City Council Approves Adoption of ‘Chelsea Commons’ to the Monti2040 Comprehensive Plan
The City Council approved Resolution 2021-73; approving an amendment to the Monticello 2040 Vision + Plan (Comprehensive Plan) adopting the Chelsea Commons Small Area Plan on Sept. 27, 2021. A Small Area Plan is a detailed guide plan for a specific area of a community and becomes a part of how the city supports growth and development.
The Chelsea Commons Small Area Plan reimagines how a large land area in the core of Monticello will develop over time. It takes into consideration the changing ways people want to live, work, and play, creating a unique place which combines economic development opportunities, residential living, and public recreation. Chelsea Commons is intended to accelerate quality private development in the area and act as a catalyst for additional growth and community connection.
Chelsea Commons is centered on a series of small, interconnected lakes. The water is surrounded by a variety of pathways and public spaces for discovery. Surrounding these public spaces will be a mix of commercial and residential environments.
A Joint Public-Private Venture
The plan is designed to inspire exceptional private development that values and builds on Chelsea Commons’ distinctive public areas. The final concept for Chelsea Commons capitalizes on the City’s existing land and infrastructure investments, preserving areas with the best potential for private development and creating public spaces for the benefit of the entire community.
The PARC gave a unanimous recommendation to adopt the Chelsea Commons Small Area Plan, noting the public space in the plan area fills a current park gap, benefiting existing neighborhoods and the greater community. The plan also incorporates a continued emphasis on community culture and authenticity.
City Administrator Rachel Leonard highlighted the fact that this plan is meant to play on the City’s strengths.
“The City of Monticello has some amazing parks, it’s one of our strengths. We want to take that strength and apply it here as well,” said Leonard.
The PARC agreed, adding that the Chelsea Commons plan fits into the fabric of the City’s significant investments in its Downtown, parks and pathway system, and in the Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park.
Planning Commission Recommendation
The Monticello Planning Commission held a public hearing on Sept. 27, 2021. Public concerns related to the closure of Dundas Road were noted to the Commission, with business owners requesting additional involvement as plans progress. Community Development Director Angela Schumann explained how the plan and planning efforts addressed those concerns to-date.
“There was a specific traffic workshop that was held, and we did invite a certain radius area, including the Oakwood Industrial Park, to attend that workshop. In addition to that workshop, there was a follow up overview workshop which included a traffic analysis component,” said Schumann. “Regarding the information on the traffic analysis, that is an appendix, and is fully available as part of the Small Area Plan online,” she noted.
Another concern expressed to the Commission was that Chelsea Commons would take away from Monticello’s existing parks. Planning Commission member Eric Hagen addressed the concern.
“This [Chelsea Commons] is in addition to those existing parks. We’ve had a lot of similar questions about this like, ‘is this going to take away from our Downtown small area plan?’ Or ‘Why here?’ This is a great spot that’s close to I-94, it’s close to a lot of amenities, shops, and thoroughfares that drive a lot of traffic into this area. And why this area specifically for a park? Because of the living aspect,” said Hagen, “We want to fund this area [Chelsea Commons] with this feeling, we want to focus on downtown with its own special benefits; and… It’s not going to take money away from other parks,” he added.
The Planning Commission ended the meeting with a unanimous recommendation to adopt the Chelsea Commons Small Area Plan, noting the plan meets 13 of the Monticello 2040 Vision + Plan strategies and goals.
Connecting the Community
“[Chelsea Commons is] an ambitious plan representing consistency with Monticello’s 2040 community vision: supporting sustainable growth while maintaining the character of the community and promoting a prosperous economy,” Community Development Director Angela Schumann stated.
Chelsea Commons is distinctive from other projects in the community but remains connected to each. This plan will be a central component of how Monticello sees itself in the future and a statement of Monticello’s commitment to creating a sense of belonging and connection as the community grows.
Chelsea Commons will be a magnet for the Monticello community and beyond. Please note: Chelsea Commons is a working title, City Council will discuss a final project name after receiving public feedback.