HUGO — Quite a few neighbors showed up to the recent Planning Commission meeting to express their concerns and ask questions about a proposed development, Oneka Lake Reserve.
Oneka Lake Reserve LLC is proposing to build 40 townhome units on 6.7 acres owned by developer Norman Dupre and located north of 150th Street, across from Generation Avenue North. The units will be a mixture of two- and three-unit buildings. The developer is proposing a 0.45-acre public park and to construct internal sidewalks as well as an external sidewalk on 150th Street directly in front of the development.
Dupre said he likely won’t be able to provide an estimate for how much each unit will sell for until the project is halfway through the building process due to both labor and material shortages and increasing prices. He said his best guess was low-to-mid-$300,000s.
Community Development Director Rachel Juba explained the property was previously approved for a townhome development known as Oneka Lake Townhomes in 2007, but the project was not constructed due to the recession that began in 2008. She said the property has changed hands a few times and is currently privately owned by the developer.
Commissioner David Fry wanted to know how many units were proposed back in 2007. Juba said only 30 units were proposed in those plans due to wetlands on the site, but over the years, a technical evaluation panel determined that there weren’t any wetlands on site, and thus more room to build.
The project is proposed to be developed in two phases. The first phase will be the eastern portion of the development and the public park, and the second phase will include the west side of the park. The site is proposed to be graded all at the same time. All of the common space, including the private drive, will be owned and maintained by a homeowner’s association.
Juba said the proposed landscaping plan exceeds the city’s requirements, with 56 overstory deciduous trees, 55 coniferous trees, 80 ornamental trees and 699 shrubs. Oneka Reserve LLC is proposing to use the ponds in the central area of the development for stormwater management. Water reuse has been evaluated for the pond internal to the site; however, the larger basin to the north has a much larger volume and will be required to be evaluated for suitability as the source for stormwater reuse, Juba explained. Detailed plans for the stormwater reuse system will eventually need to be approved by staff.
During the public hearing, several residents expressed concerns including disturbance to wildlife, increased traffic and the safety of children.
Sandy Beck was concerned that her property would need to be accessed in order for the pond expansion. “Make sure when they expand the pond, they don’t come on my property,” she said. “We have wildlife that comes through there and that’s going to be ruined, as far as I’m concerned.”
Juba explained the city of Hugo has a drainage and utility easement across the pond that would allow the developer access.
Karen Bergmeier shared her thoughts. “There are already problems on 150th Street and Generation Avenue. There is a massive amount of kids, and you have to be very careful — and now you are going to add 40 more families and cars going in and out,” she said.
Phillip Schaetzel echoed that concern. “I can’t believe you are going to put 40 units in that spot. Kids run in and out of cars and you really have to drive slow through there, and some people won’t do that,” he said. “What’s probably going to happen is someone is going to run over a kid.”
One resident wanted to know about the building timeline. Dupre said in a normal year it would probably take a year per phase, but he couldn’t promise that timeline due to the unique circumstances that have come out of the pandemic.
Another resident wanted to know about parking. Juba explained the HOA will require that the two-car garages be used for vehicles only. In addition to the ability to park two to three cars in the driveway, parallel parking is also proposed along the private drive for guests.
The Planning Commission unanimously recommended the City Council approve both the preliminary plat and the planned unit development May 13. The commission requested that the developer consider adding a crosswalk and/or flashing sign to allow kids to safely cross the street to get to the public park. Juba said the City Council will consider the items at its June 7 meeting.
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