Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Rochester City Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing Monday afternoon concerning a request to annex 80 acres of land along 40th Street Southeast for a new Rochester School District Middle School.

The school project was approved by voters last fall, but even before the vote, some members of the City Council and the city administration voiced objections to the school district's plans to build on the so-called Hart Farms site. Those objections mainly involve the potential cost of the infrastructure associated with new home construction linked to the new school and the school district's long-range plans that include the possibility of a future high school and elementary school at the same site.

Critics of the plan argue the long-range plans for the site are not consistent with the comprehensive development plan that was recently adopted by the City Council. They have been pushing the public school system to look at some alternate sites for the new middle school in Northwest Rochester, including a parcel of land available infrastructure that a developer has offered to donate.

The School District has stated the middle school plan involves only a portion of the property that is in an area where the development is consistent with the comprehensive plan and the possible high school and elementary school projects would be many years in the future when development in that part of the city could more closely match the comprehensive plan's timetable. The school system also argues the southwest site is better suited for meeting the education needs of the community.

The Rochester Planning and Zoning Commission recently recommended against the annexation.

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