing the proposal with electric vehicle charging stations built in. It was the first time the topic had been discussed without a council member bringing it up, he said.
“It’s really nice to see that change,” Narayanan said.
The coronavirus crisis made several small appearances throughout the meeting. As Eden Prairie Fire Chief Scott Gerber accepted an over-sized check from the Lion’s Club, Case noted that “the check is forcing you to be appropriately socially distant from each other.”
The tone was more serious when the Council voted to extend the local emergency that Case declared on March 16. Such a declaration expires after three days and the Council must approve it to extend it further, Case explained. The four members present unanimously voted to extend the emergency. Council member Kathy Nelson was absent.
“We’re going to have to hunker down and do this for at least the next 15 days,” Case said. “I can’t emphasize enough the gravity of the situation.”
City Center, at 8080 Mitchell Road, closed to the public on March 18, but city staff continue to work and run the city, Case said. There are signs posted on City Center’s doors with phone numbers residents can call for assistance. The March 17 Council meeting was the last in-person meeting of March, and there may be no in-person meetings in April either, Case said.
“It is an unusual and unique time that we’ve not experienced in the past. It’s really prudent action that we take as a city,” Council member Brad Aho said before the vote.