Talks over future TCAAP development break down between Ramsey County, Arden Hills

Discussions between Ramsey County and Arden Hills over the future development of the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant have broken down as of Tuesday. 

A lawsuit was filed by the county last spring to end its power-sharing agreement with the city and that has now resumed, with the judge in the case ordering a hearing on March 19.

Kari Collins, Ramsey County director of community and economic development, issued the following statement to KSTP on Tuesday regarding the matter:

"Ramsey County filed a lawsuit in May 2019 against the City of Arden Hills seeking to terminate the current Joint Powers Agreement between the city and county. As part of the litigation, the judge required the two parties to enter into mediation which is now complete. On March 19, the Court will consider Ramsey County's Motion for Leave to Amend the Complaint, along with the Arden Hills' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and the Petition of the Housing Justice Center to intervene in the lawsuit. As the land owner, Ramsey County is committed to moving forward with this transformative development to include a mix of housing, retail and commercial property."

Arden Hills leaders envision a spacious suburban community that mirrors existing neighborhoods. However, county officials are concerned about a housing shortage and prefer dense development similar to urban tracts. 

City and county leaders, along with a mediator, have been meeting behind closed doors for six months. In the end, both sides could not reach an agreement to either proceed with redevelopment or end the power-sharing agreement that was guiding the development. 

A preliminary plan approved by both the city and county in 2016 called for a mix of offices, businesses and 1,460 housing units with 10% of them affordable.

County leaders now say that given the housing crunch in the region, they need to build as many as 2,500 homes with at least 20% of them affordable.

Ramsey County bought the site from the federal government in 2012 and has already spent more than $40 million on the project.

More from KSTP:

Work on Rice Creek Commons delayed by tighter groundwater rules

Ramsey County approves planned development at TCAAP site