St. Paul Seeks Public Feedback on Hillcrest Redevelopment Draft Environmental Review

The old Hillcrest Golf Course’s prospective development consequences will be presented to the community of St. Paul for comment.

The St. Paul Port Authority bought the 112 acre site for redevelopment three years ago. It is located off Larpenteur Avenue and McKnight Road. The Heights is the name of the subdivision.

Environmental assessments are necessary for planned developments that are over a particular scale in Minnesota. An 87-page draft “alternative urban areawide study,” or AUAR, that the city released examines possible effects of real estate development on wetlands, stormwater, air, noise, transportation, and other areas.

There will be a 30-day feedback period from July 5 through August 4 and an open house on the proposal from 6 to 8 p.m. on July 5. on July 18 at the St. Paul location of Hazel Park Preparatory Academy, 1140 White Bear Avenue. At 6:30 p.m., a staff presentation will start. You may find the draft plan and an online feedback form at stpaul.gov/hillcrest.

The old golf course will be extensively transformed into housing and light industry, including the production of medical devices and other factory/office employment, after the St. Paul City Council gave the Hillcrest master plan its approval on June 1.

The AUAR presents three potential growth paths. According to Crystal King, a representative for St. Paul Planning and Economic Development, “The AUAR is meant to be kind of the bookends, on the low end and high end of prospective real estate development.”

A comprehensive plan scenario calculates the possible effects of 960 multi-family dwelling units and 708,000 square feet of light industrial workspace at the low end.

Speaking on behalf of the St. Paul Port Authority, Andrea Novak remarked, “That’s kind of the lightest end of the bookend.”

The most extensive master plan scenario contemplates up to 840,000 square feet of light industrial space in addition to the 960 dwelling units, which would need further revisions for longer block lengths.

The “Master Plan Max Intensity” scenario calculates the effects of 2,615 multi-family dwelling units and 1 million square feet of light industrial space. The maximum development scenario, according to Novak, is mostly used for comparison; but, if revisions to the master plan fall within those parameters, they might be implemented in the future without requiring a new AUAR.

In the T-3 density zoning region, “we don’t foresee going greater than five or six floors from a market sense,” Novak said. In the next weeks, we will release marketing materials that will be based on the master strategy.

The St. Paul Port Authority will serve as the master developer for the parcels designated for light industry, while one will be sought for the residential development.

The city does not believe that a few ground-level businesses will have a greater environmental impact than the homes nearby, despite the fact that the existing zoning would permit some additional commercial development on the ground floor of the residential buildings: “The commercial component of the mixed use in this area is small with no discernable impact as compared to the underlying residential use.”

Every development plan contains public amenities including streets, footpaths, storm water management systems, and open space.

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