We want affordable housing in Minnetonka

To the Editor:

I recently received a postcard in the mail, inviting me to attend a meeting at the Minnetonka City Council to review a plan to build an apartment building by my home. You may be asking why someone would receive notification about an apartment building’s construction. The reason is because the building does not fit the neighborhood, and its size (over 300 feet long, 80 feet wide and 50 feet high) abuts single-story, single-family homes. Something was fishy here, and although I was unable to attend the first couple of meetings, I made it to the council meeting on April 24.

It was there I discovered a city council mired in a struggle to push through a project it had bumbled since the beginning, and was now not only aggravating local residents but creating a debate about the city’s inability to provide adequate affordable housing.

The city purchased a plot of land during the Shady Oak redevelopment. Hennepin County was supposed to include with that development a private access road to the property, but reneged. The city failed to remediate this issue, and now has a property with extremely limited access. Yet they are forging ahead, attempting to put an oversize building meant to house 54 families directly onto Shady Oak Road, which is both a traffic concern and a safety hazard, since the access is inadequate and the distance from building to road dangerous.

I spoke at the meeting against this voluminous structure, and with Gabby Landsverk afterwards. I shared that I am for affordable housing, including on this site. I want to see Minnetonka build affordable housing, something they have neglected to do at prime locations like Residences at 1700 near Ridgedale. I am against allowing the city to build immense structures simply to appear that it’s working to achieve affordable housing goals when it has not been. Affordable housing deficiencies are not solved by building two or three oversized structures. They are solved by building blended, inclusive, and welcoming homes that allow residents to live wholly as members of the community.

Paul Burgett