Eco-friendly housing project rankles Eden Prairie residents - FOX 35 News Orlando

Eco-friendly housing project rankles Eden Prairie residents

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A proposal for a new, environmentally-friendly housing project has some Eden Prairie residents pushing back because they are concerned that the density could impact traffic and property values.

The plan calls for 36 homes to be built on an 8-acre lot, but the city believes the project is essential to provide much-needed affordable housing for new families and empty nesters. Affordable, of course, is in the eye of the beholder.

Just off Highway 212, what seems like the last prairie in Eden Prairie can be found -- but if the city has its way, it'll be developed into Eden Gardens, where single-family homes would be priced between $345,000 and $420,000.

In Eden Prairie, those properties would be considered to be in the middle price range, and they would be designed with couples like Sam and Jennifer Ourada -- who are expecting their first child -- in mind.

"We like Eden Prairie, but some of the homes are a little out of our price range," the couple conceded.

Not everyone is sold on the idea, however. The new development would be located in the backyard of an older, more established and more expensive neighborhood known as Fairfield. Those residents are worried about additional traffic and noise, and they are also concerned the less-expensive homes could pull down their property values.

Yet, the developer argues the project would create one of the first truly certified green neighborhoods in the metro, featuring solar street lighting and all-reusable materials.

City leaders believe diversity in housing is key to keeping Eden Prairie a thriving place where people can work, live and start families -- and the city is the true engine behind the plan. In fact, it took the unusual step of buying the land from MnDOT and reselling it to the developer.

The plan still must clear the City Council in April. If approved, construction would begin in the fall and houses could be available for sale next spring.

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