I and several neighbors attended a meeting by the Prior Lake Planning Commission for the rezoning of the property at the intersection of county roads 42 and 21 — a first step to allow a proposed four-story, high-rise apartment building to be built.
We assumed that the period set aside for public input — along with previous emails and calls to the city raising questions and concerns — would be addressed before any final approval was submitted to the full City Council. We were sadly disappointed to discover that not only the Planning Commission approved the rezoning request but also the building project plan at the same time without taking into consideration any of the issues raised by affected homeowners.
These issues, which were voiced to the Planning Commission, will have serious consequences to the neighborhoods surrounding the proposed building. They include concerns about traffic flow, impacts to the local environment, access for fire and safety, etc. It will also significantly restrict or block altogether views from existing residential housing, which will negatively affect property values in those neighborhoods.
Traffic will become a more major concern as the road access proposal will undoubtedly create a more hazardous driving situation for all users of Jeffers Parkway due to only a single entry/exit access to the building complex just a very short distance from the roundabout at Fountain Hills Drive.
Existing neighborhoods will be subject to a noticeable increase in noise and lights throughout the day and night due to numerous HVAC units, a parking lot, pickleball courts, gazebo and pathway lighting.
A much better solution for this project would be to locate the building onto the vacant parcel to the east — which is consistent with the original planning for the intersection of the two county roads. That is a larger parcel, which could support more apartment units and would reduce traffic flow problems by having more options for entry/exit while not adversely affecting any of the existing residential properties as does the current proposal.
The Jeffers Foundation has done a done a fine job in creating a holistic environment to fulfill the vision of the original owner, Robert Jeffers, that his property be developed such that this beautiful, natural area be preserved for public enjoyment of nature and educational purposes. The Jeffers Foundation was established for the following purpose: "to provide for direct primary education and the development of primary education principles, models, and curricula aimed at teaching young persons the value of wise stewardship of natural resources ... and insuring the conservation and preservation of natural resources for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations." The Applewood co-op high-rise is wholly inconsistent with that vision.
Please voice your opinion to the city officials before the recommendation goes before the City Council for final approval in the near future.