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Hermantown City Council Votes Against Controversial Multi-Story Project

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: January 22, 2020 09:23 AM

The Hermantown City Council denied a proposed 137-unit development Tuesday evening. 

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The council voted 3-2 against the project. The room was packed with residents who attended the council meeting to express their concerns. 

JP Holding Company LLC and Oppidan Investment Company were interested in building the living facility in Hermantown.

The structure was proposed to be on a 10-acre plus land at 5097 Maple Grove Road, right across City Hall. It was on the intersection of Maple Grove Road and Lavaque Road.

The development known as the Arbours at Maple Grove, would have been a four story building, with 103 senior living units. Featuring memory care services, along with several four-plexes and 18 single-family homes with projected sales starting at $330,000.

It would have been the highest density project in terms of units per acre in the City of Hermantown.

The project was estimated to cost more than $20 million to develop. It was going to be privately financed, with no public assistance included. A spokesperson for the City of Hermantown said it would have generated tax revenue of nearly $400,000 annually for the City of Hermantown, the Hermantown Community Schools, and St. Louis County.

The resolution approving the Final Planned Unit Development (PUD) and Preliminary and Final Plat was originally tabled on Dec. 16 due to questions and concerns on the development.

It was tabled a second time, on Jan. 6 due to the holiday season and also to offer more time for the applicant, James Patrick Development LLC, to respond to concerns from residents.

Many Hermantown residents said they were against the development, expressing concerns on traffic and density in the area, saying this level of density has never been approved in the past.

They also expressed concern with the structure of the intersection, since Lavaque Road has no sidewalks, speed limits, or stoplights.

"I cry every night thinking about it," said Mary Butorac, a concerned resident who lives across the proposed development.

Butorac said the building isn't adequate for the area and doesn't want the view of the development in front of her house.

"I see this outside my window, its a monstrosity. It looks commercially. I worked hard to have the house I have," said Butorac.

The project developers provided a presentation with more details on the project, trying to answer the public's concerns, but it wasn't enough.

"The density of this project is a third denser than anything that's been done in Hermantown. We feel it has gone way overboard," said Michael Koppy, a concerned resident.

When Koppy asked everyone in the room if they opposed the project, they all raised their hands.

"It doesn't fit, there's other places where it could be but this is not the place," said Koppy.

Only one person spoke for the project, saying it would bring great opportunities to the city.

The developer will now have to come back with another different project idea.

Credits

Alejandra Palacios

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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