Work session on Transportation
When the 2014 update was done to the 2030 comp plan, two very strange road configurations showed up south of 125th. First, having Dayton Parkway form a T with 117th. There it will sit for a LONG time since, in order for it to continue the city would need to acquire two very expensive properties. In addition, if there was ever a need for a roundabout, that one seems a no-brainer. But that battle was lost last year.
The other strange configuration was the infamous X. If you want to see the X it's here on page 36 just east of French Lake. This was the reason for the work session.
There is a reason you see roads in a grid pattern with east-west and north-south lines. Having a road run at a 45 degree angle to everything is a constant source of problems and very inefficient from a land-use perspective. Now imagine 1,000 acres of land with an X right in the middle. While I agree that the most efficient path for a road is a straight line, I believe there are more important factors for where a road goes, including the use of existing roads.
The bulk of the work session was our consulting firm explaining the benefits of where the X is. Some of it involves getting federal funding for those roads, which I question since we have developers put those roads in and the roads would very likely become county roads before we needed that funding. The primary driver for the X was traffic efficiency. Again, a point to point road is efficient but not always the right choice. My opinion here is that the inefficiency isn't significant enough to warrant the resulting mess.
When this came up in the 2040 comp plan approval, the X was questioned but I suspect not a lot of thought went into it from the council because development wasn't there yet. But... suddenly last month this council was asked to set this configuration in stone. That's when I requested we have a work session with the planning commission to decide this. I know I don't like the X, but I wanted to make sure we had 10 of us deciding this.
- I think there was consensus that traffic will need to flow between Zanzibar and Dayton Parkway.
- A viable alternative is to (someday) simply connect the Parkway and Zanzibar.
- Fernbrook is a high speed (55mph) road with houses on it. But, it's a county road (not ours) and any traffic on it wouldn't be mitigated by the X for 30 years (according to the comp plan).
- We did request from our consultants as to how they derived the estimates as some of them seemed to stretch credibility.
- 2 of the commissioners and 3 of the council didn't seem convinced. The rest didn't indicate their opinion.
A decision will be made in the near future.
Item J (Driveway Variance)
This was pretty straightforward. A resident purchased the unused lot next to them, cleaned, sodded, and put in sprinklers which greatly improved the looks. They want to put a garage on it but our ordinances don't allow two driveways on a single lot with that zoning. Variances have to have some rational as to why the applicant can't easily comply with the ordinance. This property had a couple reasons (utilities and spacing) so we quickly and unanimously granted it.
Item K (Discussion on Water Treatment)
This was SUPPOSED to be a discussion on possible long term solutions to a problem with the old village water system. Dayton water (no matter how or where you get it) is loaded with iron. Iron is perfectly safe to drink but isn't pleasant to look at. Unfortunately for the old village, that water also has a high amount of manganese (NOT magnesium). There are no state regulations as to a limit, but there are guidelines that say over 300 parts per billion isn't healthy (100 for babies). The old village water is around 300. The north east water system is under 100. What was supposed to be a discussion on the old village system turned into an approval for $130,000 in engineering to put a treatment facility on both systems. That study would NOT look at any other solution other than a treatment facility for the old village (at most 200 homes).
And here's another bit of info... a water softener or water filtration system totally mitigates this issue.
When we've had previous discussions on water treatment, the consultant (who "happens" to sell this solution) has said their minimum unit is $4 million. Now the claim is being made that they have smaller ones. Even a $2 million facility will cost the city $10,000 PER HOME (for those 200).
I would have preferred we look at other solutions, but the vote to approve the engineering for ONE solution locks the city into that one solution (and that engineering was for a facility for each system).
This combined with the fire department pushing $8-10 million in new debt will leave us in a HUGE mess if we have another housing market downturn. The city is just starting to get out from under the massive debt it was left with from the mid-2000's borrowing.
Scott and I voted against this, but the remaining 3 approved it. Again, looking at ONE solution for the old village puts the city into a corner.
Notify me if you have any questions on these or any other issues.