November 13, 2012 Minutes

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council Board Meeting Minutes
November 13, 2012 – 5:30 p.m., Bakken Museum

In attendance:  Rodge Adams, Brad Bourn, Colleen Dreher, Ed Ferlauto, Larry McMillen, Jeff Peltola, Matt Perry. Board Members:  Kathy Cobb, Seth Doorn, Gary Knutson, Richard Logan, David Rhees, Aaron Shaffer, Mary Underwood, John Abraham-Watne. Meg Forney excused. Staff:  Rhea Sullivan

Secretary’s Report:  October meeting minutes were approved.

Treasurer’s Report:  Seth Doorn- $4,531 balance in NCEC account; $2,581 in NRP account.  It is time to file for reimbursement with NCR.  Seth has prepared the Attorney General’s report, but he is not convinced that we need to file.  The Board voted to approve the Attorney General’s report as submitted contingent on whether or not we’re required to file.  Rhea will look into this.  David reported that the IRS had made an inquiry about why we haven’t been paying taxes for our staff person.  We are not required to pay taxes because our Coordinator is an independent contractor.  This was cleared from our record.  We do file a 990N, which Seth believes is due May 15.  The Attorney General’s report is due six months after fiscal year end (June).  John Abraham-Watne was elected as Treasurer by acclamation.  He will replace Seth effective immediately.

The Edge Business Association Update:  Kathy reported that there was low attendance at the November 12 meeting.  Those present reviewed the Edge Business Association’s response to the DEIS and gave approval to submit the response.  The response will be posted on the Edge website for review.  Decals are slowly being distributed.  We will wait until spring (when the weather is good) to do the customer survey.  Next meeting will likely be in January.

Letter of Support of Freight Rail Relocation:  Kathy presented a letter she had drafted to Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman regarding WCNC’s support of relocating the freight rail line away from the LRT corridor.  This is the option that is supported in the DEIS.  The Board voted to send the letter (with two Board members abstaining.)

Walking Workshop (October 22):  The Walking Workshop was held on October 22.  Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman and Council Member Betsy Hodges were present, in addition to many City, County and Met Council staff people and West Calhoun residents.  We are waiting to see what the city and county propose based on the results of the workshop.  

North Calhoun Charrette:  A multi-day design charrette was held last month by the Minneapolis Park Board.  A number of WCNC board members attended.  The results of the charrette will soon go before the Park Board, but no further action is expected in the near future.  Funding for the proposed improvements is probably three years out.

Parking Study:  WCNC hired Mike Spack to conduct a parking study within a half mile radius of the West Lake station.  The consensus seems to be that the counts seem low and we are wondering how we can use this in our DEIS response.   The study was conducted on two cloudy, cool November days when parking was likely at its lowest.  Property owners Jack and Brad Pfaff commented that the lots are not as empty as they may have seemed because a number of people are coming and going at any given time.  Also, this is not the same as our high traffic summer season.  If we add 2,800 riders a day, it will overload parking lots that they feel are already saturated.  Kathy Cobb suggested that we conduct another study in the summer during peak usage times.  Matt Perry recommended that we shape our DEIS comments so that the City or the County will have to do the parking study.

Park Board Commissioner Brad Bourn:  Though the Park Board took a position for a non-increase in the property tax levy in 2013, it looks like they may not be able to keep the budget.  The current budget has a gap in 4,000 boulevard trees and proposals to reduce recreation center hours.  The MPRB can certify a levy for up to 3%.  In order to retain the current level of service they will likely impose a 2-3% levy.  They are currently in the process of negotiating the budget.  Public comment on the budget will be Wednesday, November 28.  Brad also reported that the Park Board is currently in the process of a service redesign for operations which will create a regional park system.  This will likely benefit West Calhoun residents because we should see a decrease in the response time for maintenance issues.  

SW LRT Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) Response:  Kathy Cobb reported that the response draft was pulled together from comments that are being made by a separate coalition of neighborhood and homeowner associations (that includes WCNC, CIDNA and Kenwood Isles).  It is currently in draft form and is incomplete as it is missing comments from some sections (including 2,4).  Aaron Shaffer suggested that under Section 3.2 (neighborhood cohesion) that we request that careful study and planning be done regarding pedestrian access to the station from both sides of the light rail tracks adjacent to the West Lake Station.  He has taken photos of crossings at the Franklin Ave. station.  Ed Ferlauto reported that CIDNA is engaging an engineering firm to study noise and vibration.  They have also hired a consultant to put together a 3-D image of the aerial bridge.  They want to stress that the bridge is not aesthetically acceptable to adjacent neighborhood associations.  Jeff Peltola suggested that we state our key concerns in the cover letter.  He also recommended that we connect with CIDNA about the wording they would like to see regarding the alternative(s) to an aerial bridge.  

Rhea will be posting the DEIS draft response on the website by December 2.  The deadline for comments is December 5.  The final draft will be posted on December 7.  We will have an email vote on Saturday, December 8.  The response will be submitted by email on December 10.

Next Meeting:  The Board voted to cancel our next Board meeting on Tuesday, December 11.  The next meeting will be Tuesday, January 8, 2013.  

The meeting adjourned at 7:22 p.m.