Client Ryland Homes
Location Blaine, Minnesota
Scope 87.5-acre residential development

Preserve at Legacy Creek

Project Details

Westwood’s Role 

  • Surveying; Construction Staking and Final Platting
  • Civil Engineering; Site Design, Grading Design, Utilities, Lift Station
  • Planning & Entitlements
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Environmental Wetland Approvals
  • Construction Observation, Management, & Administration

Overview

As the Great Recession loosened its grip on this stalled 87.5-acre residential development, the developer enlisted Westwood’s expertise with its valuable knowledge from working on earlier phases of this north Twin Cities-metro area project. With a little over 30 acres in wetlands and open space, the 56.6 net-acres were developed into 65-75 foot-wide lots with woodland, lake, and pond views.

Overcoming Obstacles

About 60 acres of the development was a forested marshy lowland area, with sandy soil; the land was home to a multitude of mature, high-value trees which were under scrutiny for saving; the terrain was low with a high water table; a county judicial ditch ran through the entire property and needed to be rerouted; and in 2004, a wetland delineation detailed 19 wetlands. Westwood’s environmental scientists performed a wetland hydrology study and re-delineation of the site which was successful in reducing the jurisdictional wetlands to only the County ditch on the northern portion of the site. With this wetland reduction, the site’s northern portion was able to be developed.

But the biggest challenge was getting the re-delineation and rerouting of the County ditch through the complex approval and entitlement process with the city, the county, the watershed district, the water conservation board, and the MPCA.

Cost Saving Solutions

Unconventional thinking and detailed environmental studies were necessary in order to maximize the development potential in the face of site conditions/challenges and city restrictions. The land was originally too low for deep-basement home sites. So, to save the client the million dollars it would take to haul in dirt, Westwood designed in a series of lakes and ponds to get the dirt needed for full basements and to balance out the water table and drainage issues. An area lift station was needed, as well, which Westwood designed and oversaw the construction of.

With all the constraints on this property, having the needed civil, environmental, and surveying services under one roof assured the project stayed on track. Westwood turned plans around seamlessly within six months.