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City launches study of UMore impact

The city of Rosemount held a public informational meeting Tuesday night to talk about the Alternative Urban Areawide Review currently under way on 5,000 acres of land targeted for development by the University of Minnesota.

The focus of the meeting was to share development scenarios for the property known as UMore Park and to take comment about the view.

City planner Eric Zweber said as part of the AUAR staff has developed three development scenarios. Going forward staff will evaluate the potential impact each would have on the surrounding community and infrastructure including water, sewer and transportation.

The U of M has plans to build a sustainable community of 20,000 to 30,000 people on its property. Zweber said the city anticipates the property will be developed at the mid-range level but must evaluate for all possibilities.

The three scenarios are based on the UMore Concept Master Plan prepared by Design workshop in January 2009. That planned anticipated for a community of approximately 30,000 people. The three scenarios differ in the density of development on the property from maximum density to mid-range.

The AUAR includes the property that will be mined but analyzes the impact development will have on the property after the mining process is over.

The environmental review process is regulated by the State of Minnesota. The AUAR is being administered by the city, in partnership with Empire Township and the University of Minnesota.

Residents had an opportunity both before and after the presentation to ask questions. Most focused on when mining would start, or on the status of an investigation into the presence of pollution on the property.

One resident raised questions about a zone that could potentially end up as home to big-box retail uses such as Wal-Mart or Target. They worried the development could have a negative impact on traffic levels that are already high along County Road 42.

Zweber told the couple that part of the AUAR process involves putting plans in place to address those concerns as development takes place.

The city and its partners will spend most of the next year figuring out the impact of a development that could eventually more than double the current population of Rosemount.

It is a challenge not found many other places.

"There are not that many integrated pieces of property this size with one owner where you can plan a community," city engineer Andy Brotzler said. "It seems big and challenging, but it's actually very exciting."

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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