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UMore review will be available to the public June 10

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The Rosemount City Council voted Tuesday to release to the public Area Urban Area Review for development on the University of Minnesota's UMore property. Residents will have 30 days to comment.

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The environmental assessment, which determines the maximum impact for the proposed development, will be available for review from June 10 to July 10.

The University of Minnesota has proposed plans to build a large sustainable community on its UMore Park property. UMore spans an area of about 5,000 acres, with 3,000 located in Rosemount and the rest in Empire Township. Because so much of property lies in Rosemount, the city is the responsible government unit for the AUAR process.

The UMore Concept Master Plan estimated the community could include up to 30,000 people. The purpose of the AUAR is to determine the impact of the development. A committee, consisting of officials from the city, Empire Township, Dakota County, the university and WSB, has been meeting for more than a year to create the document.

Rosemount Community Development director Kim Lindquist said the State of Minnesota determines the AUAR process and what information must be included in the document. Three scenarios were developed based on the UMore Concept Master Plan. A fourth, no build option, is assumed.

Each concept includes different residential land uses and what the impact of those uses would be to the infrastructure system. Concept 1 looks at a population of 34,000, concept 2 projects the population at 25,000 and concept 3 estimates a population of 31,000. According to the city memo, the purpose of Concept 1 and Concept 3 is to project more development than the traditional and determine what the impacts on city infrastructure would be. Concept 2 is more consistent with current development patterns. The benchmarking will be used to make decisions about the appropriate level of development for the UMore property.

Issues analyzed through the process include wildlife and ecological resources, stormwater management, sanitary sewer, water supply, traffic, air and noise, geologic hazards, land use, pollutants and sensitive resources.

Leading up to the release of the document the planning commission and the city council reviewed the document in a joint work session. During the work session, the role of the AUAR came into question as several at the meeting asked why the scenarios didn't reflect more of the university's sustainability goals.

Planning commissioner Wade Miller said the AUAR fails to address the university's sustainability goals. He added that he would like that question asked as part of the process.

Lindquist explained that the AUAR is an academic exercise that aims to define the maximum development impacts. Any efforts to institute sustainable practices would fall under the scope of the AUAR and be acceptable she said. However for the current document she said it was important to review all the possible impacts

"We have to look at worst case scenarios and plan for that. That doesn't mean we can't build better than that," said Lindquist.

Overall, Lindquist said the AUAR is a broad brush look at identified impacts of the whole development and how those issues can be addressed through ordinance standards, development and techniques. She added that the AUAR must be updated every five years and that modifications will be made to accommodate future standards and practices.

Going forward, Lindquist said the city council and the city's various commissions will have the opportunity to get more into the specifics when the university begins to submit plans for actual development.

Releasing the AUAR will give residents and other governmental agencies the opportunity to comment on the three scenarios and how it could affect them.

Copies of the AUAR will be available at Rosemount City Hall and the Robert Trail Library. The document can also be view online at ci.rosemount.mn.us.

An open house will be held to answer questions at 6:30 p.m. June 24 at the Rosemount Community Center.

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Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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