Client Pemtom
Location North Oaks, Minnesota
Scope 70-acre, 63-lot high-end residential development
Contractor Mattamy Homes

Charley Lake Preserve

Project Details

Westwood’s Role  

  • Planning and Entitlements
  • Visualization and Graphics
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Civil Engineering Site Design
  • Construction Management and Administration
  • Topographic Surveying, Construction Staking


On the grounds of a former convent in the exclusive private community of North Oaks, this 70-acre, 63-lot, high-end residential development faced much vocal opposition and many moving parts. In order to gain the approvals of the City and surrounding residents, creative planning was required to respect the unique nature of the site which included woodlands, rolling terrain, wetlands, and lake frontage.

Addressing Neighborhood Concerns

The biggest challenge was getting through the political process on multiple levels with many stakeholders involved. The initial project proposal provided for the development of 123 “clustered” home sites on the property. Adjacent neighboring residents viewed the current use of the property as an ideal neighbor and were opposed to change that brought this additional density. This vocal opposition made gaining approvals tough. The proposed project was initially tabled, and after many neighborhood meetings with residents and the City, the developer agreed to cut the density in half to win the support of the neighborhood and the City. 

Westwood’s creativity in adapting the layout, lot size, and density to appease the opposition got the project approved. Westwood designed open space around the development to preserve significant buffer spaces for the neighbors and a large expanse of woodland. The plan included a comprehensive trail system throughout. To help residents visualize the project, Westwood provided color renderings, presentations, and examples of similar projects to tour.

Westwood maximized the development potential for the site in the face of restrictions from the City and private community. Because North Oaks is a private community, the entire infrastructure is privately held by an association. In order to service the site, water, sewer, and roads needed to be extended from and coordinated with the neighboring city, township, and county. Westwood coordinated the complex infrastructure development with multiple agencies.

Westwood worked around the extensive demolition effort of the old convent in order to finish the infrastructure in time to get a model home up for the coming spring. Dealing with multiple and difficult elements, Westwood’s horsepower under one roof bridged the gap between the city, the community, the developer, and the builder to get things done quickly and efficiently.