Maple Grove talks affordable senior housing concept | Government

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At its Dec. 20 meeting, the Maple Grove City Council discussed a concept plan for an affordable senior housing apartment building.

The council also approved the dissolution of the Citizen Advisory Committee, while recognizing several long-serving committee members.

Planning Manager Peter Vickerman presented the council with a concept plan amendment for the proposed Tricare Senior Housing project. The project would include a four-story, 152-unit affordable apartment building for people ages 55 and older. The proposed rents would be at 60% of the area’s median income.

It would be located north of County Road 30 and west of Garland Lane. To the south of the site are AutoZone and BioLife. There is a wetland to the west of the site.

This development is part of a site that was originally proposed to have two office buildings totaling 48,000-square-feet. As part of this concept, the site would have the apartment building and the northern portion would have an office building.

The applicant is looking to have a community room, private dining/party room, guest room, package room, library, activity room, sunroom, fitness center and dog park.

“They have shown us some example elevations,” Vickerman said. “That is not part of the concept plan.”

He shared the proposal states the building would have a mix of brick, stone, panels and lap siding.

City staff and the planning recommended approval of the project. “Some of the things we were looking at were it was an affordable senior [housing] project that was identified in a housing study as a great need in the city,” Vickerman said. “This would help meet some of that demand.”

Councilor Karen Jaeger said she felt the proposal was a good fit for the area. “There is a lot of shopping areas right there,” she added.

Councilors Phil Leith and Judy Hanson questioned whether a tot lot/playground could be included in the project’s proposal. “With grandparents, it’s just kind of a nice activity if they have grandchildren to take them out,” Hanson said.

Applicant Ryan Schwickert, with MWF Properties, said that was something they would look into and there was enough green space in the area. He added there would be a picnic area, grilling station and gazebo in the green space.

Councilor Kristy Barnett said she felt the location wasn’t ideal and questioned what the traffic would be like in the area. “I don’t think it’s very well suited for housing,” she said.

Schwickert said the site’s concept originally showed two office building usage, and office traffic typically creates three times as much traffic as a residential apartment development.

Barnett asked if the building would always be an affordable housing unit. Schwickert said after they apply for bonds, and if they are granted those bonds, the state’s agreement would make the building affordable for at least 30 years. “If we don’t get this as an affordable deal, we don’t intend to close on the land,” he added.

The council ended up approving the concept plan amendment for the Tricare Senior Housing project.

CITIZENS ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Also during the meeting, the council approved the dissolution of the Citizens Advisory Committee.

The committee first began in the city in 1975 as the Citizens Long Range Improvement Committee. It was renamed the CAC in 2004.

Barnett, the liaison to the committee, said, “This committee was very important and has played a huge role in the Maple Grove community.”

The committee’s mission was to support the decision-making process of the City Council, staff, and citizens by providing additional perspectives through recommendations on a wide range of community interests. The input and accomplishments of over 100 residents serving on CLIC and CAC through the years are noteworthy, according to Barnett.

“However, the City Council has desires to transition to a per-project task force or committee structure on an as-needed basis,” she said. “The City Council feels that this approach will be the best use of residents’ and staff’s time and resources to address key projects as they arise.”

The committee members will be encouraged to consider future task forces or committee opportunities.

The council also recognized many of the long-time committee members and current members.

Transit Administrator Mike Opatz said, “There has been a lot of great community involvement with [the committee].

“In appreciation for their distinguished and dedicated service to the city of Maple Grove’s Citizens Advisory Committee, the following CAC members will receive a city of Maple Grove public service award for providing more than 10 years of public service,” he said. Those members include Lorraine Gresser with 47 years of service, Leslie Bender with 27 years, Robert Joiner with 24 years, Don Skoglund with 19 years, Steven Maas with 16 years, and Harry Kennedy with 14 years.

“A special recognition should be noted for Lorraine Gresser,” Opatz said. “Her 47 years are simply impressive.”

Committee members who served under 10 years of service will receive a city public service pen set. Those members include Ted Lyons, Lee Newman, Karen Nikolauson and Stephanie Walvatne.

In other matters, the council:

ADOPTED the 2022 general fund budget and tax levy.

ACCEPTED donations of $2,200 to the police department’s DARE program fund in memory of Scott Madsen. He is the son of the former city administrator, Al Madsen.

ACCEPTED a $9,700 donation from the Northwest Area Jaycees in the form of two AEDs (one for Fernbrook Field and one for Weaver Lake Beach), rapid intervention team bags for the fire department, and a police drone/robot.

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