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Rolling Oaks: New Public Hearing set for June 23

Do the mayor and council care about tax paying homeowners, or are they more interested in cozying up to developers? Attend the Rolling Oaks public hearing at City Hall, 7:00 PM, June 23 and find out. You’ll recall that 10 homeowners on Rolling Oaks Circle were being assessed upwards of $900,000 for street and sewer and water improvements so Pulte, a national developer, could build 130 expensive homes on nearby undeveloped land. It’s one thing to call for improvements when they’re needed and expect property owners to cover the cost. It’s another when they’re not needed, and the benefits go to a developer out to make huge profits. City officials have been busy trying to reduce the cost to Rolling Oaks homeowners by deferring some of the expense and moving funds around to make the costs more affordable—a neat PR move, but, itself, a bad precedent. They’ve even suggested property owners should subdivide and sell their land to help cover the cost of the assessments and went back to the developer, hat in hand, asking for an $85,000 donation to help pay for the improvements—when the developer should be compelled to pay for all of them. The mayor and council called off a public hearing set for May 27 so city staff could conduct further negotiations with the homeowners. The mayor and council are in charge and accountable to voters. Why not direct city staff to negotiate with Pulte, or, better yet, demand that Pulte pay for the improvements? That’s where the money is, not 10 homeowners, some retired and living on fixed incomes. City staff cites a 1.5 million dollar impact fee being paid by the developer while conveniently ignoring the $900,000 assessment foisted on 10 homeowners. The 130 homes will sell for $400,000 up to as much as a million dollars. A 1.5 million dollar impact fee is a lot of money, but it’s a fraction of the profits the developer will make on the project. Nor will the impact fee cover the full costs of additional schools, police and fire protection, and effects on the environment, road congestion, noise and the overall quality of life for Prior Lake residents. The developer will go away but we’ll be left to pay for the rest.