August 11, 2009 Minutes

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council

FINAL Minutes: 8/11/09


Present:   Barb Stevens (Treasurer), Rhea Sullivan (Coordinator), Mari Taffe (Chair), Michael Wagner (Vice Chair)


Administrative Items


Secretary’s Report

  • The minutes of the July 14 meeting were approved with one correction.  “PVC” should read “PUC”.


       Treasurer’s Report

  • Treasurer Barb Stevens reported $5,854.19 and $481.09 in the development account.  


Monthly Updates


Council Member comments

  • The Council Member was not present.


Lakes District Council Update/MPRB
  • Barb Stevens attended the July meeting.  She reported that Tim Brown of the MPRB gave a water quality report about the City lakes.  Water levels are at their lowest since 1989 due to a lack of rainfall.  Water quality is good due to less run off.
  • The milfoil harvester cannot get through the channel between Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles because the water level is too low.  The MPRB currently has two harvesters.  The City limits how much milfoil can be harvested.  It can only be harvested to facilitate recreation, not for aesthetic reasons.  
  • Lake Calhoun Planning:  We need to send a “Letter of Connection” by October 1 to tell about our organization’s history with the lakes and hopes for the future of the Lake.  That will be on the agenda for our September 8 meeting.
  • Dan Woychick, Coordinator of the Lakes District Council, will be looking for a replacement next year.  He sets the agenda and writes the meeting notes.
  • Next meeting:  October 22 from 7-8:30 p.m.  Barb will continue to attend the quarterly meetings of the Lakes District Council.  She found it very informative.  
  • Regarding the MPRB race this fall – Tracy Nordstrom is not running.  Bob Fine is running “At Large.”
  • Barb noted that she got to see Regional Park usage data at the meeting.  Lake Calhoun is a draw for everyone.  There is a great deal of ethnic diversity in terms of lake usage.  
  • Mari Taffe reported that she accidentally sent an e-mail to Paul Hokeness rather than Paul Domholt regarding scheduling the mulching of new trees by volunteers.  She will connect with Paul Domholt.  Michael Wagner mentioned that he may be able to get volunteers from his building.  


Midtown Greenway Coalition

  • Michael Wagner reported that there will be a Progressive Dinner at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, August 28.  There will be 2-3 stops on the Greenway and dinner will be in the banquet room of the Chicago Lofts.
  • Hiawatha Xcel Project:  Michael reported that groups can register to be an intervener in the process.  It is going through an administrative law judge.  MGC has a lawyer and a blog was started:  This is a big issue that could affect policy on how power is routed.
  • Concern about at-grade crossings where streets cross the MGC.  They need to make it consistent across the greenway.  The crossings need to be marked consistently and should have the right of way, the MGC believes.  There have been collisions between bikes and cars at crossings in St. Louis Park and Hopkins.  Where there are two lanes there is a double threat — one lane of traffic may yield, but the other doesn’t.  The policy for marking these crossings needs to be consistent City wide and county wide on all bike trails.
  • Safety Program:  There is a police presence on the Greenway in the evenings.  It’s going well.  Probably won’t continue in winter.  There is a car patrol in the winter.  They drive down the greenway.  The 5th Precinct has a lot of bike cops.  
  • SW LRT:  Michael reported that a lot of information has recently been released regarding route planning for the SW LRT line, including estimates of cost and ridership.  A group from MGC will be meeting with City of Minneapolis Council Members, including Betsy Hodges.  The MGC supports route 3A that runs down the Kenilworth trail.  There was discussion about this.  Mari and Barb were concerned how this would affect the pristine nature of the Kenilworth Trail and the biking and walking trails.  Michael said that there will be a lot of discussion about how to mitigate noise in this area of urban forest.  It needs to be done well to keep the area quiet and residential.  Also, cost is a major issue.  In order to receive Federal funding, they need to hit a particular cost point per rider.  Michael stated that the Kenilworth route is probably the only route that would get Federal funding and that the project won’t happen without it


       Southwest Transitway (LRT)

  • This fall station planning will begin.  Noise mitigation will happen after the preferred route is decided.  
  • Network alignment – Michael reported that light rail doesn’t work well in highly congested urban areas.  The proposed trolley on the Midtown Greenway that could make frequent stops would be a better fit for the Uptown area.  In terms of network alignment, Metro Transit will run this system and will decide how the proposed lines match up with the current bus lines.  
  • There will be a West Lake station and a Cedar station.  It will end at the new ball park.  There was an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune about it recently.
  • There will continue to be a separate path on the Kenilworth trail for biking and walking.  Currently there is a freight line on the Kenilworth corridor with one north and one south track.  The line is operated by BNSF (Hennepin County Railroad Authority).  2015 is the projected end date for implementation of the SW Transitway.
  • Rhea and Mari will attend the public meeting on August 18 that begins at 6:30 p.m. at St. Louis Park City Hall.  Michael plans to attend on August 19.
  • Rhea, Mari and Michael will meet on August 20, after the community meetings, to discuss the proposed routes before Michael meets with Betsy Hodges.


Other Business


  • A couple of street vacations on property adjacent to the Midtown Greenway have recently been sent to the neighborhood.  Both street vacation applications were denied because both properties abut the greenway and may have possible future uses.  
  • This seemed a good opportunity to revisit our WCNC Zoning policies.  When Rhea receives a notice of a request for a variance or any other zoning notice, she will forward it to the Board.
  • WCNC will decide issues on a case-by-case basis.  If we agree with what the city is proposing, we will not take a position.
  • WCNC can decide to write a letter to oppose a variance request.
  • WCNC could send a representative to the public hearing if we feel strongly on a zoning issue.
  • WCNC Board members will go to look at a site before discussing a potential zoning variance issue.
  • Rhea will try to find the final version of our West Calhoun Guidelines for Development and forward them to Michael.  


WCNC Roster

  • Rhea Sullivan brought an updated WCNC roster for review.  Rhea will correct Barb’s e-mail address and send out the updated roster.


Weeding at the Access Point
  • Mari reported that Tree Trust volunteers recently weeded at the Midtown Greenway Access Point.


Fall Wavelength Newsletter
  • We will have a newsletter in October.  We will finalize details at our September meeting.  This issue will include:
    • SW LRT updates
    • The Bakken energy initiatives/car grant
    • Neighborhood Policing plan – Tom Thompson CCP/SAFE
    • Facebook page link
    • New businesses – Including Wakame Asian Bistro



      • Add Board photos and bios to our website.  
      • Can add Greg Benz photos with appropriate credits.



      • Barb has a potential new member, Christy, who may come to the September meeting.  


Action Items for September meeting

      • October Wavelength newsletter content
      • “Letter of connection” re: Lake Calhoun planning
      • Photos and bios for website – Rhea will bring camera


The meeting was adjourned at 8:25 p.m.


The next WCNC Board meeting will be held Tuesday, September 8, 2009, at 7:00 p.m. at The Bakken.


Respectfully submitted,


Rhea Sullivan

WCNC Coordinator