By Erin Hassanzadeh

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities community is fighting back against plans for a new development in their city.

It’s happening on a piece of land along Spring Road in Eden Prairie. A petition claims the project will wipe out more than 450 trees to make space to build 50 new homes.

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There were more than 70 signed up to speak Tuesday night, most opposed to a housing development that would be called Noble Hill. Essentially, the city would have to rezone the area from rural to residential. But the fresh water nearby is a huge reason these neighbors want to know more about before anything is built in that area.

On stilts, by foot, some with papier-mâché bumble bees, a group marched to the Eden Prairie City Council meeting Tuesday to call for the protection of the Fredrick-Miller Spring.

Jesse Mercado lives near Riley Creek and the natural spring.

“There’s been people coming here for 50 years getting water,” Mercado said.

(credit: CBS)

When WCCO stopped by Tuesday, people were seen filling jug after jug from the spring.

“There’s another gentleman that drove all the way from Wisconsin to come get water for his sick father, and he claims that’s what’s keeping him healthy,” Mercado said.

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Chesney Engquist is a concerned spring user.

“We really are all connected through this water, and we really all share the concern for protecting the contiguous habitat,” Engquist said.

The group, and the thousands that have signed a petition, want an independent environmental impact review of a proposed townhome development that may go up near the spring.

“I have heard folks, you know, really saying they don’t feel heard, and I feel concerned about that because we all have a right to healthy water,” Engquist said.

The developer, Pulte Homes, had a representative at Tuesday night’s meeting. They said the company has taken steps to protect the environment around this site, saying in part, “we believe our development will work in harmony with the local environment while proving much needed housing.”

They hired someone to do an environmental review, but a retired University of Minnesota professor is questioning those findings.

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The call here is for a third-party review to identify any potential impacts to the environment in that area.

Erin Hassanzadeh