February 13, 2018 Minutes

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council

Meeting Minutes

February 13, 2018

Attending board members: Allan Campbell, Richard Logan, Jeff Idlekope, Tim Musson, Annie Zager, Lynette Davis, Michael Sanders, Martha Yunker, Dan Colvin, Jennifer Davie

Absent: John Bordwell (excused)

Plus many residents and Council Member Linea Palmisano

Secretary’s Report: The December and January meeting minutes were approved.

Treasurer’s Report: Accounting will now be done by Nikki with support from a bookkeeper. The final CPP payment from the City for 2017 has been received.

ECCO presentation by Tamara Kaiser and Eric Storlie.

  • They asked for our support in their appeal of the approvals granted to the developers of the Sons of Norway site for up to R6 zoning along 31st Street.
  • They want to maintain the current zoning which provides for a transition in height to the neighborhood. This appeal comes before the city council on Thursday, February 15.
  • The effects on traffic from added density in the Lake and Hennepin area will be felt in our neighborhood.

Their request was considered by the board, but no action was taken.

Hotel presentation by Gretchen Camp of ESG Architects, and Elevage.

  • The conceptual design for the public green areas and pedestrian crossings was presented. The hotel would take responsibility for planting and maintaining this green space.
  • The low height of plantings was explained as necessary for car site lines. This was questioned based on Excelsior and Grand.
  • The site is organized to have 2 curb cuts with only right turns in and out. This replaces 6 for the gas station.
  • Hotel to be 8 stories with 100 rooms and 2 floors of condos at the top.
  • There will be a restaurant at ground level and possibly the terrace level.
  • Parking will be below grade. There will be 85 parking spaces.
  • The traffic study was presented indicating a reduction of traffic. This was questioned. The explanation was that the hotel is a destination; the gas station a service.

 

Resident objections were made to the validity of the traffic study, the ‘wall’ to and from the lake the hotel would create, the failure to meet the Shoreland Overlay District height restrictions which guard the natural amenity of the lake. The advantage of a local bar/restaurant destination, similar to the Hewing Hotel in the North Loop, was noted. This type of amenity would be a contribution to the quality of the neighborhood. Discussion had to be curtailed due to time constraints.

 

Calhoun Towers Bader Proposal discussion.

City will do the traffic study and the environmental study. Considerable strong opposition to the project on the basis of too much density, too little parking, and especially the negative impact on the already bad traffic situation which also includes fire truck access, Councilmember Palmisano explained that the city is in favor of density to benefit the quality of the city in general and the tax base. Density has not been defined by the Planning Commission. The possibility of further neighborhood meetings regarding the project was brought up but nothing definite planned. The question of how to get feedback to Bader and the city was raised. March 8 is a planning meeting on the environmental study. This meeting is of the Committee of the Whole. Citizens may listen but cannot participate. April will likely be the time of the first public hearing on the project. Discussion had to be curtailed due to time constraints.

 

The joint WCNA-CIDNA Resolutions on traffic were approved. Richard explained that the resolutions call for better lane markings to direct cars to proper lanes, overhung signage before the Dean Parkway intersection to direct traffic to the proper lanes, and warning signs for pedestrians and bicycles, among other things.

 

There will be a Happy Hour at Wakame on February 22. WCNC will provide appetizers.