A heavily-wooded property in Savage that’s been surrounded by residential developments over the past decade is now set to join the neighborhood with a luxury townhome development of it’s own.
This month, the Savage Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the project to the Savage City Council. The council’s vote is set for July 19.
The development, to be called Eagleview Villas, is proposed for a 10-acre property at 146th Terrace and Virginia Avenue.
The property is nestled south of Target, or directly across Highway 13 from the Your Boat Club dock in Prior Lake.
Bryan Tucker, the city’s planning manager, said there’s been roughly 8-10 proposals drawn up for the site over the past 20 years, but the property’s wetlands and high water table have prevented the development of traditional single-family homes.
Under the current proposal, the landowner’s existing home would be retained and 17 slab-on-grade detached townhomes would be constructed.
Mark Sonstegard, the vice president of operations with JMH Land Development, said the homes will be built by Custom One Homes and range in price from roughly $500,000-$700,000 depending on each buyer’s selections.
The project will require extensive grading due to adjoining road elevations, according to planning documents. Tree loss will also be substantial with around 250 significant trees expected to be removed for construction.
During a public hearing this month, residents of 146th Terrace and Sumter Avenue asked city officials to pursue a formal environmental review prior to the project’s approval.
There’s three substantial wetlands on or near the property; one in the northeast corner of the site, one to the west along Highway 13 and another immediately south of the property.
The homes will be built to meet the wetland buffer and setback requirements, according to the proposal, but two additional, lower-quality wetlands on the property will be filled for construction.
The project’s scope doesn’t warrant review from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Tucker said, but city officials can pursue environmental review at their own discretion.
However, common-place impacts such as habitat loss and wildlife displacement aren’t factors that typically trigger an environmental review, he said.
During the public hearing, property owner Michael Cowan said he’s witnessed many changes to the once-rural area since moving to his property in the late 1990s.
The construction of Target in the early 2000s accelerated development; there are single family homes to Cowan’s east and higher-density housing developments to his north.
“I fully understand and appreciate the concerns about the wildlife and the trees because I’ve spent the past 22 years enjoying them,” Cowan said. “But I understand that land does get developed and the land all around me has been developed, which, you know, there’s not much that I was able to do about.”
The project will require a land zoning reclassification from low-density residential to planned residential district. The new development will be accessed from 146th Terrace, which currently dead-ends.
A new dead-end street will be added to the townhome development for future access opportunities to a small, undeveloped piece of privately-owned land to the south.
However, Tucker said the owner of the rectangle-shaped property is not currently interested in developing.