Council delays vote on approving grading permit
The Shorewood City Council voted 2-1 in favor of tabling the grading permit for the second phase of the Minnetonka Country Club housing project.
Mayor Scott Zerby voted to delay approving the permit until the May 22 meeting, after Mattamy Homes officials reported they’ve fallen behind with construction on the project.
Councilmember Patrick Johnson voted in favor of tabling because Councilmembers Debbie Siakel and Kristine Sundberg were absent at the May 8 meeting.
“I have serious concerns with moving to phase two when there’s so much to do on phase one,” Zerby said. “We have not seen any progress on the amenities that were apart of the PUD the largest one being the trails.”
Councilmember Jennifer Labadie voted against tabling the permit fearing construction would fall further behind.
“I’m leery of this but it’s going to happen,” she said. “I wish more was done at this point. Residents keep asking what’s going on and it’s just barren land at this point. Things need to get moving.”
Brian Theis with Mattamy Homes told the council that construction was delayed due to a wet summer last year.
Theis also said the project was also delayed after Mattamy Homes sold its building rights.
In March, the company sold all of its assets in the Minnetonka Country Club. The company will continue to stay on as the property’s land developer, but CalAtlantic and Gonyea Homes and Remodeling will do the home construction.
“We have closed down our home building operation, but we will remain a land developer on any land under our ownership,” Theis said. “We will see this project through and get it developed over the coming years.”
Zerby responded, “I’m nervous with the change of leadership.”
Theis reported that two-thirds of the property has been graded and 73 lots have been serviced with streets and utilities. The new grading permit is for the remaining third of the property.
Theis said Mattamy officials hope to complete the second phase this year in a three-month time span and have the final phase approved in June with a completion date of next year.
CalAtlantic Homes would be responsible for building 34 lots that are 90 feet wide. The hope is to start in September.
The CalAtlantic Homes will include two-story residences of 2,900 to 4,000 square feet, that will be sold for $740,000 to $850,000. There will also be villas that are 1,850 to 2,300 square feet and will be sold for $475,000 to $550,000.
“We’ve built a lot of solid homes in this market and we’ve got a solid reputation for building quality homes,” said CalAtlantic architect Steve Ellefsen. “We’re really excited to have this opportunity to build on the Minnetonka Country Club and we think it’s going to be a great project.”
Ellefsen said CalAtlantic’s goal is to build four homes per month.
Gonyea Homes and Remodeling is building 32 homes and a few homes have already sold.
Gonyea homeowners have the option of creating a custom home or selecting from one of their semi-custom plans, which range from 4,116-5,587 square feet. The homes that the company is building at the Minnetonka Country Club will be priced at $950,000 – $1.5 million.
Mattamy Homes hasn’t sold any homes, because the lots were not on the market due to delays with the sale of the company’s assets.
Zerby said that he was extremely disappointed that little work had been done to complete the trails and open space area that was in the planned unit development agreement.
“The project was approved with a little give and take,” Zerby said. “In order to have smaller lots and higher density in the area there was open space and trails that was supposed to be provided to the public and that promise, so to speak, of the contract hasn’t been fulfilled.”
Zerby said that, based on the recent status report, the permit needed to be delayed.
“Tabling this will delay the project,” Theis protested.
“Having some homes in there will draw interest to this project and move it along quicker,” Labadie said. “We don’t want empty land, we don’t want empty homes and I think moving this forward is in our best interests, but I’m still nervous.”
Johnson said he was in favor of delaying the permit to get the input of the rest of the council.
“There has been months with no information of what’s going on,” Zerby said. “Months without contractors doing any work and now it’s a rush to get things done. It makes me extremely nervous to have this done.”
The grading permit will be voted on at the council meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, May 22.