City notes: Many studies taking place at UMoreBy establishing the facts and putting the best strategies in place now, the city is helping assure that UMore Park will fulfill its potential to be a model 21st century community.
By: Bill Droste, Rosemount Town Pages
UMore Park continues to be in the news lately. The Rosemount City Council recently approved a zoning ordinance amendment to allow large scale gravel mining. The change could allow mining on the western third of the property.
Before the city can issue a permit for mining, an application and rigorous review process must be completed. It is expected that an application will be received in the next month or so and that the review process will occur this summer.
More recently, the planning commission and the council heard a report on a yearlong investigation into pollution on the rest of the UMore property within Rosemount. The study’s outcome was that nothing was found that would prevent overall development of the land.
The study did identify spots where additional investigation and clean up would be needed. It noted that specific remediation likely will occur when development is actually proposed on individual parcels. A public meeting on this latest study, the “Remedial Investigation,” is planned for the evening of June 28 at the Rosemount Community Center.
This is a good occasion to briefly sort out the status of three other environmental studies involving UMore Park.
First, an Environmental Impact Statement was conducted two years ago for the western third of the UMore Park property where the gravel mining is anticipated. This document ran 305 pages and was reviewed by the city, Empire Township and Dakota County. It was ultimately approved by the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents.
The EIS provides the blueprint for what environmental impacts can be expected from gravel mining. The ordinance amendment approved by the council draws on information from the EIS document to set conditions of the large scale mining permit.
Second, the city in partnership with Empire Township initiated an Alternative Urban Areawide Review study. The University is paying for the study, which is intended to project what the future environmental impacts of development will be at UMore Park. It forecasts factors such as traffic, utility needs and stormwater runoff. The city is in charge of this study by agreement with Empire Township. Three development scenarios covering the projected number of jobs and residents at the site will be used as the basis for the study.
A third environmental review was conducted for a specific site: 27 acres of land just west of DCTC that the city received for ball field development. The University gave the land to the city in return for park dedication credit on future UMore development. Before the city accepted the 27 acres, the site was carefully reviewed by a consultant engineer, and additional testing was required by the city’s engineering firm. More testing for asbestos will also be done before the ball fields open late next year to be sure no new contamination has occurred by airborne particles since the main study two years ago.
It’s easy to understand why some people may be confused about all of these studies and reports. The bottom line is that these studies must be used together to give both the public and future developers of UMore Park factual information about what environmental and pollution problems exist and how they can be addressed.
By establishing the facts and putting the best strategies in place now, we are helping assure that UMore Park will fulfill its potential to be a model 21st century community.