Wayzata City Council approves condo plans for Meyer Bros. Dairy site

Development on Lake Street’s west end will include up to 21 units

The 75-year-old vacant Meyer Bros. Dairy building on the west end of downtown Wayzata will be redeveloped into a three-story condo development. (Sun Sailor file photo by Jason Jenkins)
The 75-year-old vacant Meyer Bros. Dairy building on the west end of downtown Wayzata will be redeveloped into a three-story condo development. (Sun Sailor file photo by Jason Jenkins)

The Wayzata City Council has given the go-ahead for Meyer Place on Ferndale, a condo development on the Meyer Bros. Dairy site in downtown Wayzata.

The development application from Homestead Partners and the property owner, Meyer Properties, includes demolishing the existing, 75-year-old vacant building at 105 Lake Street E. and constructing a three-story building with room for up to 21 residential condominium units and 52 underground parking spaces.

The council, at its Dec. 20 meeting, discussed the application, which included the request for approval of rezoning the site from C-4A, limited central business district, to planned unit development. According to the city’s planning report, the applicant requested the rezoning to planned unit development because the project deviates from two of the requirements of the C-4A zoning district: A maximum building height requirement of 30 feet, or two stories, and the requirement that at least 50 percent of the building frontage on the Lake Street ground level must be used for retail or service commercial use.

“In terms of how our code defines height, the building would be 35 feet tall and then the elevator overrun on the back of the building would have an additional 4 feet of height above that. … Our code does allow for the elevator overrun to extend up to 5 feet beyond the maximum building height. As proposed, the building would meet the height requirements of the PUD district,” said Jeff Thompson, Wayzata city planner.

The proposed building’s use would also be 100 percent residential, and would not meet the retail, service and mixed-use requirements of the C-4A zoning district.

Also required in rezoning to planned unit development is a concurrent review of concept and general plan of development review. The developer requested approval for several deviations from the city’s Lake Street design standards:

• The second story along Lake Street would be stepped back for 23 percent of the building length and the second story along Ferndale would be stepped back for 19 percent of the building length. The second story step backs require a deviation from the design standards, which state that the second story must be stepped back for 25 percent of the length of the façade. Also included in the design is a roof structure on the second-story corner at Lake Street and Ferndale Road.

• The proposed site plan also included a 12-foot wide sidewalk along Lake Street that would meet the design standards and the city’s Lake Street sidewalk specifications. However, the Ferndale Road streetscape includes a 6-foot wide concrete sidewalk. The design standards require a sidewalk of at least 12 feet in width along all street frontages. There is not currently a sidewalk along either side of Ferndale Road that the proposed sidewalk could connect to. However, the Ferndale Road sidewalk would still require a deviation from the design standard.

• The proposed building would have a flat, tan-colored roof that would not meet the design standards of a flat roof requiring a dark color.

In July, plans from the applicant, Homestead Partners, were denied by the city council with a 3-1 vote. For most of the council, the overall density and height of the development conflicted too much with the city’s zoning rules. The denied plans included a penthouse structure for the rooftop terrace that extended 13 feet above the roof, creating a total height of 48 feet.

Tim Whitten, of architecture and planning consulting firm Whitten Associates, addressed the council to explain the design modifications that had been made since July. He said key differences included:

• Reduction of the building mass by more than 20 percent.

• Reduction of condo units from 23 units to a range of 18-21 units.

• Removal of the roof top patio to reduce the height of the stair towers and elevator.

• Added garden areas to break up the building’s elevation along Lake Street.

• Prairie-style architecture that has a historical connection with Wayzata and Meyer Bros. Dairy.

• Stepping back the third level on all elevations.

• No guest parking on the north side.

• Space at the corner of Lake Street and Ferndale Road dedicated for public use.

The Wayzata City Council has approved plans for Meyer Place on Ferndale, a three-story, up to 21-unit condo development on the Meyer Bros. Dairy site in downtown Wayzata. (Design rendering by JMS Custom Homes)
The Wayzata City Council has approved plans for Meyer Place on Ferndale, a three-story, up to 21-unit condo development on the Meyer Bros. Dairy site in downtown Wayzata. (Design rendering by JMS Custom Homes)

“We did everything we could to kind of be sensitive to the existing neighbors and to produce something that we think is subtle,” Whitten said.

Whitten said his design team had also been in talks with the Wayzata Historical Society over how to incorporate the site’s history into a public space at the southwest corner of the building. He said the team had also been  working with the historical society and Meyer family in gathering photographs to display in the building’s lobby and common area.

“Everybody that comes here is going to think about Meyer Dairy,” Whitten said.

The planning commission reviewed the resubmitted development application and hosted a public hearing at its meeting on Nov. 7. On Dec. 5, the commission voted 3-2 to adopt a report recommending approval of the application.

Overall, the city council members responded favorably to the design changes.

“I think that the applicant has worked diligently in cooperation and collaboration with the various stakeholders involved, the neighborhood, the feedback from the planning commission as well as the city council feedback,” said Councilmember Bridget Anderson.

Councilmember Steve Tyacke also voiced support for the development.

“It seems to me that this is a good fit for that particular property. The fact that they’ve reduced the mass by almost 20 percent from the original design I think is very positive,” Tyacke said.

Councilmember Andrew Mullin said he was also favorable to the project as proposed, but added that he wanted to see the public space on the building’s corner more clearly defined.

“If you’re going to spend the time and energy to make some sort of historic element there, it has to be done of quality,” Mullin said.

Mayor Ken Willcox also expressed his approval for the resubmitted designs.

“You’ve come a long, long way and I personally don’t know what you could do to make it better. … I am in favor of what you presented here today,” Willcox said.

Councilmember Johanna McCarthy said she opposed the development because she felt it wasn’t the right project for the site.

“My biggest concern, biggest fear is that every building from Ferndale to Barry will be an office building and/or simply a condominium, and it reduces that vitality that we’re looking for to extend the one-block area of Lake Street at Broadway and Lake,” McCarthy said.

With McCarthy voting against the proposed project, the council voted 4-1 to approve the design deviations and rezone the property to planed unit development. The council approved adding a condition that the developer work on art concepts with the city’s public art committee and that the developer cover the cost for the art and its maintenance.

It is estimated that the development will be complete by December 2017.

To view the entire planning report and designs for Meyer Place on Ferndale, visit wayzata.org and go to the Dec. 20 city council meeting packet.

Contact Jason Jenkins at [email protected]