PINE ISLAND — In a quick, special meeting, the Pine Island City Council approved a development deal to create a new subdivision.

"That New Haven Road going (on the west side of the development) is kind of a crappy road," said Mayor Rod Steele, who gaveled in his last city council meeting Wednesday night. "It hasn’t been well maintained. This developer asked the city to develop a 10-ton blacktop road there."

The agreement passed by a 4-0 vote with Steele, who is a Realtor in the city, abstaining.

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Bigelow Homes is working with the city on the new subdivision that would include 16 single-family homes and 13 twin homes (26 units) for a total of 42 homes. The developer has asked the city for improvements to New Haven Road, a township road that runs north and south on the west side of the development and just west of Pine Island Elementary School.

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Development of the road would cost roughly $350,000 to $400,000. A quarter of that cost would be assessed to the developer, according to the agreement.

While most developments include parkland, Steele said the city has asked the developer instead to include a bituminous path from the development area, which is north and west of the school property, to the Douglas Trail and along Olmsted County Road 5, which runs east-west along the south side of the school property.

"The school has a nice playground, so making another park didn’t make sense," Steele said.

The reason the agreement was passed during a special council meeting, he said, is because the city has so few buildable lots available. It's a good problem because it shows the city is growing.

"We’re down to practically a handful," Steele said. "We’re going to hit close to 30 building permits (issued in 2020), which is incredible for a town our size."

Other Cities' Building Room

By comparison, Chatfield issued eight new home construction permits in 2020, according to City Clerk Joel Young.

"There are approximately 12 lots available on Amco Drive and Amco Lane and another nine lots are currently being platted on Wisdom Lane," Young said of Chatfield. "There are also a number of in-fill lots available throughout the community."

Byron's city administrator, Mary Blair-Hoeft, said her city has plenty of lots available. After issuing 46 new residential building permits in 2020, the city has 105 single-family lots and 27 duplex/triplex lots available for construction.

Meanwhile, in Eyota the city issued six new single-family residential construction permits in 2020. On top of that, two new triplexes were built by Vicki Arendt.

"I’m not sure if Vicki will build more in 2021 yet or not," said City Clerk Marlis Knowlton. "If she does, there is the potential of two more buildings each with three units."

Knowlton said the new Aurora Rising subdivision should have 20 new lots available for 2021 as well.

Stewartville City Clerk Cheryl Roeder said the city issued permits for 13 residential homes and one 55-unit apartment complex in 2020.

Between current lots available and ones in development, the city should have 29 single-family lots, 39 patio-home lots and 62 townhome lots in 2021.

City Infrastructure Additions

In addition to paving a section of New Haven Road, the agreement in Pine Island calls for the city to run sewer and water to the lots. This phase one would be on the northern edge of the development area. A second phase could be developed west of the school.

Steele said growth in the area was inevitable, especially when the elementary school was built south of the main body of Pine Island. The other factor that made development inevitable was the "Elk Run" interchange and the extension of County Road 5/125th Street from the interchange at U.S. Highway 52 to the elementary school.

"What we like about that area is that development to the highway is two minutes from the highway, and from the highway to Walmart is 7 minutes," Steele said. "Rochester is growing north, the (Twin) Cities are growing south, and we’re right in the middle of those."