Summary of Activities
Master Plan Amendments
At the June 24 meeting, the Planning Commissioners will review and release for public review the Ford/Highland Bridge Master Plan Amendments as well as schedule a public hearing for August 5, 2022.
The present package of amendments relates to a proposed athletic complex for the University of Saint Thomas (UST) that would be constructed on approximately 23 acres partially in the original Ryan Development Area, but also on the Canadian Pacific (CP) rail yard parcels in the southeast corner of the master plan area (Figure 1). Per the application, “[t]he UST Sports Complex will include hockey, baseball, and softball facilities with a supporting practice building and parking garage.” (Figure 2) Preliminary timing estimate for construction is May 2023 to May 2025. This proposal was not anticipated when the Master Plan was written and would require changes to both the Master Plan and Zoning Code.
There are numerous other processes and approvals required for the UST project to proceed that will run parallel to the master plan amendments.
An update to the Alternative Urban Areawide Review (AUAR), the environmental review document and mitigation plan approved by the City in 2019, began on May 4. Updates are required every five years, however, because this project would prompt environmental review on its own, the decision was made by the City to expand the scope and complete the update for the entire site at the same time. The update will account for development to date and the UST proposal in its analysis of a variety of environmental topics. Included in this analysis is a traffic study that will identify changes from the 2019 estimate and any alteration of mitigation strategies. Any Master Plan amendments relating to the UST project cannot be approved or adopted prior to the completion of the AUAR update.
- Parks - Due to site planning needs and the addition of Canadian Pacific (CP) parcels to the project, the Department of Parks and Recreation, along with the Parks and Recreation Commission will need to review a separate proposal to swap parkland area and meet parkland dedication requirements.
- Wetlands - The Ryan/UST project team is applying to the City for a wetland review, which will require approval by all City departments.
- Plat - The project team is also applying to the City for a subdivision plat, which will require approval by all City departments.
- Airport - The project team is also potentially applying for a variance to the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC).
- Legal and Financial - In 2019, the City and Ryan Companies executed a redevelopment agreement that addressed issues such as tax increment financing (TIF) and affordable housing requirements. Amendments will be necessary to ensure that the obligations and expectations set forth in 2019 will be met with the UST proposal.