STOP the Main Street School 65-unit housing project

STOP the Main Street School 65-unit housing project

September 2, 2022
Signatures: 1,238Next Goal: 1,500
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Why this petition matters

This petition serves as a statement of opposition to the proposed 65 unit affordable housing project in North Branch on Highway 95/St. Croix Trail and 3rd Avenue. 

For the betterment of this community and the future planning of this space and neighborhood, I do not support this proposed affordable housing project, for the following reasons:

Location:  Our city has been developing many forms of affordable housing in the past couple years, and I believe there are more appropriate areas to build a complex of this size and magnitude that would be a better fit.  There is an existing seven-acre site specifically set up for affordable housing that is controlled by the Economic Development Authority (EDA) and the city of North Branch, and it accommodates this specific type of multi housing complex that is not in a single-family residential park or green space area.  The city currently has affordable family housing, mental health housing, and senior housing available.

Intent:  The original use of the proposed property was for a small school.  The school was built back in the 1900's to accommodate the city's growth.  When the property was sold in the last decade, the intended use and sale was based on the idea of developing a green space and turning it into a public park.  However, this project was never approved or completed.

Size and Complexity:  The property currently sits in a "Single Family Residential Neighborhood".  The size and complexity of the proposed project does not fit the plot of land for the following reasons and rationale.

A. Safety:  There are 15,000 vehicles traveling on Highway 95 daily, this location and added traffic will put children at risk crossing a busy road to get to school.  This housing unit would be too close to the school and four-way stop that it would cause bussing delays, traffic delays, and backups that are already in existence today.  The added traffic from a project of this magnitude will only exacerbate the existing traffic flow problems and cause significant delays for school buses, students, parents transporting children to school, and emergency vehicles having to make their way through this area.  It will also create unnecessary traffic flow patterns throughout the surrounding neighborhood due to limited access to Highway 95.

B. Historical Residential Single-Family Neighborhood:  The proposed affordable housing project does not fit in at all with the existing green space environment or the current single-family homes.  I would like to help preserve the overall current environment of the neighborhood, and not support an overly large apartment complex that is too big for the space.  This is our "Main Street", and this type of three-story building does not fit with the existing space or aesthetics of the neighborhood.

C. Public Input:  Finally, and most importantly, this project was rushed through due to city operations:

1. There was NO review by the volunteer boards i.e., the Planning Commission and EDA magnitude.

2. There was not a formal notice given to the neighbors or input from them for a project of this

3. There were no public hearings.   This project would have a HUGE impact on this neighborhood and our community, and there was no notification or opportunity for community input.


As stated above, a project of this size and magnitude would be an enormous change to the Eastside neighborhood.  It is a very unsafe location for a complex with 3- and 4-bedroom units that will potentially house many children.  The amount of traffic on State Highway 95 will only increase in the coming years.  If one of our existing residents wanted to build a shed too close to their property line, neighboring homes would be sent a letter of notification and a public hearing would be held, just for a shed.  However, there was NOTHING for an entire housing unit consisting of three stories, 65 units, and an underground parking garage.  We can do better as a city and provide more transparency to collectively develop our city.  Not only is this hurtful to our residents, but it is also of great concern that the residents in the direct vicinity were never even notified or given the opportunity to provide their input.

Examples:  This was approved in mid-June by a 3-1 vote, there was not even a full city council.  The plan was to table this until June 28th, which could have left enough time to secure a letter of acceptance from the council after proper notification was given.  That did not happen; therefore, the families in that neighborhood were neglected by their elected officials.

Due to the reasons stated above, I have chosen to sign this form letter.  It clearly spells out my thoughts and concerns regarding the location, intent, size and complexity, safety, historic insight, lack of public/resident input, and examples of why I am signing this letter on this potential project. 

The project is not the issue, the issue is specifically the location, size and complexity, safety, and lack of public/resident input.  There are other suitable locations for this project. 

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Signatures: 1,238Next Goal: 1,500
Support now