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City Officials ‘Offended’ By Ron Clark Presentation

Ron Clark reps asks the city for continued support of the project, while offending officials during a joint Richfield City Council, Planning Commission and HRA meeting.

Ron Clark Construction & Design seemed to go on the defensive Tuesday night as they made yet another presentation to city officials on the .

As soon as lead speaker Kendra Lindahl, land reform principal on the project, launched her presentation it was clear that the developer was adamant about securing continued support from the city. From claiming the design fits perfectly with the city’s comprehensive plan to stating the firm would not have proceeded in 2009 if it lacked total city support, Lindahl was careful to remind officials of the developer’s consistent attempts to design the best project possible.

“We’re very proud of this project,” she said in closing. “We’ve worked very hard to develop a plan that everyone can get excited about.”

Unfortunately, the developer’s attempt to rally support from council and commission members seemed to backfire. Some officials said they were offended by the presentation itself and went on to vehemently express their concerns about the project.

“I don’t need to be reminded of what I already know,” Council Member Elliott said, referring to the failure of the presentation to outline new changes. “I want to know what you’re presenting [as a design plan].”

The majority of concerns centered on the , which is causing confusion among the different commissions.

“We went from market rate—which you deny every doing—to 100-percent affordable and somewhere in there you called in workforce housing,” said. “I don’t know why you would start off a meeting like this unless you [were preparing to go] to court.”

Wroge also accused the developer of being the only party able to reconsider and make changes, and flat out asked Lindahl whether she believed that was the case—to which she gave a simple no. He was also visibly upset about Lindahl’s claim that the city has been on board from the beginning.

“We didn’t vote on anything other than to let you move your project down the road until we have decide what to do,” Wroge said. “I’ve always believed we need to do affordable housing. … This is not about excluding affordable housing, it’s about not ruining this land.”

While many officials expressed their confusion and disappointment, did compliment the Ron Clark team, saying the company has been listening to concerns and actively trying to mitigate them.

Moving Forward

Ron Clark Construction & Design submitted a new land use application on April 4. The company is hoping the Richfield Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) will agree to sell an additional plot of land next to the proposed development site. The additional land will allow the developer to conform to density standards, without asking the council to make a change to the city’s comprehensive plan.

Most likely, the HRA will have to make its decision on whether to sell the other plot before the Richfield Planning Commission votes to approve the new land use request.

Richfield Patch will continue to follow this project and will update readers as new developments happen.

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David Haines April 12, 2012 at 02:25 PM
I would be offended too. Sounds like Ron Clark Construction didn't offer any new info or even explain why they are delaying their application. What a waste of our city council's time. Is it only a matter of time before Ron Clark Construction tries to sue the city to get his way? Go build it in Edina, Ron!!!!!!!
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) April 12, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Yes. The agenda said that revisions to the design plan was the reason for the special session and after the presentation was largely the developer's retelling of what has gone on the last three years, the tension rose in the room. There was one small change included, which will be one of the units will be owner occupied. But I think that got kind of lost.
Barry L. April 13, 2012 at 01:08 AM
You Know I want to comment but I am so appalled at the level that Ron Clark has stooped too...If you cant win the hearts and minds then Lawyer UP...
Richfield Commoners United June 01, 2012 at 03:55 PM
"So now we need to ask if TIF sheds some tax dollars to the school system. In all Ron Clark will only pay $3900. per year in taxes on the land for 30 years, what will the school get in cash for the next 30 years? The next question that should be asked is this, Kennisington Place on 76th and Lyndale was given $500K in up front TIF but now the courts have decided that Richfield was a second mortgage and we not getting one cent back ? How much did the school system loose on that one? Ron Clark is the only one walking away with the cash in hand!"
Richfield Commoners United June 06, 2012 at 02:08 AM
http://richfield.patch.com/articles/poll-does-the-city-know-what-it-s-doing-with-housing?ncid=newsltuspatc00000001

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