I am NOT a Reporter

MendotaHomesAtCouncil.jpgGriff Wigley found out that I was going to the City Council meeting and he asked me to bring my camera and take a picture. I guess it was like getting a note from my doctor or something.

Pictured at left is John Mathern, giving an update on the Crossing to the Council. He said he was there to discuss “minor changes” in the project, that 50% of the units in the first building are sold, that the second building will be “luxury rental” units, and that he’d be back before the Council with final plans in July, August or September. When asked for more specifics on the units sold, he said that they had “20-some non-contingent purchase agreements” and that “the closings would occur in August, September and October”. When asked about the completion date for the Riverwalk work, he said that it was tied to the second building. So, I guess that means August, September or October.

Other agenda items included the City’s proposed new Stormwater Management Plan. Not many people are interested in this topic but they should be. The plan will be gradually introduced to the public through a series of Open Houses. The Council also approved letting bids on the landscaping project for the corner of Highway 3 and 3rd Street. This was the historic entrance to downtown and hopefully the planned work will contribute to traffic calming and transportation safety at that crucial location in our community.

Then they got to my topic, “Items related to Fargaze Meadows Second Addition”. There were two recommendations forwarded from the Planning Commission on this project. As Chair of the Planning Commission, I thought I would follow-up on the topic. After hearing people in that neighborhood share their concerns, including a half dozen in voice and a half dozen in presence at the most recent meeting, it was clear to the Commission that the people wanted safer streets, sidewalks on both sides of the road, and connected bike paths. It was clear that several Council members don’t really care for sidewalks. Comments were made that sidewalks were not a good use of money, that they were unnecessary for pedestrian safety, and that they were bad for the environment. There was much discussion about “what was the Planning Commission thinking?” Although I was standing in the back of the room, jumping up and down and waving my hand to explain, I must have been invisible. Perhaps I’d inadvertently slipped on Harry Potter’s magic cloak in anticipation of the big event next Friday night. At any rate, the Council voted, narrowly, to support the Commission’s recommendation. I’ve got news for you guys, you are going to be seeing more and more recommendations with two sides of walkways, safer street designs, and connected bike trails.

The Council then spent over an hour discussing changing the requirments for a concept plan for an annexation request. Two property owners in Bridgewater Township [Oops, Greenvale Township] have requested that Northfield annex 452 acres into the city. The parcels are located a bit northwest of the hospital and the EDA has been looking at creating a third business park in that location. A number of people in the audience were quite surprised by this topic. Several of the Council members had a few questions too. The Council voted to reduce the concept plan requirements for the land in this particular annexation process.

It was shortly after 9 pm at this point. There were two more topics, including the proposed Rental Ordinance. There were 60 people in the Council Chambers, 20 more watching by television monitor in the hallway, and, by my estimate, another 20 that were being contacted by cell phone as the topic approached. That’s 100 people, each speaking for their allocated 2 minutes. You do the math; I went home.

As I said, I am not a reporter. If you want to know about the Rental Ordinance discussion, ask Suzy Rook.

9 comments to I am NOT a Reporter

  • 1
    Jerry Bilek says:

    ‘ It was clear that several Council members don’t really care for sidewalks. Comments were made that sidewalks were not a good use of money, that they were unnecessary for pedestrian safety, and that they were bad for the environment. There was much discussion about “what was the Planning Commission thinking?” ‘

    really, council members don’t care for sidewalks? why? I don’t get it. Aren’t the sidewalks in new construction paid for by the builders? I lived in a neigborhood on the north side of Northfield, that had some sidewalks, but other streets did not. I was mystified that sidewalks were lacking. walking my daughter to school was nuts. Lockwood dr behind Greeenvale has no sidewalk on a blind curve. this is an accident waiting to happen. we walked through the yards of our neighbors where the sidewalks should have been.

  • 2
    Ross Currier says:

    Jerry:

    When I come in to pick up my book, I’ll tell you which three Council members with whom you need to share your stories.

    See you then,

    Ross

  • 3
    Griff Wigley says:

    C’mon, Ross, don’t tease us! Who? Who? Who?

    Thanks for that report on The Crossing. In today’s Nfld News:
    New plan for second Crossing building explained

  • 4
    Betsey Buckheit says:

    Yes, Ross, as a former chair of the Planning Commission I know that invisible feeling very well…but thanks for reporting on the Far Gaze discussion and sticking up for sidewalks.

    The Council approved the creation of the Non-Motorized Transportation Task Force (I’m a member), so at least a bare minimum seems to believe that sidewalks and other pedestrian encouragement are important enough for such a group. I’ve also talked to several new residents of Northfield who relocated to older neighborhoods in Northfield because the streets have sidewalks and are walkable scale as well as a few folks from Jerry’s old neighborhood who wondered why the sidewalk fragments couldn’t be connected so they could walk safely to school or parks.

    So keep up the push for sidewalks, bike lanes, bike racks, crosswalks, traffic signals at 3rd street as you work on revising the land use regulations and I know the Task Force will be eager to offer expertise and suggestions as well as moral support and citizens, too.

  • 5
    BruceWMorlan says:

    Ross?

    Two property owners in Bridgewater Township have requested that Northfield annex 452 acres into the city. The parcels are located a bit northwest of the hospital and the EDA has been looking at creating a third business park in that location. A number of people in the audience were quite surprised by this topic.

    I’ll bet the Bridgwater township council would have been surprised to hear this as well (except, perhaps, Ebling, who has a habit of knowing stuff before it goes public).

    As for annexing more land, Northfield had better be paying attention. We (Northfield and Dundas) share a limited capacity sewer plant and we owe it to the citizens who live here now to pay attention to that limit lest we commit (by promising something to a developer) to expanding that plant (we don’t have to expand it, we don’t owe expansion to anyone, yet). If you annex land, though, you are making a commitment to provide services and I don’t think the sewer plant has the capacity the way it sits now. See my old post “Flushed with success?”“.

    The good news is that industrial users are often low-impact users of sewer, though they may be hard on your “new Stormwater Management Plan”, they may not use up much of your remaining sewer plant capacity. You do know how much capacity you have left after accounting for existing and future planned plats already in the city don’t you?

    I am an analyst by trade, and have been quite happy with how well the (smaller) city staff and city council of Dundas have taken up the challenges of better planning, including paying attention to infrastructure as part of planning not just as part of reacting to shortfalls after the fact.

    I do not envy you, still fighting over sidewalks, for crying out loud. Good luck.

  • 6
    Dan Bergeson says:

    Bruce,

    I think that Ross meant Greenvale Township. Anything north of North Avenue is in Dakota County, even if it’s inside Northfield City limits.

    Dan

  • 7
    BruceWMorlan says:

    I wondered about that. Thanks!

  • 8
    Ross Currier says:

    Oops, thanks Dan.

    As I stated, I’m NOT a reporter.

    You know me Bruce, so focused on annexing Dundas that I can’t keep the Townships straight.

    ;-)

  • 9
    Stephanie Henriksen says:

    Thanks for clarifying that the land is not Bridgewater. Tonight (Wed) is a joint govt meeting in Northfield Township Hall (7 pm?) and roads issues will come up, I’m sure. Northfield holding the Cty 1 corridor hostage, while trying to get more commitment on Hwy 19? The corridor study cost $100,000, all total. Lots of meetings and time and money to be brushed under the rug.

    There is also an ethanol info meeting tonight on ethanol proposal for Hampton Township at St. Mark’s Church in Randolph tonight, 5:30-7:30. Folks in Randolph Township turned away an earlier proposal, but now they could be getting one just over their township line, as I understand.

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