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Council Refuses to Reconsider Recent Pillsbury Commons Actions

The developer’s attorney asserted the council violated some of its own rules.

The final pleas of the hopeful Pillsbury Commons developer, Ron Clark Construction & Design, fell on deaf Richfield City Council ears Tuesday night.

The council struck down the developer’s request for reconsideration of the . The developer holds an option to purchase the former city garage site, which the city is obligated to sell. However, without the additional pieces of land to aid in meeting housing density requirements, the proposal was effectively killed that night. Following suit, the Richfield Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) also , among other things.

In a formal letter requesting the council’s reconsideration, the developer’s attorney, Jim Susag, alleged the city did not follow proper procedure in regards to land use applications and the city violated a preliminary agreement between the HRA by denying the sale—along with four other claims.

However, City Attorney discounted each of the assertions, citing some of the claims were not legal issues, but rather opinion of fact. (A screenshot of the claims and the attorney’s responses can be seen in the photo box above.)

“Nothing has changed for us to reconsider it,” e said. “I certainly think we did the right thing [two weeks ago].”

added: "I originally supported this proposal, but I can count to three. ... And I know there will not be three votes [to reconsider the decision]."

In addition, four other agenda items were dedicated to the Pillsbury Commons project including a public hearing regarding the tax increment financing plan and rezoning the area from industrial to multi-family residential. Three of the four were denied, with the lone item approved being the second reading for the sale of the land held by the option agreement.

It’s Not Over Yet …

While the project as it’s been proposed is dead, Clark can close on the land held by the option agreement June 30. He may extend it until the end of October 2012, however, would need to provide another $5,000 payment to the city.

During the June 18 HRA meeting, Susag said Clark was in the process of considering a smaller development project for the optioned parcel. Clark told Patch he was surveying all his options.

Richfield Patch will update readers as more information becomes available on Clark’s plans for the optioned land.

Caitlin Burgess June 27, 2012 at 03:31 PM
A year ago the city agreed to sign an option agreement with Mr. Clark on the old city garage site. To the best of my knowledge, the option agreement basically stated the city would hold the land for Mr. Clark while he was putting a design plan together and not allow other offers from different developers. As the process got going, three additional parcels of land were being sought for the project, mainly to meet density requirements and also attempt to satisfy some of the residents' complaints. Officials did not approve the sales of the additional pieces of land. However, the option agreement for the former city garage site makes the city obligated to sell that land to him. Mr. Clark, however, could decide not to purchase it. I hope that helps.
Barry L. June 27, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Ron Clark please do the right thing, Please do not close on the land and let it go. The only ones who will start to make money off of this land deal is the Lawyers....they gave this award to you, please look at it on your wall and ask your self if you are failing to live up to standard: http://mnethicsaward.org/past-recipients/
ann delaney June 27, 2012 at 05:42 PM
I still have no idea where the locations of these land options are but it sounds like Mr. Clark has them no matter how you look at it. I guess, money talks.
Caitlin Burgess June 27, 2012 at 06:31 PM
The address of the land with the option is at 7641 Pleasant Avenue.
Barry L. October 23, 2012 at 02:36 PM
From: Barry LeBlanc <barry0404@yahoo.com> Subject: COUNCIL MEMO NO. 96 To: john.stark@cityofrichfield.org Cc: SDevich@cityofrichfield.org, "Pat Elliott (HRC) (CC Liaison)" <pat@elliottlaw.net>, "Debbie Goettel" <dgoettel@comcast.net> Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2012, 10:05 AM Hi John, Could you please provide the names and credentials of the Housing policy task force? Also has there been a schedule or meetings that are planned? Best Regards, Barry LeBlanc 612.861.1142 DISCUSSION REGARDING RICHFIELD HOUSING POLICY (HRA MEMO NO. 41, COUNCIL MEMO NO. 96) After much discussion the consensus was to form a task force led by a facilitator and consisting of various groups within the community and some outside organizations, such as the Metropolitan Council. Community Development Director Stark stated he would provide a memo to all members with suggested categories of people to fill technical advisory roles, names of facilitators and their credentials, a futurist, and a schedule that will start the group to move forward.

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