EDA sees three public hearings for business park, no speakers from public

Posted 2/16/22

Meeting February 8 at 7:30 a.m. in the St. Croix Room at City Hall, the Cottage Grove Economic Development Authority (EDA) held a total of three public hearings for developments in the city’s …

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EDA sees three public hearings for business park, no speakers from public


Meeting February 8 at 7:30 a.m. in the St. Croix Room at City Hall, the Cottage Grove Economic Development Authority (EDA) held a total of three public hearings for developments in the city’s business park located south of Highway 61. Two were fore industrial parcels, another for a raw water line easement . Had local residents shown up per newspaper notice contained in the regional press, the City would have been legally bound to see that a ‘raw water line’ carrying groundwater from city well 10 past 22 residential lots to a future treatment plant for PFAS, was ‘encumbered.”

The aim of the now passed water line easement, meanwhile, would be to see that groundwater affected by 3M’s release of PFAS into the water table will be treated before it entered area homes.

Nobody showed up to speak on the matter at the Tuesday morning Cottage Grove Economic Development Authority (EDA) meeting of February 8, with the result that the easement passed, and city residents of the affected area near Heath Avenue South can expect to see the raw water line constructed across the tree line during this upcoming construction season. That said, there were other public hearings to go through prior to the raw water line.

The first was for two vacant parcels to be purchased by Syndica LLP at 97th Street South and Hemingway Avenue. With a public hearing noticed pursuant to state statute in the Pioneer Press, the sale would see 22.4 acres of land owned by WAG Farms and 3 acres owned by the EDA to become the site of an I-2 development, pursuant to zoning code.

“As part of this, it is zoned I-2, and Syndica has indicated their development proposal is consistent with I-2 zoning,” Levitt told the EDA members.

With no members of the public coming forward to speak when given the chance to do so, the eleven-second public hearing from gavel to gavel by president Bailey was closed, the three necessary items then receiving motions from the EDA.

EDA member Knop motioned and was then seconded by EDA member Myers to approve a resolution authorizing the purchase of property from WAG by the EDA and its sale to Syndica LLP, passing unanimously.

For the second motion to authorize EDA president Bailey and Levitt to make the purchase agreement with WAG for the 22.4 acres in question, motion was made by EDA member Krohn and seconded by EDA vice president Dennis to approve the authorization for Bailey and Levitt to make the agreement with The third motion to authorize the purchase agreement between the EDA and Syndica LLP for the total 25.4 acre site “subject to minor amendments by the city attorney” was made by EDA vice president Dennis and seconded by EDA member Myers.

With that it was into public hearing number two, a land purchase and sale involving Ryan Companies at 100th and Jamaica.

“The specific parcels that we’re looking at today is the 13 acres thats’ shown in yellow,” Levitt said of the details pertaining to hearing two, saying that as part of the project a small sliver that had been part of the Glendenning Road would be included in a preliminary plat, following the land purchase and sale and purchase agreement between the EDA and Ryan Companies, a letter of intent approved at the January 11, 2022 EDA meeting.

“At this point we know that the end user is about a 50,000 square foot end user,” Levitt said, adding, “that would be compliant with the I-1 zoning.

The full identity of the end user of the site to be purchased by Ryan Companies just off Jamaica Avenue South was noted in previous meeting materials as shielded by a non-disclosure agreement between Ryan Companies and the ultimate end user, but with a note that the end user might find proximity to nearby Airgas beneficial.

“Ryan Companies is the one that’s going to be executing this on behalf of their end user,” Levitt shared from February 8, noting the EDA approval of a letter of intent January 11. “They’re moving very aggressively to get this business in the ground as quickly as possible,” the city administrator said of Ryan Companies. Then noting the need for a public hearing due to land purchase by the EDA from WAG, Levitt “We are requesting that you hold the public hearing,” Levitt said. “We did publish according to state statute and provided all legal notifications.”

With EDA president Bailey asking if anyone had questions for staff before opening the nine-second hearing from gavel to gavel, the necessary motions and second were applied to put through the 13-acre sale of land off Jamaica Avenue South, being supplied as follows to three separate resolutions that mirrored in content those used for Syndica LLP, the company name changed.

• Resolution one motioned by EDA member Knop and seconded by EDA vice president Dennis

• Resolution two motioned by EDA member Myers and seconded by EDA member Krohn

• Resolution three motioned by EDA member Krohn and seconded by EDA member Knop With hearing two out of the way, it was into public hearing three, for an EDA easement to the City “Well mayor and members of the EDA, you’re probably asking yourself, what does water have to do with the EDA?” Levitt said, then giving explanation. “Well, it’s kind of interesting. As we’ve gone through the 3M settlement with our community we’ve been allocated nearly 90 million dollars for improvements related to water treatment.”

Related to this, the city had bought a piece of land at 110th and Ideal Avenue for a future-planned water treatment plant. “As part of that, we actually need to connect well 10,” she said, indicating a place off 95th Street South. “And what we need to do is connect it with what is called a raw water line.” With untreated water pumped from the ground and connected by water line to the future treatment plant before treated water was dispersed to residents, “the thing that we need to do is to actually construct a raw water line to make that connection,” Levitt told the EDA of ground in between well 10 and the treatment plant.

As such, the city had planned the coming raw water line “strategically within the 100-foot setback from the residential area” with homes along the east side of Heath Avenue South across a tree barrier line.

“Now in essence, those businesses have to abide by that setback,” Levitt said, “so there’s actually no impact to that parcel for future development,” she said of the parcel to be owned by Syndica LLP. Syndica was aware of city plans to put the easement for the raw water line on the 22.4 acres as well as three acres owned by the EDA Levitt said, while the purchase agreement was approved earlier that same meeting with public hearing number one.

“Legally, we have to actually enable the public hearing to encumber the EDA—to the city— to grant that easement for that actual water line,” Levitt told members of the Economic Development Authority.

With ground due to be broken soon by Syndica, putting in the raw water line over the coming construction season in two phases would avoid having to disturb the ground later to get the job done. It also meant the city needed to acquire permanent utility and temporary construction easements along the water main alignment to run between well 10 and a future treatment plant. The easement in question was only for the 3 acres.

“But as I’ve indicated we’ve been working directly with Syndica, and it provides no issues related to the land issue, and all of this has been disclosed to them as part of the entitlement work,” Levitt said. Nonetheless, state law made public hearing requirement in 469.105, to be published at least 10 but not more than 20 days in advance.

The current public notice partner of the city is the Saint Paul Pioneer Press.

“Pursuant to state statute, we do have to hold this public hearing. We have provided the necessary notice associated with it.” Then recommending the holding of the public hearing required in state law, Levitt closed her presentation.

“So we’re asking you to hold the public hearing, and then recommend the two motions appearing on the screen,” she told EDA members in relation to easements needed for construction. EDA president Bailey then asking EDA member if they had any questions and hearing none, he opened the public hearing.

“All right, I will go ahead and open the public hearing. Is there anyone who would like to speak on this item?” Bailey asked, adding, “welcome to do so at this time.” Eight second later, it closed.

“All right, seeing none, I will close the public hearing and we have two motions before us,” Bailey said with a gavel strike in regard to the matter at hand. EDA vice president Dennis then made the necessary motion on the first item authorizing the conveyance of an easement to the City of Cottage Grove.

“I’ll make the first motion to approve a resolution authorizing the conveyance of an easement to the city of Cottage Grove,” Dennis said, seconded by EDA member Krohn.

Following a voice vote, the motion carried 5 – 0 among those EDA members present. With that it was into approval for the second resolution, “I’ll go ahead and do the second one,” ” EDA member Myers said. “I’ll motion to approve the permanent utility easement and temporary construction easement with the City of Cottage Grove.”

Being seconded in the needed motion by EDA member Knop, the resolution passed without a negative voice vote.

The EDA then moved into item 6, classed as “other business,” including city council workshops to relook at ordinances.

“I guess I could say everything from chickens and ducks to you know, general ordinances and such,” EDA president and city mayor Bailey said of looking at city ordinances, then asking for comments.

“On February 22 we have the Cottage Grove Convention and Visitor’s Bureau meeting,” EDA Vice President Dennis offered, with the City also making a return to a Las Vegas convention to promote the city, unable to do so the last few years on account of COVID-19.