The City Council’s Role in Development
I believe the City Council’s role is not to promote or discourage development, but to be a fair-handed referee in the process. Decisions about site redevelopment should be left up to the property owner.
Some Edina residents believe we should put an absolute moratorium on development. I think that kind of stricture would be extremely detrimental to the City.
As the population of the United States grows, the population of the nation’s cities will increase. As the Twin Cities area grows, there will be pressure for growth on the major cities and first-ring suburbs such as Edina. The smart thing to do is to plan for the growth rather than try to stop it or pretend it won’t happen.
Population growth will put additional pressure on Edina’s infrastructure, including roads and highways, whether or not growth takes place in Edina. As a city, we need to enable people to live closer to their workplaces, reduce the number of automobile trips, increase the availability of transit, and improve alternative modes of transportation. There is a practical limit on how many lanes we can add to our highways; we need to develop creative ways to alleviate the transportation congestion.
Preservation of Single-Family Residential Neighborhoods
All Edina City Council members have expressed a commitment to preserve Edina’s single-family residential neighborhoods. I believe those neighborhoods are the crown jewel of Edina. If property owners want to invest in their property, they should be allowed to as long as they comply with city regulations.
It is in the other parts of the City, known as “nodes of density,” where development is planned. I don’t believe it is up to the City or its elected officials to direct or prohibit the growth; it is our job to adequately plan for proposed developments and consider impacts such as transportation.
How Development Impacts Our Schools
Residents have expressed concern about how population growth could impact their schools. The City has regular interactions with the three school districts that have students attending our schools (Edina, Hopkins, and Richfield), and the school districts are aware of and planning for potential increases in student population. The planning is a standard function of school districts, their staff, and elected officials. The City has an excellent working relationship with the three districts and will work hard to accommodate needs as they arise.