Letter: St. Louis Park Council members did the right thing in rejecting Bridgewater development

To the Editor:
Recently, the St. Louis Park City Council denied approval of the high-density, 148-unit, mixed-use Bridgewater development at the corner of Excelsior and Monterey Drive, across from Trader Joe’s.

After considerable citizen input, the city council recognized the detrimental neighborhood traffic impacts caused by the high density if the Bridgewater development was approved. The city council did the right thing in denying this project, which included a traffic study that was difficult to interpret. A neighborhood coalition had been active in discussing the challenges that this piece of property brings to redevelopment.

During the council meeting, members commented about many aspects of the development. Some of the points that were brought up included the amount of tax-increment financing that was being asked for, the aesthetics of the building, the amount of affordable housing, height of the building, density and possible traffic issues.

As the city develops, the long-range plan that will impact future development, some of the more data-centric livability metrics brought forward by Monocle, Mercer or EIU might be considered. These models are holistic and dynamic. We live in a world that is more dynamic and robust than ever before, which requires thoughtful consideration early in the planning stages even prior to when the planning commission considers projects. Citizens of St. Louis Park live fast-paced lives that need a thoughtful approach to further development. Citizens who noted the council’s action look to enhancing our community that values a high-quality environment, personal safety, access to healthcare, education, transportation and the list goes on. Scrutiny is going to be needed in the future as we enhance St. Louis Park.

Steve May
St. Louis Park