September 11, 2018 Minutes

WCNC Calhoun – Meeting Minutes

Sept. 11, 2018

Submitted by Victoria Hoshal

Board members present:  Michael Sanders, Martha Yunker, Allan Campbell, Richard Logan, John Bordwell, Lynette Davis, Victoria Hoshal

Guests: Jack Whitehurst – Neighborhood Support Specialist, Meg Forney – Minneapolis Park Board member, Linea Palmisano- City Council Representative for Ward 13, Julie Aldrich – Greenspace Consultant.

Board Action:  The July meeting minutes were approved.

Committee Reports:  

Allan noted he has no separate President’s Report.  Re. the Treasurer’s Report – financials have been sent to the board.  Michael requested last year’s actuals so that we can compare YOY.

Development Plans – Calhoun Towers update:  Allan noted he received a call from Robb Bader.  Robb said that Bader Development will not be starting anything until next Spring. Unless the light rail issues are resolved they would begin construction on Phase III (vs. phases I, II or IV).  

Meeting attendee Steve Goltry noted that contractor staging can be difficult with multiple projects going – also emergency vehicle access is an issues.  Richard Logan added that he has observed “the abject failure of the planning commission to operate with best practice assumptions.” Richard suggested that we invite the head of planning commission to our next meeting.  We would question him on how development projects support the health safety and welfare of our neighborhoods.  There was no resolution on this item for an invitation/moving forward.

Allan reported on Movie Night.  There were not as many people as the previous year.  Cosf was $425. John Bordwell reminded the board of the upcoming wine tasting event on Thursday Oct. 11.  There has been $7,500 pledged from top donors and restaurants have donated food. We need 9 – 10 volunteers to work that night in 1 – 1.5 hour shifts.  Decision was made to provide discounted tickets to volunteers. Any tickets sold by WCNC will be our revenue. Attendance goal for the event is 400– 500. is goal – group agreed that volunteers will receive discounted tickets.  

Other conversation occurred around Environment: Buckthorn removal along Lake Calhoun would be desirable but would need to be done by specialists.  Richard will remind Tim about the storm drain stenciling. Re. Safety:  Richard has sent two emails to Calhoun Commons new ownership to commit to changing access points.  He is waiting to hear back from him about scheduling a meeting or joining our board meeting. Re. Traffic CalmingWCNC has $177,000 for traffic calming.  Allan is waiting to hear back from David Ngo.  We should discuss the banners at our next meeting, Annie is working on this and hopefully can provide a report/update.

Allan mentioned that there will be a November board retreat and Nikki is working on this.  Re. New Business: Richard suggested we have Michael present more about the Bakken Museum at our next meeting and we invite the public in.  The Bakken defines the sense of space for the neighborhood. Allan reminded the board that we have an open board seat. Please send nominees to Allan.  

Greenspace Committee:  Allan stated that short-term improvements should be furthering the master plan. Allan and Julie Aldrich are setting up a meeting with the planners to understand what would be permitted.  Allan would like full participation from Greenspace Committee or other board members. Proposal is on hold until we know what we can do. Then Julie will be back with a proposal. Julie stated that the project we are looking to do is ½ scope of full master plan. Park Board has agreed to allow some amenities – neighborhood council to facilitate the project to avoid delays.  We’ll work with PB and set milestones.   Design will happen during Fall/Winter, followed by contractor bids this Winter and construction next Summer.  There is a Category 3 wetland on the site; we will be avoiding that wetland. Will ask for community input. The  northwest portion of the site will be our focus – could be picnic tables, bocce court, fitness equipment, etc. These features would be permanent.  Funding would be outside of WCNC Neighborhood Action Plan.

Guest Jack Whitehurst presented financial information on the Neighborhood Action Plan status.  He also distributed a diversity survey around the demographic make-up of boards of neighborhood organizations.

He will provide online version for board members to respond to as well.

Neighborhood Crime Update from Linea Palmisano

There was a shooting on Excelsior Blvd. male/female victim – being investigated as possibly gang related.  They were in a car heading west on Excelsior Blvd – Saturday night of Labor Day weekend were fired at by another vehicle.  The victims were wounded.

Update on Hotel Proposal

Allan reported that the planners are in the due diligence process and don’t have a date yet for application to the city.  Still talking about traffic issues. No action has been taken over the course of the summer.

Update on Minneapolis 2040 Plan

Linea reported that the 2040 Plan Version 2 is scheduled to be released on Friday.  She has requested a three page summary with highlights of changes from the original plan. Linea has requested that comments received on the original be shared in the updated version.  Her office has organized the feedback. We have one scheduled meeting between now and the release of Version #2 the plan. After Version #2 there will be a public hearing on Oct. 29. There will be a Committee of the Whole meeting on Oct. 12 and a City Council meeting on December 7 for final adoption.  She has been working with the press and the mayor’s office.

Linea noted that Hennepin County is also doing a comprehensive plan – three members of the public are invited to the committee for this plan.  This should have been the case with the 2040 plan. Martha Yunker asked about Goth Public being hired as an agency for the 2040 plan and discussion occurred around the ethical implications for this action by the City.

Other updates from Linea: Early voting begins Sept. 21 downtown and week of Oct. 30 outside of downtown. Election day is Tuesday Nov. 6.  Lesser known items on the ballet include a school referendum proposal to increase funding and a charter amendment involving liquor sales.  To date this has been a very expensive process for restaurant owners. Wakame has had an exemption to serving liquor. Exemptions have to be passed at the state level.  This has been a barrier to small business success and the amendment is an easy solution – making it more viable for entrepreneurs and opening up opportunities for different parts of Minneapolis.  Linea is supportive of the amendment to change it. The current law requires 7 continuous acres of commercially zoned property as the requirement for serving liquor. The amendment does not pertain to off-sale liquor.  

Meg Fourney reported that the Linden Hills Bocce Ball Group has raised $13,000 to install the new courts and make them ADA – they’ve now raised $10,000 addl. From Bremer Bank to make it fully ADA accessible.  Dr. Art Ides is a neighborhood resident and dermatologist and the Natl. Dermatology Society donates money for Sun structures. This could be an additional funding option. Regarding the 2040 plan, Meg served on the planning commission in the past and has tried to advocate for the Shoreland Overlay early on.  Former Council Member and now President Lisa Bender, Ward 10, said that the planning looks at the Shoreland Overlay for rural areas only. The question is: how can we put teeth back into it? Advocating performance-based zoning is one way we could possibly protect water quality, bird safety, shadowing. We’ve asked for that to be put into the 2040 plan.  As it stands, each community can craft the Shoreland Overlay to their preference.

Meeting was adjourned at 7:40


July 10, 2018 Minutes

Meeting Minutes

July 10, 2018

Attending board members: Allan Campbell, Richard Logan, Tim Musson, Victoria Hoshal, John Bordwell, Martha Yunker, Jennifer Davie

16 residents

Absent:  (excused) Jeff Idelkope, Michael Sanders, Annie Zager; (unexcused) Lynette Davis

Called to order 6:04

President’s Report: Linea to be coming

Secretary’s Report: June minutes – Richard/John approved

Treasurer’s Report: Fundamentally no changes from last month

City Council Update  Linea Palmisano

Calhoun Towers Planning Commission public hearing on Monday 7/16 (4:30 in Council Chambers). The following points were discussed in preparation for the hearing:

  • Planning Commission – has reps from City Council, Park Board, School Board, residents, and area experts. “Mission statement” is to make decisions on existing comp plan.
  • From here it will go to Zoning & Planning of Council committee then to full Council
  • May not have another opportunity for public comment unless there is an appeal (but need to double checking that info). (NOTE: Did confirm that this was likely the last public comment opportunity.)
  • Resident has been at Planning Commission Committee of the Whole (COW) meetings, and saw some of the architect presentations. Some on committee didn’t seem very well versed on the project. Felt like the traffic assumptions were not in line with reality. COW is an informal meeting of the Planning Commission.
  • City Public Works involved with project for moving of streets…assured that a ladder truck can fit and turn-around in response to concerns about emergency vehicle access in that area.
  • Assumptions that LRT will reduce traffic on Excelsior by 15% – but most agree that the opposite would happen. Actual access to transit is limited (only east-west) in the neighborhood, compounding the impact on these limited routes.
  • Who may live there does matter (will they have cars, are they working, do they have to buy/condo vs rent). This topic was dismissed in COW meetings as insignificant.
  • Affordable housing: this project has increased its commitment to address these concerns somewhat based on WCNC requests along with City Council’s office.
  • Any suggestions of how we may be able to sway this Planning Commission? Had some movement on affordability and the environment, but no movement on density and height. Traffic concerns need a voice.
  • Bader stated they can’t cut back on size and scope, but that if LRT does not come through, then changes would be needed. 2040 Plan seems to be based on LRT.
  • No family housing in the plan (limits that type of diversity).
  • We hope the development will provoke the county to fix the sidewalks on Excelsior.
  • Do they consider how the growth of St Louis Park affects us? Yes, the multi-modal study look at the full region.
  • Representatives at the meeting volunteered to speak at this public hearing on Monday, and will try to coordinate their efforts to maximize the messaging.
  • During the course of past planning commission meetings, big changes have happened. Approve about 80-85% of proposals.

2040 Plan

Best chance to impact change is right now through resident feedback. Next draft scheduled to available by the end of Sept.

Committee Reports:

Land Use:

  • Calhoun Tower project
  • 2040 – yard signs popping up by grassroots efforts of residents

Communications, Outreach, Events:

  • July newsletter – to print Wednesday morning
  • Movie (8/11 – Frozen) Ben & Jerry’s & Sweet Dreams Fair Favs, sponsored by Eli Johnson Realtor
  • Wine Tasting event (10/11)
  • Victoria – website; update, new navigation, logo, wants to do more user friendly: RFPs for redesign


  • Minneapolis Green Teams – Tim has joined, and looking into Master Water Steward program
  • Stencilling – we would still like to move forward on this


  • Landscape architect are still in discussions with Watershed District (regarding wetlands) hope we can have a proposal by September meeting if not sooner


  • In conjunction with banners and traffic calming & neighborhood character
    Contest for beautification ideas (way to combine ideas and efforts)
  • Regular scheduling of traffic observations to be set with Steve from CIDNA (information passed on to others) and volunteers are always welcome and needed
    Recommendation to do a quarterly report or such and distribute more widely

Coordinator’s Report:

  • Wine event meeting tomorrow, will monitor email on vaca, next meeting September

New Business:

Adjourn 7:30pm


June 12, 2018 Minutes

Meeting Minutes

June 12, 2018

Attending board members: Allan Campbell, Richard Logan, Victoria Hoshal, John Bordwell, Lynette Davis, Jeff Idelkope, Michael Sanders, Annie Zager

16 residents

Absent:  (excused) Jennifer Davie ; (unexcused) Tim Musson, Martha Yunker

Called to order 6:04

President’s Report: Board committee sign-ups

Secretary’s Report: May elected board members approved

Treasurer’s Report: Reports emailed to board. A summary of earmarked dollars (approx $177k each towards two initiatives: green space enhancements and safety improvements) was given to those in attendance.

Committee Reports:


  • Traffic calming
    • Banners – Annie has gotten several estimates, and requested a $10,000 budget to be able to continue to pursue installing light pole banners to help with traffic calming and place making in West Calhoun. Motion was approved.
      Details regarding the actual artwork will need to be verified with the City, so more on next steps to come. Suggestions of a design contest, business sponsorship, images of flowers or kids, as well as a tagline.
    • Carpooling – In response to the area’s congestion, we will promote the already existing Metro Transit program which helps connect people with others for carpooling opportunities
  • Concerns about sidewalk accessibility have been shared with the City and the County. The WCNC may be able to help fund a portion of a project along Excelsior. Waiting to hear back about options and timing.
  • Calhoun Commons traffic flow. We are working with the new management to re-direct traffic in/out via Excelsior Boulevard, rather than Market Plaza. Traffic on Market Plaza creates issues for the emergency vehicles, as well as other safety issues for bikes and pedestrians. Currently they have removed the confusing and unhelpful “access” signs. We will be working with City traffic planners as well to continue flow improvements.
  • 5:00 this Thursday Richard will be restarting traffic observations. All are welcome to come, as we restart this process.

Communications, Outreach, Events:

  • Neighborhood Happy Hour 5/3 at Urban Eatery
    Small turn out and didn’t draw any new people. May move back to Wakame. Recommend a topic for discussion. Evaluate best ways to promote (flyers, postcard mailing, social media).
  • July newsletter
    • list of committees and how to join / get involved
      • Volunteers to help with communications (web and FB)
    • carpooling program through Metro Transit
    • Movie
    • Wine event
    • status of development projects
  • Movie (8/11 – Frozen)
  • Wine Tasting event (10/11)

Land Use:

    • Calhoun Towers
      Recent public comments (including an editorial in the SWJ, and letters sent to those in office) were shared. The general feeling is that the City is so pro-density and development that resident concerns are not taken seriously. Safety concerns, about emergency vehicle access into this already dense/congested area were raised. Are there other opinions/experts who are able to help share these concerns? Victoria will contact her brother about his experience with FEMA. With the proposed LRT station, emergency access could be a real issue/concern.
    • 2040 discussion
      Public comment deadline is July 22. The board will work on a WCNC comment, but we encourage everyone to comment. If you choose to email comments, be sure to copy elected officials, etc. to broadcast these concerns to a wider net.


  • Update on hotel development Nothing to report. Believe developers are in negotiations with the County regarding the intersection. Current rumor is for a  groundbreaking in September.


  • Minikahda – Golf shop is to be replacement. The shop is categorized as an historic building, but the board felt if the club wanted to rebuild it, they had no issues with that and chose to do no official action.

Environment: No updates


  • Park idea (brought forth by resident, Paul Legler) on county land at France and Lake St (near bus stop). With the growing population of children in that area in particular, and the lack of a neighborhood park, we will be asking our SW parks CAC representative to bring this request forward in the long term park planning.
  • Park dedication fees from current or proposed area development could help us towards larger green space improvements that we are still hoping to bring to fruition. Additionally, we still have our own NRP dollars as mentioned earlier.)
  • Bob Close/Julie Aldrich proposal (landscape architectural work). Needs watershed  district approval, as there is a wetland buffer requirement. We will be updated as soon as possible.

Coordinator’s Report:

  • 2040 info, wine event, communications, community engagement workshop

Officer Elections: A motion was made and seconded for the following nominations. All motions carried.

Chair – Allan Campbell
Vice Chair – Lynette Davis
Treasurer – Tim Musson
Secretary – Jennifer Davie

New Business: A questions was raised regarding  the repair or replacement of railroad ties next to the Greenway (near Cityhomes) and why this work was taking place. No one was sure.

Safety concerns were raised regarding emergency evacuation plans for the areas near the tracks. CIDNA resident, Claire Ruebeck, has detailed knowledge/awareness about this issue.

A resident raised concerns about branches blocking stop and yield signs. These are good situations to report to 311.

Adjourn 7:30pm


West Calhoun Neighborhood Council is Hiring

Neighborhood Coordinator

10-12 hours/week

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council works to help maintain a enjoyable and livable community. The all-volunteer board oversees the programming and activities for this Minneapolis neighborhood, and the coordinator works to support these efforts, with an emphasis on promoting community engagement.


  • Serve as the main point of contact for the organization
    • Process phone and email messages
    • Maintain social network messaging
    • Act as liaison between residents, businesses, various groups, the City, and other stakeholders
  • Maintain all communications, including but not limited to:
    • Update the website on a regular basis
    • Produce eNews communications and promote sign-ups
    • Oversee production of quarterly printed newsletter (write/source articles, images, etc.)
  • Organize events
  • Attend relevant meetings, including monthly board meetings
    • Help produce and distribute monthly meeting agendas
    • Stay informed about topics and issues affecting the neighborhood
  • Manage and recruit volunteers
  • Support board and committee activities as needed
  • Collaborate with the Treasurer and accountant to ensure budgets are  maintained, financial reports are available, and proper legal paperwork is submitted
  • Other duties as assigned

Skills & Experience

  • Effective communication skills
  • Strong organization skills
  • Event planning and project management experience
  • Ability to work collaboratively and proactively
  • Ability to balance a variety of priorities
  • Enjoy working with diverse communities
  • Experience with grassroots organizing a plus
  • Nonprofit and volunteer board experience
  • Experience working with the City of Minneapolis, ideally with the NCR Department


  • This is a contract position, renewable yearly upon board review
  • Pay $25-30/hour depending on qualifications

How to Apply

  • Send letter of interest, resume and three references to or mail to: West Calhoun Neighborhood Council, 3537 Zenith Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55416
  • Please put “West Calhoun Neighborhood Coordinator” in the subject line of your email
  • Position open until filled

Calhoun Towers Public Hearing 7/16/18


ESG and Calhoun Development LLC have submitted the following applications to allow for a multi-phase development that includes the construction of four buildings with 739 residential units and the retention of a building with 113 residential units at 3403 and 3430 List Place & 3421 W Lake St in the R6/Multiple Family District and C3S/Community Shopping Center District:

  • Petition to rezone the properties located at 3421 West Lake Street from the C3S District to the R6 District.
  • Conditional use permit for a planned unit development.
  • Variance to reduce the front yard setback for the new buildings, balconies arbor structure, and transformers.
  • Variance to reduce the interior side yard setbacks for the new buildings and balconies.
  • Site plan review.
  • Preliminary and final plat.

The City Planning Commission will meet on Monday, July 16, 2018 at 4:30 p.m., in Room 317 City Hall, 350 S. 5th St., Minneapolis, MN.  Interested parties are invited to attend and be heard. Planning Department staff will issue a recommendation to the Planning Commission. After hearing from the public, the Planning Commission will make a determination based on required legal findings of fact. Please visit for the agenda with staff reports (web page will be updated by the end of the day Wednesday prior to the meeting date).

In accordance with the Zoning Code, all property owners within 350 feet of the subject property are notified of this public hearing.  If you have questions about the project, please contact the City staff person listed below.  

Aaron Hanauer, Senior Planner – 250 South 4th Street Room 300, Minneapolis, MN 55415

Phone (612) 673-2494 E-mail:

Jason Wittenberg,  Planning Manager – 250 South 4th Street Room 300, Minneapolis, MN 55415

Phone (612) 673-2297 E-mail:

If you would like to submit comments, you can make them verbally at the meeting or submit them in writing to:

Lisa Kusz, Committee Clerk – 250 South 4th Street Room 300, Minneapolis, MN 55415

Phone (612) 673-2494  E-mail:

The meeting site is wheelchair accessible; if you need other disability related accommodations, such as a sign language interpreter or materials in alternative format, please contact or 612- 673-3737 (673-2157 TTY/VOICE) at least five days prior to the meeting.


Canoeing Minnehaha Creek

Did you know there are many canoe and kayak launches along Minnehaha Creek’s 22 mile route? The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) has a map that is full of good information about paddling the creek, what the watershed district is doing to improve the creek, and how you can help keep it clean.

Paddling the whole creek, from the headwaters at Gray’s Bay Dam to Longfellow Lagoon right before Minnehaha Falls, takes about six to nine hours depending on how fast the creek is flowing. For safety, MCWD recommends that you only paddle the creek when it’s flowing between 75 – 150 cubic feet per second (cfs). Any less than 75 cfs and you might have to portage your canoe or kayak over portions of the creek. Any more than 150 cfs and it will be difficult to navigate through fast-moving rapids and under bridges.

In addition to checking the discharge rate at the creek’s headwaters at Gray’s Bay Dam, they recommend also checking the flow at Hiawatha Avenue in south Minneapolis where the U.S. Geological Survey operates a gauge. Because the creek receives runoff from stormwater pipes along the route, the rate of flow often increases the further you get downstream of the dam.

In some stretches, the creek is narrow and winding so it’s important to know how to navigate a canoe. But if you are a less experienced paddler or if you are paddling with kids, we recommend trying out the section from Gray’s Bay Dam to St. Albans Mill in Minnetonka or the section from Lynnhurst Park to Longfellow Lagoon in Minneapolis. These sections tend to have slower flowing water and fewer rapids.

A few safety tips to keep in mind before you head out on your adventure – let someone know where you are going and when you’ll be back; check the forecast and prepare for rain even if there is just a small chance; bring a first aid kit, cellphone, drinking water, sunscreen, waterproof containers or bags for storing valuables, and also pack some quick-dry clothing (in case you tip!). Once you are on the water, be sure to scan ahead for hazards like overhanging trees, bridges, rocks, and rapids. Be prepared to portage around a couple of spots in Edina – the Browndale Dam at Browndale Avenue and the Arden Park Dam at West 54th Street.  Also, steer clear of riffles and follow the smooth water shaped like a “V” pointing downstream to avoid rocks hiding under the surface.

For links to submit photos, view the new Minnehaha Creek map and see real-time creek flow information visit

Happy paddling!

Small Business Resources

  • Below are on-going community library hours the Small Business Team hosts to connect with entrepreneurs/businesses at the community level. Please share with your contact lists.
    • Hosmer Library: 3 – 5 p.m., every third Wednesday.
    • Central Library, second floor: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., every other Tuesday.
    • North Regional Library: 1 – 3 p.m., every fourth Thursday.
    • East Lake Street Library: 4 – 5 p.m., every second Monday.
  • Online Business Portal: The Minneapolis Business Portal provides entrepreneurs and business owners with valuable information and resources to plan, launch, and grow a business. We plan to add an online calendar to connect the business community with the various community hours and BTAP training workshops.
  • City of Minneapolis’s Small Business Brochure guide to operating a small business is complete. We are working to translate the brochure in Somali, Spanish, and Hmong.
  • Menthol Restriction Ordinance goes into effect August 1, 2018. In the lead-up to the implementation of new menthol tobacco restrictions, limiting sales to full tobacco shops and liquor stores only, convenience stores are assessing their options for adjusting their business model to accommodate these new regulations.
  • The Minimum Wage Ordinance goes into effect July 1, 2018. Please visit the City’s Minimum Wage website: or contact Brian Walsh, Supervisor – Labor Standards Enforcement Division about Minimum Wage and Sick and Safe Time Ordinance (612-673-3841 or
  • Starting June 2018, please expect a Gov. Delivery of Small Business Team Newsletter. We plan to update you on the work we have been doing and any trends we are seeing.

Southwest Parks Plan

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board launches new project to plan future of Southwest Minneapolis neighborhood parks

Southwest Service Area Master Plan will create a cohesive set of long-term plans for 42 park properties across Southwest Minneapolis over the next 12-18 months

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is excited to announce the launch of the Southwest Service Area Master Plan (SWSAMP). This new project that will create long-term park plans for all Southwest Minneapolis neighborhood parks (south of I-394 and west of I-35W). Southwest Minneapolis park users are encouraged to attend the first Community Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting:

What is the Southwest Service Area Master Plan?

SWSAMP is a unique opportunity to set the vision for Southwest Minneapolis neighborhood parks for the coming decades. The project will examine all outdoor park facilities at each site and create park plans that will guide decisions on capital improvements—including NPP20 funding allocations.

SWSAMP includes 42 total park properties:

  • 23 Neighborhood Parks
  • 13 Park Triangles
  • 3 Parkways
  • 2 Tot Lots
  • 1 Standalone Wading Pool

Click the link below to view the project map:

SWSAMP Project Map

This project does not include any recreation centers or areas classified as regional parkland: Bde Maka Ska (formerly Lake Calhoun) Park, Beard’s Plaisance, Brownie Park, Cedar Lake Park, Cedar Lake Regional Trail, Kenilworth Regional Trail, Lake Harriet Park, Lake of the Isles Park, Lyndale Park, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Minnehaha Parkway Regional Trail, Morrison Park (home of Minneapolis Institute of Art), Roberts Bird Sanctuary, Soo Line Community Garden and William Berry Park.

Many of those areas have already have long-term plans as part of the Bde Maka Ska-Harriet Master Plan, which was approved by MPRB Commissioners on May 3, 2017.

What is a Community Advisory Committee?

A CAC is a group of community members appointed by MPRB Commissioners, Minneapolis City Council Members and neighborhood organizations to guide the development of SWSAMP. Click the link below to view the CAC roster:


The CAC will work with MPRB staff and consultants over the next 12-18 months to make recommendations to MPRB Commissioners.

All CAC meetings are open to the public and have time set aside for public comment. Please call 612-230-6472 or email at least two business days in advance of a meeting if you require reasonable modification or language translation.

Other ways to get involved

In addition to attending CAC meetings, there will be many other ways to get involved in the project:

  • Sign up to receive email updates by visiting If you are already a subscriber, add “Southwest Service Area Master Plan” to your subscription preferences. Email updates are the best way to stay informed about meeting and event dates.
  • Attend other public project meetings. Though they have not yet been scheduled, MPRB expects numerous community meetings throughout 2018 and 2019.
  • The project team will share project information and listen to ideas be at dozens of community ice cream socials, festivals and park events this summer. Stop by and see us!
  • Email Project Manager Colleen O’Dell at if you’re interested in inviting someone from the project team to present at a meeting or event or engage your organization, group or community in the planning process.
  • Share your thoughts now via the SWSAMP online survey.

SWSAMP Project Page

May 3 to Zoning Committee

To: Zoning and Planning Committee
From: West Calhoun Neighborhood Council Land Use Committee
Date: May 3, 2018
Re: Environmental Assessment Worksheet on the Calhoun Towers development, 3430 List Place (RCA-2018-00463)

The West Calhoun Neighborhood Council is disappointed to have received no reply to its list of deficiencies found in the Environmental Assessment Worksheet, which it emailed to the City Planning Commission on April 11. Rather than reiterate the list, we would like to highlight our key concerns.

First is the status of the Southwest Light Rail line. The EAW is based on the assumption that it will be operational by 2023. While our Council has gone on record in support of this line, we are not confident about the timetable given the continuing lawsuit by project opponents and the uncertainty of adequate federal funding until the latest construction bids are reviewed. The EAW should address the impacts and suitability of this project in scenarios that do not include access to light rail, or include light rail at a later date than 2023.

Second is water quality. The report notes that as a result of unpermitted dumping on the site, the soil is polluted by metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, including benzoapyrene above the Minnesota Department of Health’s health risk limits. This is a particular concern because the EAW states that groundwater on the site flows to Bde Maka Ska, part of the Chain of Lakes regional park and a popular lake for fishing. We believe that the EAW does not adequately address the need for further study and remediation to protect the lake, nor does it adequately demonstrate that the project does not have the potential for significant environmental impacts.

Third, the Travel Demand Management Plan is inadequate. Besides failing to address the risk of light rail not being built, it has an untested strategy with a leisurely timetable. Travel Demand Management Measure 25 states that “All TDMP commitments will be implemented (if applicable) within one year after the certificate of occupancy is issued for Phase IV of the development.”This means that not all commitments need to be implemented until perhaps 2026 even if the project is built according to the 5-7 year time frame. Without an adequate Travel Demand Management Plan the project runs the risk of creating an unacceptable increase in automobile use as vehicles circle looking for street parking. The Trip Generation Analysis in Appendix D fails to consider scenarios in which either light rail is not operational on schedule or the Travel Demand Management Plan does not achieve its objectives.

Fourth and last, compliance with Minneapolis Plan Housing Policy 3.3 “Increase Housing that is affordable to low and moderate income households” is ignored. In fact, the project would contribute nothing to meeting the City’s affordable housing needs until Phase IV is built and would then provide for only 25 affordable units out of a total of 857 (2.9%).

We request that the EAW not be found adequate until these and other issues cited in our list of April 11 are adequately addressed.

May 28 WCNC Response


Thank you for meeting with our Land Use Committee on May 18th to discuss the Calhoun Towers project.  Although you have now submitted your required applications for this Planned Unit Development, we ask that you give serious consideration to the following recommendations as you review the project with city planners:

Size, Scale and Density

  • As we have discussed, WCNC believes the size and scale of the project, and associated density and traffic, is too much for the neighborhood to absorb.We’d like to see it re-sized to the more realistic density (40 -120 dwelling units per acre) of the Midtown Greenway Small Area Plan, which was developed with the West Lake light rail station in mind. We would like to see a reduction in the footprint of one or both of the twin towers to decrease the number of units and also to ameliorate the vista-blocking wall effect of two wide towers.

Affordable Housing

  • Increase the percentage of affordable housing in Phases A, B & C.We think the current plan with 20% in Phase C and 100% in Phase D is inadequate given the shortage of affordable housing in the City and the urban location and proposed density of the project.

Alternative Plans

  • We would like to see a plan for Phase A by itself in case there is a significant delay for any reason between completion of that phase and initiation of Phase B.


  • We would like to see a minimum of one parking stall per bedroom upon completion of Phase A in recognition of the current inadequacy of public transit and on-street parking in the neighborhood and the likelihood that most renters will need to own cars regardless of the number of on-site stalls. The ratio can be diminished in subsequent phases if the light rail plan moves ahead on schedule and the traffic demand management plan shows signs of succeeding.

Environmental Clean-up

  • We would like to know the timing, details and potential hazards of the soil remediation before and during the construction process.Can you provide a schedule with key partners identified?

Create More Direct Path of Access to Excelsior and lake area

  • Consider re-routing paths and/or foot traffic to provide clearer access from the light rail station, through the property.

Add More Green Space

  • We don’t believe the “pocket park” is adequate for the significant increase in people and the loss of large green areas and mature trees that will be eliminated. We would like to see an increase in greenspace accessible to the public.

Traffic Infrastructure

  • We ask that you work with the City and County to ensure that necessary improvements are made, especially to the approach to the site on Abbott Avenue, including investigating the need for a traffic signal.

Safety/Eyes on the Street

  • As Abbott Ave turns westward onto the realigned 31st Street, the low-rise pedestrian friendly buildings on the left side of the street are replaced by towers and could create an unsafe feeling of isolation despite density for pedestrians waiting for a bus or walking from the West Lake Station at night. We ask that you consider how lighting and better connections between the buildings, sidewalk and station entrance could enhance the walkability of 31st Street.

Bicycle-friendly Design

  • We would like to see a bike/commuter lounge attached to the station-facing end of the Phase D building, similar to that proposed for the Moline Building at the Hopkins LRT station. We also ask for more than 0.5 bicycle stalls per unit, which is an unrealistically low number if the City is to achieve its goal of a 15% of trips by bicycle.

Architecture and Design

  • This project has a significant opportunity to add to the character of the new development Minneapolis will have and particularly to set the tone for a dynamic approach for high density around the city’s most important amenity-the lakes.  Rather than the current blocky, dated and uninspired design, we urge you to look at a composition of buildings that includes the existing tower, has varied heights and a forward thinking design.

Can you please reply to each item above?   We want to work with you and the City of Minneapolis to ensure that the development can be a successful and manageable addition to our neighborhood.


Allan Campbell
For the West Calhoun Neighborhood Council Land Use Committee