Developers Magellan and Village Green will face an extra hurdle -- in the form of an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) -- on the track to city approval of their Eitel Hospital project in the Loring Park neighborhood.
The EAW studies a development project's possible impact on traffic flow and air quality, as well as historical preservation and compliance with zoning in the city's comprehensive plan, said Michael Cronin, principal of Cronin and Associates, whom the city has contracted to complete the EAW. The process includes a 30-day public comment period, which is likely to begin Sept. 26. A "travel demand management plan" has already been completed by SRF and Associates, Cronin said.
Brian Gordon, vice president of development for Magellan Development Group said his company is submitting the necessary information to Cronin. Hilary Watson, the city planner on the project, said that approval of the EAW's findings could come as early as Nov. 10 before the City Council's Zoning and Planning Committee and at the full City Council Nov. 18, "if there are no bumps in the road," and a land use application could come before the Planning Commission Nov. 28.
The combined 475 rental and for-sale units exceed the 375-unit threshold that mandates the environmental review for development projects. The mixed use, rental and owner-occupied project -- which includes a 39-story condominium tower -- was submitted as a single "planned unit development" (PUD) to avoid the need for rezoning and to expedite approvals.
Gordon said that the EAW requirement came as somewhat of a surprise, but he hopes that the process will not delay the start of construction next spring.
Copies of the EAW will be available for review at Downtown's Central Library, 250 Marquette Ave, and at City Hall, 350 S. 5th St., Room 210. The EAW will eventually be available on the City of Minneapolis Web site at www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/planning.
A public hearing will not be held, but comments may be sent to J. Michael Orange, City Planner, City of Minneapolis, City Hall Room 210, 350 S. 5th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55415; by telephone at 673-2347 or by e-mail at email@example.com.