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'Chelsea Commons'

Oct 13

Volunteer Opportunity: Help Us Make 'Chelsea Commons' A Reality

Posted to Community & Economic Development on October 13, 2021 at 6:27 PM by Haley Foster

Chelsea Groups VolunteerAs we work to make the Vision for Chelsea Commons a reality, we need your help! We’re looking for residents to participate in two working groups responsible for shaping components of the plan area.

Open Space Proposal Review Team

The City has requested proposals for the design of the first phase of public spaces and landscaping at Chelsea Commons. The proposal review team will evaluate the proposals submitted by consulting firms and assist in recommending consulting teams for interview and selection by the City Council. If you’re interested in landscaping, park, and open space planning; this is a great opportunity! You’ll be helping select a team to guide this portion of the project! The team will meet approximately three times within a 3-week period between Oct. 25 and Nov. 15, 2021. The review team has an opening for one community member-at-large. To volunteer, please send an email to with your name, address, and a short description of why you’re interested in serving no later than October 25, 2021. If you have any relevant background in landscape architecture or open space planning, please let us know.

Zoning Code Work Group

As a public-private venture, the character and quality of the private commercial and residential projects will have a big impact on the final project outcome. The City is forming a Zoning Ordinance Work Group to help define the uses that best fit the area, along with the best practices for building materials, landscaping, signage, and other site design requirements. If you’re interested in site planning, architecture, and urban design; the Zoning Work Group is an opportunity to share your thoughts for Chelsea Commons. The group will meet approximately four to five times between October and January 2021. The Zoning Working Group has an opening for one community member-at-large.  

If you’re interested in serving, please send an email to with your name, address, and a short description of why you’re interested in serving no later than October 25, 2021.  If you have any relevant background in urban planning or zoning, please share that information in your email.

Oct 13

Help Us Name the “Chelsea Commons” Project

Posted to Community & Economic Development on October 13, 2021 at 6:22 PM by Haley Foster

Chelsea Commons - Project Name

For nearly a year, the City of Monticello has been developing a plan for a new project encompassing approximately 100 acres of largely vacant land in the center of our community. 

Throughout the planning stages, the name “Chelsea Commons” has been used as a working project title. However, as we prepare to adopt the plan and begin bringing it to life, we need a new name for the area. Your feedback will be a part of how City Council makes their decision.

What is Chelsea Commons?

Chelsea Commons is envisioned as an exceptional neighborhood in which to live, work and play. It combines a mix of commercial services, residential living opportunities, and public open space amenities. Chelsea Commons is centered on a significant recreational water feature and surrounded by a series of interconnected public spaces for discovery. It is also a public-private partnership. It relies on private development, as well as a significant investment in the public infrastructure to create an exceptional amenity that serves both its immediate neighborhood and the community. It is, in short, a central component of Monticello’s vision, and how it sees itself into the future. But it is not the only one. Chelsea Commons fits into the fabric of the City’s significant investments in its downtown, and in the Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park. Each of these “Big Three” elements of the City’s present and future share the role in creation of a new place for the community to come together.

 Chelsea Commons - Concept Drawings

Where Did the Idea Come From?

The “Chelsea Commons” idea is a response to the many changes shaping the world around us. The Plan for the area is influenced by the long-term shifts from 2008 economic recession, the so-called “Amazon effect” on retailing and commerce, and the evolving trends in the ways people choose to spend their time and money. It also arrived at a time when Monticello was preparing the Monticello 2040 Vision Plan. We needed to reimagine how development in this space could best fit into the Monticello community.

Project Planning

The City Council is ultimately responsible for the decisions that will flow from the plan, and they have debated its pros and cons in several forums. Most of those forums have included one or all the City’s commissions, including Planning Commission; Parks, Arts, and Recreation Commission; and the Economic Development Authority. 

The landowners within the district were also a critical voice in the conceptual planning from the very beginning – before Council had even authorized proceeding with the Small Area Plan. It was imperative to city staff that Council understood landowner impressions of the project, as they’re vital partners in accomplishing the project vision.

Next Steps

The Planning Commission is holding a public hearing at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, September 27 to discuss the Chelsea Commons Small Area Plan. Then, at the 6:30 p.m. City Council meeting, Council will consider formally adopting the Small Area Plan. Help City Council name the 'Chelsea Commons' project by selecting your favorite name here!

Oct 13

Council Approves Adoption of ‘Chelsea Commons’ to the Monti2040 Comprehensive Plan - Sept. 27, 2021

Posted to Monticello City Council Highlights on October 13, 2021 at 6:20 PM by Haley Foster

City Council Approves Adoption of ‘Chelsea Commons’ to the Monti2040 Comprehensive Plan

The City Council approved Resolution 2021-73; approving an amendment to the Monticello 2040 Vision + Plan (Comprehensive Plan) adopting the Chelsea Commons Small Area Plan on Sept. 27, 2021.   A Small Area Plan is a detailed guide plan for a specific area of a community and becomes a part of how the city supports growth and development.

The Chelsea Commons Small Area Plan reimagines how a large land area in the core of Monticello will develop over time. It takes into consideration the changing ways people want to live, work, and play, creating a unique place which combines economic development opportunities, residential living, and public recreation. Chelsea Commons is intended to accelerate quality private development in the area and act as a catalyst for additional growth and community connection.

Chelsea Commons is centered on a series of small, interconnected lakes. The water is surrounded by a variety of pathways and public spaces for discovery.  Surrounding these public spaces will be a mix of commercial and residential environments.

A Joint Public-Private Venture

The plan is designed to inspire exceptional private development that values and builds on Chelsea Commons’ distinctive public areas. The final concept for Chelsea Commons capitalizes on the City’s existing land and infrastructure investments, preserving areas with the best potential for private development and creating public spaces for the benefit of the entire community.

PARC Recommendation

The PARC gave a unanimous recommendation to adopt the Chelsea Commons Small Area Plan, noting the public space in the plan area  fills a current park gap, benefiting existing neighborhoods and the greater community. The plan also incorporates a continued emphasis on community culture and authenticity.

City Administrator Rachel Leonard highlighted the fact that this plan is meant to play on the City’s strengths.
 “The City of Monticello has some amazing parks, it’s one of our strengths. We want to take that strength and apply it here as well,” said Leonard.
 The PARC agreed, adding that the Chelsea Commons plan fits into the fabric of the City’s significant investments in its Downtown, parks and pathway system, and in the Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park.

Planning Commission Recommendation 

The Monticello Planning Commission held a public hearing on Sept. 27, 2021. Public concerns related to the closure of Dundas Road were noted to the Commission, with business owners requesting additional involvement as plans progress. Community Development Director Angela Schumann explained how the plan and planning efforts addressed those concerns to-date.

“There was a specific traffic workshop that was held, and we did invite a certain radius area, including the Oakwood Industrial Park, to attend that workshop. In addition to that workshop, there was a follow up overview workshop which included a traffic analysis component,” said Schumann. “Regarding the information on the traffic analysis, that is an appendix, and is fully available as part of the Small Area Plan online,” she noted.

Another concern expressed to the Commission was that Chelsea Commons would take away from Monticello’s existing parks. Planning Commission member Eric Hagen addressed the concern.

“This [Chelsea Commons] is in addition to those existing parks. We’ve had a lot of similar questions about this like, ‘is this going to take away from our Downtown small area plan?’ Or ‘Why here?’ This is a great spot that’s close to I-94, it’s close to a lot of amenities, shops, and thoroughfares that drive a lot of traffic into this area. And why this area specifically for a park? Because of the living aspect,” said Hagen, “We want to fund this area [Chelsea Commons] with this feeling, we want to focus on downtown with its own special benefits; and… It’s not going to take money away from other parks,” he added.

The Planning Commission ended the meeting with a unanimous recommendation to adopt the Chelsea Commons Small Area Plan, noting the plan meets 13 of the Monticello 2040 Vision + Plan  strategies and goals.

Connecting the Community

“[Chelsea Commons is] an ambitious plan representing consistency with Monticello’s 2040 community vision: supporting sustainable growth while maintaining the character of the community and promoting a prosperous economy,” Community Development Director Angela Schumann stated.

Chelsea Commons is distinctive from other projects in the community but remains connected to each. This plan will be a central component of how Monticello sees itself in the future and a statement of Monticello’s commitment to creating a sense of belonging and connection as the community grows.

Chelsea Commons will be a magnet for the Monticello community and beyond. Please note: Chelsea Commons is a working title, City Council will discuss a final project name after receiving public feedback.