SEARCH FOR MINNETONKA REAL ESTATE
Minnetonka, which literally means the city of big water (minne for water and tonka for big), is one of the biggest cities in Minnesota (number 14 in terms of population. Lake Minnetonka’s (one of Minnesota’s largest lakes) eastern tip is located in the city.
Non residents may think that the city is the location of the entire lake because of its name. However, aside from the name Minnetonka, the only thing they share is a small portion of the Lake known as Gray’s Bay. Lake Minnetonka consists of about 14,000 acres and it is not surprising that while Minnetonka shares only a small portion of the entire lake, it is still among the favorite destinations of tourists.
Minnetonka Lake’s popularity to both residents and tourists can be attributed to its history as well as its inclusion in “The Song of Hiawatha”, an epic poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1855. The poem is a poetic narrative of Minnesota’s landmarks including the Minnehaha Falls and of course, the Minnetonka Lake.
Minnetonka Lake is perhaps one of the major reasons why Minnesota particularly Minnetonka is an attractive relocation site for those planning an executive relocation, professional relocation, corporate relocation and even employee relocation. The prospects of fishing on the Minnetonka Lake, which is becoming popular for fishing tournaments, has always been too much to resist for just about anyone. In fact it is being dangled by most relocation information brochures as one of the top benefits of relocating in Minnesota. The Lake is home to various game species including sunfish, northern pike, yellow perch and walleye.
Minnetonka is quite densely populated with 1,893 persons for every square mile. Not surprising considering its population of 51,301 people and 22,228 housing units as of the 2000 census. Majority or 94.40% of the population are Whites, followed by Germans (24.7%), Germans (13.8%) and a mixture of Irish, Swedish, English, Asians and African Americans.
Majority or around 56.6% of the 21,393 households are composed of married couples while 29.1% are households with minor children. The population is slight matured with a median age of 41 years. Surprisingly (considering the population density) Minnetonka has provided well for its residents, with only 1.5% of the families and around 2.6% of the total population living below poverty level.
The local government of Minnetonka has always been known for its pro- environmental stance. True enough, this once-wooded wilderness may have developed into a highly developed city but it has kept its suburban character. Minnetonka is very rich in history from the time the Dakotas and the Ojibway Indians settled near the lake. European settlers from Fort Snelling made their way to Minnetonka in 1822. It was finally sold to the United States in 1851.
The first big business established in Minnetonka is the Minnetonka Mill which employed 40 workers and built the very first suspension bridge connecting Mississippi River to various towns. The second floor of the mill also housed a furniture factory and produced hundreds of chairs and bedsteads at first and thousands several months after its operations started.
However, several uncontrollable factors like the drowning of the manager of the mill in 1857, the competition from the other mills at St. Anthony and a fire in 1860 caused the temporary demise of the mill until 1869 when the mill’s operations started again thanks to Thomas Perkins. The mill was managed by Charles Burwell from 1874 to the 1880s. His home is now included in the list of historical places and is a popular tourist attraction. Milling has played an important role in the continuous development of the city and nearby cities as well.
Private and public educational facilities are available in Minnetonka. The three school districts covering the city of Minnetonka are:
· The Hopkins School District (covers the central and eastern part of the city)
· Minnetonka School District (covers some portion of the western part of the city)
· Wayzata School District (covers some are in the northern border)
There are six elementary schools in Minnetonka namely: Clear Springs Elementary, Deephaven Elementary, Excelsior Elementary, Groveland Elementary, Minnewashta Elementary and Scenic Heights Elementary; two Junior high schools: Minnetonka Middle School East and Minnetonka Middle School West and one Senior High School: Minnetonka High School.
There are private educational facilities which can be an option for residents:
· Immaculate heart of Mary-a Catholic School which accepts preschool up to Eight grade
· Accell Academy-a college preparatory school accepting K-12
· St. John The Baptist-accepts Pre-k up to Grade 8
· Minnetonka Christian Academy
Government and Politics
While the city council (composed of the six council members and the mayor) exercises all policy and legislative making powers, it is the city manager who makes sure that the local legislations are implemented properly and that the city’s operations are going smooth.
Residents and those planning to relocate to Minnetonka should however take note that the city cannot refuse to divulge any information pertaining to the names and addresses of Minnetonka residents despite requests of confidentiality from the said residents themselves as such is considered part of public information.
One thing that should encourage residential and employee relocation is the homestead policy of the local government which allows residents to apply for homestead for properties they are occupying as primary residence. However, a property cannot be automatically classified as homestead property as the owner has to apply for homestead first. The following are qualified to apply for homestead:
- Residents who are occupying their property as their primary residence
- Relatives who are occupying the properties of qualified owners (subject to a special application to be made by both the property owner and occupant relative)
So why should you apply for a homestead?
- Owners of homestead properties can avail of lower property tax
- A property must be classified as a homestead as a pre-requisite for other special property taxes granted by the local government
Homeowners who want to apply for homestead should make sure they get a copy of their Warranty Deed and Certificate of Real Estate Value. However, they can also present the following documents:
- Contract of Deed
- Quit Claim
- Trustee’s Deed
- Personal Representative’s Deed
To apply for homestead, you can either visit City Hall to submit the pertinent documents or you can send your application by mail.
Other local ordinances
Those eyeing to get residential real estate, condominiums and other real estate properties in Minnetonka should take note and abide by the following basic community rules:
- Ordinance 835.015 provides that all garbage containers must not be exposed in public view and should only be taken out the evening before garbage collection day. Residents who, for some reasons or another, could not store their garbage containers should make sure they screen the garbage bins to hide it from public view
- Ordinance 1200.040 allows residents to use private wells that have been registered with Public Works.
- Residents are mandated to conserve water and sprinkling of lawns between 11Am and 5PM is prohibited. There is also an odd-even scheme they can follow for water sprinkling beyond these hours. However, washing the cars through a hand-held hose is allowed any time of the day.
- Ordinance 300.30 regulates the display and posting of signs. It primarily prohibits the posting of signs on trees, utility poles, off-premise or advertising signs and signs within public rights-of-way. Real estate signs signifying an open house are allowed but only during Weekends from noon to 6PM. Garage sale signs are allowed from Thursday to Saturday.
- Ordinance 845.030 provides restrictions on the length of brushes and long grasses on lawns and landscapes.
There are other community rules and regulations all aimed at keeping Minnetonka a safe and ideal community to live in. These restrictions however make the city more attractive to those looking at the possibility of purchasing residential real estate or other properties in the city because it is proof of the local government’s thrust in continuously improving the city’s living conditions.
Here is a link to the City Of Minnetonka website: http://eminnetonka.com
Learn about real estate market trends for over 100 cities in the Twin Cities metro area