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A new development of 58 townhomes is proposed for the eastern portion of the former Thompson Oaks golf course along Oakdale Avenue in West St. Paul. Multiple versions of this project have been proposed as developers struggled to deal with contaminated soil on the site.
The 58 units will be row-style townhomes of three stories with a garage on the lower level, similar to the units on Crawford Drive near the library. The units along Oakdale will range in size from 1,750 to 2,085 square feet and will have an anticipated starting price of $390,000. The remaining 42 units will be slightly larger at 1,942 to 2,405 square feet and will have a deck and patio, with an anticipated starting price of $400,000.
- Soil: Much of the land on the former Thompson Oaks golf course was contaminated when the wetlands were filled in with construction debris. The townhouses will be constructed in the least impacted areas, but still two to 16 feet of soil will need to be removed and refilled. The cost of soil remediation sets serious limits on what kind of project can be done on this site. The alternative to the proposed 58-unit project would be a much larger multi-family apartment.
- Trees: 76 of 100 trees will need to be removed, though nearly all of the ash trees were infected with emerald ash borer. The project will plant 84 new trees.
- Traffic: A traffic study estimates an additional 423 daily trips from the development, which will have a minimal impact on the 7,300 cars per day count on that section of Oakdale.
- Parking: Each unit will have two driveway parking spaces plus 29 visitor parking spots for a total of 232 parking spaces (plus two garage spaces for each unit).
- Zoning: The plan will require a new zoning designation, medium-density residential, as well as updates to city planning documents. This is presented as a good solution to offer a range of housing densities, filling a gap between single-family homes and large multi-family apartments.
The project will move forward with soil removal in summer or fall, assuming approval at each step. It will come before City Council on July 11. Phase one construction would begin this year with a phase two happening in 2023.
Council last discussed the project in February, with some members hoping for more single-story units that appeal to older residents. But there was no consensus and the soil costs required higher density. With a development agreement already in place, the project moved forward with the current design. The Economic Development Authority approved a development agreement in November that sells the land for $1 but makes the developer responsible for soil remediation, within limits.
The area will see a number of changes in the coming years with the wetland restoration project and a roundabout coming to Thompson and Oakdale in 2023.
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