Last night, the Chanhassen City Planning Commission met to review Lennar’s preliminary concepts for the 188-acre parcel which is being sold by Prince’s estate. It was a standing-room-only event at Chanhassen’s City Hall.
When asked if Lennar currently owns the land, Joe Jablonski, Lennar’s director of land, said Lennar has a contract to purchase the property.
Prince’s land is the former site of his Galpin Boulevard house (as well as the former site of Larry Graham’s home). The property includes wetlands, pristine forest and extensive shoreline along both Lake Ann and Lake Lucy, two of Chanhassen’s nine lakes. Lake Lucy is populated by private residences, but Lake Ann is home to a popular public park, beach, tennis courts and baseball and soccer fields and is treasured by Chanhassen residents.
The above map shows the proposed expansion of Lake Ann Park (in green, with the red laser pointer indicating the completion of the walking trail). The proposed preserved woodlands and wetlands are shaded in light blue, to the left of the walking trails. The remainder of Prince’s land is in white, to the left of the preservation area.
Lennar presented two concepts for public comment. The first concept showed homes built on all of the available property, including the Lake Ann shoreline across from the public park. The second plan set aside land along Lake Ann for public use. It provided for the completion of the walking path around Lake Ann (there is an existing path that ends partway around the lake), the creation of additional trails, and preservation of some of the property’s wetlands and wooded areas. Both plans seemed to show 200 homes in the development.
The tradeoff for the preservation of the land in the second plan is a more densely populated neighborhood on the south end of the property, with lots of 6,000 square feet, which is significantly smaller than the average Chanhassen lot size of 15,000 square feet. (On the north end of Prince’s property, where the homes would be larger and close to Lake Lucy’s shoreline, the lot sizes would be 15,000 square feet).
For more than an hour, residents took the podium to share their concerns. Residents along the East and North sides of Lake Lucy voiced concerns over runoff caused by previous developers who used clear-cutting on forests, and which has harmed the quality of the lake. There was also concern over proposed traffic patterns. Residents along the South side of the proposed development voiced concerns about water issues that might be caused by the elimination of some of the existing wetlands. In all, there was a great deal of discussion about preserving Chanhassen’s natural resources which was entered into the public record.
Chanhassen, like many Western suburbs of Minneapolis, is experiencing continued development. When Prince purchased property here in the mid-80s, Chanhassen was a small town with a rural feel. Last night, city officials said that Chanhassen will be fully developed by 2040.
The meeting was only the beginning of a long process of discussing the development. The discussion will continue on Aug. 13 at the next meeting of the City Council.