New Prague Commons gets green light from council

Patrick Fisher, Staff Writer

The New Prague City Council unanimously approved several aspects for New Prague Commons at its meeting Monday, Aug. 6, paving the way for the retail center featuring a Coborn's Grocery Store.

Among the items up for approval was the final plat for the development, which will be on the east side of New Prague and south of Highway 13/19. The plat established the property lines for New Prague Commons. The site covers about 14.3 acres and includes two out lots. One will have the grocery store and the retail center, and the other is for future development of independent businesses. Coborn's, a family-owned grocery chain based in the St. Cloud area, will be the anchor tenant of the development.

New Prague City Planner Renee Christianson presented information to the council about New Prague Commons. Urban Associates, Inc., is developing the area, and is forming a separate company, New Prague Commons LLC, to manage the development.

Christianson said the access and transportation plan for the area was the most controversial. There will be five access points to the site, three off Chalupsky Avenue and two from Alton Avenue, which produced the controversy.

New Prague has an agreement with Scott and Le Sueur counties and Lanesburgh Township about the street, which still has to be developed. Alton Avenue will provide a route through the two counties and is to have limited access points. A compromise that was reached will allow full access to the site from the two spots on Alton for a period of five years. At that time, access will be restricted with the north access limited to right-in and right-out for traffic and the south access only allowing right-in traffic.

Landscaping will be required on the southwest side of the development, which is adjacent to a residential area. Evergreen and oak trees will be planted, and a small berm will be included to provide screening.

Daniel Peterson, a resident who lives along Praha Street SE, explained he will have a service road near his property. He has several trees providing screening and asked if those trees are removed, will they be replaced. He was also concerned that utility easements near his property might be dug up.

New Prague Public Works Director Dennis Seurer said the city's utilities department notifies property owners before crews start digging.

The developer's agreement, a conditional use permit and an access agreement for New Prague Commons were other items approved by the council.

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