October 21, 2020

Sartell zoning proposal to get second vote Monday with reduced apartment zones

SARTELL — A zoning proposal that met resistance from residents will be up for a council vote for a second time Monday with changes to not extend apartment zoning north of Heritage Drive.



a sign on the side of a road: Traffic moves through the roundabout Heritage Drive, Fourth Avenue, Leander Avenue and Roberts Road Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Sartell.


© Dave Schwarz, dschwarz@stcloudtimes.com
Traffic moves through the roundabout Heritage Drive, Fourth Avenue, Leander Avenue and Roberts Road Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Sartell.

The original proposal drew 90 minutes of testimony at a Sept. 14 council meeting from residents on Huntington Drive, a neighborhood off of Heritage Drive that has been sandwiched between rapid apartment development on the east and west in recent years. Residents were concerned the growth in apartments had brought increased traffic and more crime to the area.

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More: Proposed zoning changes meet resistance from Sartell’s Huntington neighborhood

At a special meeting Tuesday, Mayor Ryan Fitzthum, city staff and council members discussed five empty plots of land that would have been made R3, or multi-family zones, in the original proposal.

Council members agreed that the land north of Heritage Drive along Fourth Avenue would be R2 — a medium-density residential designation that allows developments such as duplexes and townhomes, but not apartments.

The change could alleviate some residents’ concerns that they might have found their homes directly adjacent to future apartments, council members said.

An area on the southwest corner of Heritage Drive and Pinecone Road would be R2 instead of R3 as originally proposed, council members agreed.

If the council approves the adjusted plan Monday, new apartment development could go just west of current apartments on Roberts Road, or along the west side of Pinecone Road between Fifteenth Street South and Scout Drive, buffered from the main road by general business zoning.



a house with a grass field: Apartment buildings near the roundabout at Heritage Drive, Fourth Avenue, Leander Avenue and Roberts Road is pictured Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Sartell.


© Dave Schwarz, dschwarz@stcloudtimes.com
Apartment buildings near the roundabout at Heritage Drive, Fourth Avenue, Leander Avenue and Roberts Road is pictured Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Sartell.

City Administrator Anna Gruber presented some initial statistics on crime in the area after Huntington residents brought their concerns to the public hearing.

In 2019, 31% of calls to police for service in Sartell were to single family residences, 27% were to businesses, 20% were to multifamily residences and 20% were to roadways or other locations, according to Gruber.

Multifamily housing and single family housing had similar rates of calls for service in 2019, Gruber found, with the exception of a multifamily property with a noticeably higher average that Fitzthum said would be addressed outside of zoning discussions. 

“The important thing is … it’s not every multifamily” residence, Gruber said.

Fitzthum noted that data includes about 127 different types of calls, so the city will continue its analysis to determine if crime in multifamily housing is disproportionately different from single family areas.

While traffic on Heritage Drive has increased since 2009, the road is not yet at capacity, St. Cloud Area Planning Organization Executive Director Brian Gibson said at the meeting.

That traffic is spread out between the Mississippi River and County Road 4, Gibson said, and its connection to St. Joseph “leads us to believe that Heritage is very attractive because of its connectivity.”

Data from StreetLight, a company that uses data to create traffic maps, shows Heritage Drive is used by through traffic from neighboring cities, Gibson said.

An extension of Scout Drive, included in the organization’s regional metropolitan transportation plan completed last year, could alleviate some of that traffic on Heritage, he said.

Erik Newland is the suburbs reporter for the St. Cloud Times. Reach him at 320-255-8761 or enewland@stcloudtimes.com. Follow him on Twitter @SCTimesErik.

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This article originally appeared on St. Cloud Times: Sartell zoning proposal to get second vote Monday with reduced apartment zones

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