Construction may begin on a new single-family housing development near in the northwest portion of Stillwater later this year.
At its meeting July 1, the Stillwater City Council will consider approving a 55-home development, dubbed Rutherford Station, on 17.5 acres at the southeast corner of Manning Avenue and McKusick Road.
Chris Aamodt, the owner of Aamodt’s Apple Farm is seeking to build the project, which would encompass four existing properties. Three of them are currently part of Stillwater Township and would be annexed by the city.
According to Aamodt, the project has been in the works for years.
“I’ve had an interest in this property since back in 2005,” he said. “We’d actually done quite a bit of engineering and work on this site back then. Obviously, when the financial crisis hit, we put it on the shelf.”
Now he believes the timing is right. With the county planning improvements along Manning Avenue, and with completion of the Brown’s Creek Trail expected later this year, he hopes the timing may even be “perfect.” The trail, which will connect downtown Stillwater to the Gateway Trail, will run through the northern part of the development.
“The amenity is the trail stem,” Aamodt said. “Mom and dad and a couple kids can ride their bikes into downtown Stillwater.”
In planning the development, Aamodt said he is attempting to cater to the types of people looking to move into Stillwater today.
Of the 55 lots planned, 32 would be larger than 10,000 square feet, which means they could have “accessory dwelling units,” sometimes known as “mother-in-law apartments,” on the property. Aamodt said such structures are becoming more common.
He also believes outdoor living space is important to buyers today. That doesn’t necessarily mean a huge yard, he said, but it’s important that “back yards and front yards are all an extension of the house.”
To accommodate the project, Aamodt asked for a variance from city code to allow houses to be set back only 50 feet from Manning Avenue instead of 100. Community Development Director Bill Turnblad said the variance isn’t unusual for that area.
Aamodt also asked for a five-foot variance for side yards to allow the option of building attached garages.
Aamodt is also asking the city to annex the three parcels in Stillwater township.
According to Turnblad, the city has an orderly annexation agreement with the township that allows Stillwater to annex all the township land east of Manning Avenue and south of Highway 96 in stages, without township approval at each stage. Next year marks the final phase of the agreement, which means the city will have the right to annex the remainder of the land covered by the agreement. But the city can annex these properties early at the petition of all property owners.
The Stillwater Planning Commission gave its stamp of approval to the annexation and development plan June 11. It went before the Stillwater Parks and Recreation Commission June 23 and will go to the city council July 1.
Aamodt hopes to begin construction on a model home this fall in order to have it ready for the spring of 2015.
Contact Jonathan Young at [email protected]