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Local Board of Appeals and Localization
I expected more people to come to this portion of the meeting. We did have 2 residents come in with a request to look at their property values set by the county. The county members are going to examine those evaluations again.
Item D (Transportation Plan)
This covered all of the information that was to go into the transportation plan amendment we plan on submitting over the next few months to the Met Council.
It was basically a collection of information that's been produced regarding the road plans between 117th and 125th. Over the years (since about 2006) there have been 2 major roadway options in the mix though the 3rd one was very recently suggested:
- Dayton Parkway connection to the top sharp corner of Fernbrook and Zanzibar connecting to the south end of Fernbrook (what many refer to as the X.)
- Dayton Parkway going straight up to Zanzibar with a E/W connection to Fernbrook at 121st.
- Option 2 with an addition road to the west of Fernbrook that connects the top and bottom of Fernbrook.
Even though these first 2 have been at every presentation I can remember, the X was the one in the comprehensive plan. Previous councils have talked about fixing that but it was never done. Sometime last year it became clear to me it needed to be fixed. While I believe almost all of the council and planning commission agrees the X is a bad plan, getting it changed was ridiculously dragged out.
I feel there was a lot of missing information and bias so I spelled out what my issues were:
- The comparisons don't allocate WHO foots the bill for changes. Options 1 and 3 double the cost to the city (you can argue the developers will pay for it but that comes with trade offs).
- The comparisons use parcels instead of acres. Options 1 and 3 double the amount of land consumed by roadway that will forever be taken out of use and get pavement.
- When we spoke to the county regarding these plans, they believed option 2 was the correct answer if a river crossing was in the mix. My opinion is a river crossing will happen in the next couple decades.
- This is by far the biggest error in the information: The assumption is that options 1 and 3 will "fix" congestion on Fernbrook. The ONLY way this happens is if the top end of Fernbrook gets connected. The current plans don't show that until 2050+. I believe the county will have to fix their road LONG before that. Once Maple Grove Parkway connects to it, and Zanzibar gets paved (which will provide Elk River and Otsego traffic a faster route to Maple Grove / I94), the traffic on that road will see significant increases. So options 1 and 3 will spend an enormous amount of money and resources to fix a problem already dealt with.
- A "poll" was taken with residents that showed up to an open house we had regarding this a couple months back. They overwhelmingly voted for option 3. My problem with this was, the information presented was incredibly biased and lacked all of the information I mention above.
We did have some residents speak to this and they were concerned we weren't listening to the poll results. With all the misleading information that has been communicated regarding this, I understand their frustration.
I did try to explain my reasoning for supporting option 2, but it's always frustrating to a resident when they don't get any answers they like.
If you are a resident concerned about this, feel free to contact me and I'll come talk to you in person.
The current council direction is to proceed with option 2 for the open house and transportation plan amendment.
Item E (Heritage Day Involvement)
This was tabled.
Item F (Sale of TIF #19 Bonds)
There are basically 2 uses for TIF; Giving the money back to the property owner or using the money for infrastructure improvements in the area. If you want an explanation of what TIF is, feel free to contact me.
There are lots of numbers in this item. It gets complicated but it basically completes the TIF arrangement which will take the Cubes Warehouse property taxes and apply it to infrastructure improvements in the area. It was passed 5-0.
Item G (Zanzibar Contract)
This was to approve the contract to pave the southern tract of Zanzibar at roughly $1M. As I've stated in the past, my opinion was/is we should wait until we complete the pavement study this summer. That study will tell us what shape the city's roads are in and how much funding we'll need to maintain it. I believe the original plan for this was to pave it in 2025 and it was one of those items that previous staff just decided to pull in without asking the council (which we've since fixed).
Unfortunately, council member Trost decided to make it personal and said a no vote means I don't care about people. Personal attacks can stay on Facebook, along with the following misinformation... He then claimed we put tax cuts ahead of pavement funding. The fact is, at the same time we cut taxes we tripled the amount of money going into the pavement fund.
It passed 3-2 (I and Scott voted no).
As always, feel free to contact me for anything!