Northfield to Try a LID for Fit?

At the risk of getting off on a tangent, and being accused of more Tracy-Bashing, I have to say that it was ironic that at last night’s Planning Commission meeting, Council Member-Elect Jon Denison was in attendance and Planning Commissioner Tracy Davis was noticeably absent.Arnie.jpeg

In fact, City Council Members were out in force at the meeting and the Planning Commission didn’t even have a quorum. So both Jon and Tracy were in good company.

And to continue what is now clearly a tangent, HOW COOL WAS IT that Arnie Nelson, Dixon Bond, Kris Vohs and Scott Davis attended the Planning Commission meeting last night? Let me tell you, it was WAY COOL.

The topic that brought them was recently blogged by the famous and infamous Ms. Davis, LID or Low Impact Development. As we were told in the introduction at least seven times, LID is about where the water meets the land.

More specifically, LID is about Stormwater Management. For many years, the paradigm has been to move water off a site as quickly as possible. The problem is that the water is moved to…streams, rivers and lakes. It is estimated that in the last 30 to 40 years, this paradigm has resulted in the pollution of about 40% of the streams, rivers and lakes in Minnesota.

Fortunately, there is a new paradigm for stormwater management. It probably won’t be a surprise to many of you that the new paradigm is basically the way that water was handled for thousands of years before man, mostly engineers, decided to channel it in concrete and asphalt. The new paradigm, called in this case LID, is based on the concept that you should have the water go into the ground where it can be cleansed of pollutants by the natural grit chambers of the soil before flowing into the streams, rivers and lakes.

Clearly it’s a better approach in terms of the health of our waterways. However, not everyone is ready for LID. Developers are concerned that some of the techniques are unproven, although they may be interested to calculate their cost savings for concrete and asphalt. Some communities think that the reduction in curb heights and gutter depths can be untidy, however they may be intrigued by some of the landscaping elements that support a LID system. Finally, engineers tend to resists it. The calculations for concrete and asphalt are known facts, some of the LID theories lack sufficient case studies to give comfortable proof.

With four Council Members and a Council Member-Elect in attendance last night, I think Northfield is going to give LID serious consideration. Personally, I think those guys will look pretty sporty in pork-pie hats.

By the way, the photo is of Arnie Nelson, wearing a sporty lid and a nifty NDDC Volunteer T-shirt, on another occasion when he was being WAY COOL. That was the day that he was helping Dan Bergeson and me pick up butts in Downtown Northfield.

Hey Arnie, see you at Tiny’s!

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