Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wayzata Bay Center

It looks like the south shore of Lake Minnetonka is not alone in handwringing over what the new development should look like. Our friends on the north side of the lake are entertaining the third proposal in five years to redevelop the Wayzata Bay Center.


Wayzata is obviously on a different scale than the hamlets on the south shore, but the issue is not all that different: How much leeway on factors such as density or building height should be given to an "anchor" project, one that will set the tone of the community for decades to come. It isn't unlike Tonka Bay taking great care in what happens at the Tonka Bay Center, or Excelsior being careful about what goes in on Water Street, or Deephaven being cautious when it comes to new development at Chowen's Corner.

While we can sometimes be too restrictive to developers who want to use their resources and creativity to help improve our cities, there is a reason for due process on big projects like this. What the Wayzata Bay Center redevelopment is asking for -- a height variance of nearly 100% for starters -- will require careful consideration and community input. In the end, I think the entire community (which I consider the south shore to be part of) will benefit from the Wayzata Bay Center location being thriving and energetic, however that may best occur.

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