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Senior Living Project at Plaza Delayed in Mendota Heights Planning Commission

Commissioners requested more information before they would dive into the details of a four-story, 100-unit building.

The Mendota Heights Planning Commission requested more information June 28 before they will entertain a detailed public review of the proposed White Pines Senior Living complex at Mendota Plaza.

Mendota Plaza developers Paster Enterprises and the city of Mendota Heights are in the early stages of a over who is responsible for the cost of moving a sewer line at the site of the proposed housing complex. However, White Pines Senior Living, the potential buyer of the land, is not officially involved in the proceedings, said co-owner Chuck Rothstein, a Mendota Heights resident.

 Assistant City Administrator Jake Sedlacek told the commission that they have been advised by legal counsel to proceed with the review.“We want to do our very best to stay away from any points regarding litigation,” Sedlacek said as a preface to the application discussion.

An amendment to Mendota Plaza’s conditional use permit detailing the project was submitted in May.

The plan provides details for a four-story, 100-unit senior living building to be located in the southeast corner of the Mendota Plaza property, facing west. The building will be a licensed medical facility with units smaller than a traditional apartment, said Rothstein .Roughly half the units are dedicated to memory care, and the other half to assisted living.

Six outstanding points remain to be addressed within the documents:

  • Parking requirements

 While city ordinance requires two spaces per unit, fewer spaces could be approved for a senior living facility. The plans provide for 73 parking spaces total, 37 of which would be below ground.

  • Additional pedestrian access

An additional sidewalk from the main entrance to the retail area has been requested to better connect the building with the rest of Mendota Plaza.

  • More specifics on the exterior materials

The PUD for Mendota Plaza indicates a minimum of 25 percent brick or stone façade on the building. City staff estimated that based on the drawings, the percent covered by brick or stone is less than 10 percent.

  • Signage

Details about the size, location and lighting of signs need to be worked out.

  • The sewer line

Positioning of the building without moving the line would block access to the utility for repairs etc. The building needs to be moved or the line needs to be moved.

  • Developers agreement approval

White Pines Senior Living must provide written acceptance of the portion of the Mendota Plaza developers agreement that addresses the proposed housing.

 

Rothstein said that a second go at the planning stage is common. White Pines Senior Living has two buildings in Inver Grove Heights, two in Cottage Grove, one in Blaine and one in White Bear Lake, which he called “complicated development projects." The company also operates similar facilities in Wisconsin under the name Comforts of Home.

The original timeframe for starting the project was this past spring, said Rothstein. With that date passed, he said there’s not a rush to get the plans approved.

City staff will work with Rothstein to complete the application. The discussion was laid over until the July commission meeting.

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