Meeting Watch RTSA

The River Falls City Council approved two general development plans planned for housing units at their meeting on Oct. 25. The next step in the approval process will be the preparation of a Specific Implementation Plan (SIP) which will outline architectural and stormwater plans.

The first development would be located at Paulson and Radio Road next to Highway 35. The housing complex is a multi-family development that would have 190 townhome-style units in 10 residential buildings.

Units will range from one to three-bedrooms. The housing complex would have 70 one-bedrooms, 80 two-bedrooms, and 40 three-bedroom units.

A point of contention arose among the council members over the inclusion of a gate on the property. Council member Sean Downing contested the inclusion, stating he would vote against the development plan.

“This has a gate that goes directly against our city’s comprehensive plan which calls for an inclusive community,” Downing said.

The gate would be located at the entrance to the housing development to secure the property after business hours. The concern was raised at a previous Planning Commission meeting where a discussion was held to determine if having a gate was considered “unwelcoming and not inclusive.”

Council members Jeff Bjork and Scott Morrissette agreed with Downing’s position to vote against the blueprints.

Morrissette acknowledged the city needs housing but referred to previous statements he made about the city using the parcel of land for other needs.

“I stated at the time that we decided the land use designation when we brought it in that I was opposed to a residential project. I will also be voting ‘no’ on it,” Morrissette said.

Council member Nick Carow voiced his support for the development.

“I’m for it because I think it’s pretty clear we need housing. We looked at the housing study and I think we need to press forward,” he said.

Before the final vote Downing clarified he would vote in favor of the plan if the gate would be removed from the plan. Mayor Dan Toland informed Downing the gate proposal can be removed during a later presentation of the development plan.

The vote for the development plan passed four to three. Bjork, Morrissette and Downing voted against. Council members Carow, Diane Odeen, Alyssa Mueller and Todd Bjerstedt voted in favor.

The second development was unanimously approved. The development would be located at S. Apollo Road at W. Maple Street. 

The project consists of a 117-unit single and two-family residential units. The units breakdown to having 69 single family-housing units and 48 twin homes.

If development plans stay on course construction for both developments would begin in spring 2023.

Correction: Residential Picketing Regulations ordinance did not pass. During the meeting a second reading was held where council members held a final vote. Bjork, Mueller, Carrow and Downing voted against. Morrissette, Odeen and Bjerstedt voted for.

Next meeting: The next Council meeting will be held Nov. 9 at 6:30 P.M.

(1) comment

Patrick Bilbrey

I expressed my concerns about the Paulson Road and Apollo Road developments at the city council meetings. My concerns about the Paulson Road development included location in the country and the fact that the development may be a gated community which is incompatible with the city's commitment to inclusion. My concerns about the Apollo Road development included direct access of motor vehicles to Apollo Road and lack of green space between Apollo Road and the east side of the development. I suggested that the development include a community garden since the development is being built on fertile agricultural land.

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