Minnesotans Split Over Sod Farmland

<p>Ham Lake, Minnesota, residents are torn over the best way to preserve the rural character of their St. Paul suburb.</p>
May 26, 2008, 11am PDT | thalbur
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"The Ham Lake City Council has drawn a line in the sod.

On one side is the mayor, who says it's time to let landowners develop sod fields without city restrictions that call for a minimum of one acre of land for each house.

"Instead of spreading 40 houses over 40 acres, what I'd like to do is take these 40 houses, cluster them," said Mayor Paul Meunier. "Use 5 or 6 acres for housing and turn the rest back to its natural habitat. You'd have wetlands, wildlife preserves that guarantee open space forever. We'd maintain our rural character."

But that's not how things have been done before in Ham Lake, say other members of the City Council.

"One acre, one house," said Joey Erikson, one of four City Council members who support the current development plan.

"I support future farm-sod development," Erikson said. "I've seen the great developments that have occurred in Blaine. But I don't support cluster.""

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Published on Saturday, May 24, 2008 in Star Tribune, Minneapolis-St. Paul
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