Herald JournalHerald Journal, April 4, 2005

Streets too narrow in LP development

By Ryan Gueningsman
Staff Writer

Several key reasons led to a special Lester Prairie City Council meeting last Monday regarding the East Park Estates Development.

The width of the streets in East Park Estates, which are smaller than what city ordinance states, and to which a variance was not obtained, was the focal point of the meeting. The narrower streets also mean 15-foot boulevards. What's in it for YOU?

Developer Lenny Juncewski said the street width had been discussed at earlier meetings regarding the development, and noted from the start, he intended to make the streets the same width as those in the Prairie Ridge development, which is 31.5 feet wide. City ordinance calls for street width to be 40 feet paved.

“If I needed a variance, you should have told me,” Juncewski told the council. “I would have applied for one.”

Juncewski’s wife, Linda, said in the past, they have been told by the engineers about the variances that needed to be obtained.

Mayor Eric Angvall said he was surprised no variances were being asked for in regard to the project, noting the narrower streets mean savings to the developer.

Discussion ensued about how the difference in street width was missed by Juncewskis’ engineers, the city, and the city’s engineers.

“We all screwed up somehow, it would appear,” Angvall said, adding that nothing was ever attempted to be “hidden” or intentionally missed by the Juncewskis.

Eric Parrott, representing the city’s engineering firm Short Elliott Hendrickson, had no clear answers as to why the street width was missed, as he was not the person who worked on the project.

Tom Homme, who was the project representative, had other commitments last Monday night, Parrott said.

“I’ll visit with Tom to see if he has any additional input,” Parrott said.

At this point, it appears a variance still needs to be obtained for the smaller streets, in order to satisfy legal requirements, even though the streets are already in place.

City Clerk Marilyn Pawelk will research what needs to be done to rectify the situation. A public hearing for the variance will more than likely take place, with the affected property owners receiving notice.

There was also the question whether tracer wire was placed in the water lines, as city maintenance staff has been unable to locate any.

The Juncewskis’ engineer, Ryan Gideon of Westwood Professional Services of St. Cloud, said there was tracer wire put in.

Juncewski also updated the council, noting that there were just nine lots left in the development, plus town homes.

“I never dreamt it would go that fast,” Juncewski said.

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