by Joni Astrup
Plans for a 52-unit apartment building next to the Northstar Commuter Rail station have been approved by the Elk River City Council.
Duffy Development Co. in Minntonka is behind the project, called Coachman Ridge. The company also built The Depot at Elk River Station, a similar apartment complex located across the street from the site of the new one.
“Duffy Development proposes this apartment building because of the successful completion, lease-up and continued strong occupancy of The Depot at Elk River Station. Based on market studies, there is a need for additional rental housing in Elk River,” according to a narrative from Duffy Development.
Coachman Ridge will be a four-story building with one-, two- and three-bedroom units ranging in size from 800 to 1,300 square feet, according to City Planner Zack Carlton. Each apartment will have a full appliance package including a dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer. There also will be underground parking.
Two of the units will be fully handicapped accessible.
Building amenities will include an on-site management office, on-site playground, community room, fitness center and business center, according to Carlton.
Sixty trees will be planted at the site, more than the 38 required by the city.
The apartment building will not have direct access to Twin Lakes Road. Rather, motorists will use the same entrance that goes to the Northstar parking lot; a driveway off that will access Coachman Ridge.
A one-acre outlot next to the apartment building is anticipated to be developed for a commercial use at a future date.
The Elk River City Council voted 4-0 Monday to approve the preliminary and final plat and the site plan for Coachman Ridge. There was some concern about traffic impacts in the area, but the council still supported the apartment building overall. Council Member Matt Westgaard called it “a fine project.”
Council Member Paul Motin was absent but submitted his concerns to the City Council via email. He feels the site is not a safe area for children with its proximity to the train tracks and a busy Twin Lakes Road. Although there will be a playground on site, Motin believes older children will cross Twin Lakes Road to visit friends or find interesting things to do or hang out near the train area.
Additionally, Motin feels the project will exacerbate traffic problems and he is concerned about the loss of commercial property for development. The apartment site was originally planned to be developed for commercial use.
As part of the approval, Duffy Development must pay $193,024 in park dedication fees, which are determined at a rate of $3,712 per dwelling unit. The fees support the development and maintenance of the city’s park system.