BOARD MEETING MINUTES – Monday, September 16th, 2019 – 7:00 p.m., Fuller Park
Board members present: John Dukich, Dan Williams, Pat Collins, Carl Arrell, Dick Fiala, Alyssa Thull, Kellie Hanson, Brian McDonald, Dirk Nicholson, Bernadette Tomko
Board members absent: Brenda Anderson
Also present: Sally Bauer (TNA Executive Director), Council Member Staff Karlee Weinmann, Rachel Hoben (Fuller Park Manager), Forrest Hardy (City of Minneapolis Transportation Planner), Matthew Larson and Michael Margulies (Valerian LLC, Fulltown Flats project manager), Josh Segal (Reimagine Southwest LLC, Fullertown Flats developer), more than 27 community members
Called to order: 7:00
Secretary – Alyssa made a motion to approve the August minutes, Dick seconded. Voice vote, all in favor, motion approved.
Treasurer – Brian noted that some garage sale proceeds and a reimbursement from the city are still outstanding. Our current bank balance is $55,760.25.
Rachel announced the upcoming Halloween event at Fuller Park.
Council Member Staff Karlee Weinmann
Karlee attended in place of Councilmember Jeremy Schroeder. The Council’s Public Health, Environment, Civil Rights, and Engagement Committee (PECE) today approved University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs to help carry Neighborhoods 2020 across the finish line. There will be additional engagement to refine program objectives and guidelines for neighborhood organizations this fall.
Brady Steigauf introduced himself and asked to join the board as there are a couple openings. The board held a voice vote to elect Brady to the board, all in favor, none opposed. Brady joined the board.
Public Works – Grand Ave
Forrest Hardy presented the upcoming plan for rebuilding Grand Ave. The City is beginning preliminary engagement on the design with construction is planned to start in 2021. The project includes full reconstruction of the street from Lake St. to 48th St. The City will hold a preliminary design open-house in the next month or two. Brian asked about transit disruption. Forrest indicated that bus detours are likely but the details are unknown so early in the project. Dick asked how long project will take; Forrest replied that it is too early to say whether it’s more than one construction season. Brian also asked about upcoming Bryant Ave reconstruction; Forrest said it was also in the 5 year plan but likely would be scheduled after the Grand Ave project to avoid too much disruption. A community member asked about overlap with I-35W construction; Forrest replied that most of I-35W would be over by the time the Grand Ave project begins. The commuity member also asked about any planned traffic calming measures like bump-outs. Forrest replied that those are becoming pretty common and are quite effective but would reduce the parking. A community member expressed dissatisfaction with ginkgo trees; Forrest replied that the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board handles boulevard trees. Another community member asked about the amount of assessments for each property owner. Forrest replied that a approximate assessment estimates depend on frontage area but Forrest doesn’t know exactly what that rate would be as it changes year to year. Project funding is mix between assessments from property owners, general city revenue, and state aid funds. The City will send postcards to residents with survey. Another community member asked about business impact; Forrest replied that the City will maintain access to businesses but does not compensate for loss of business. The Public Works deparment is targeting January/February for “layout approval” by the City council.
Spaces: Dirk gave a quick overview of the committees banner, Washburn Watertower signage, and alley cleanup, initiatives for the community members.
Engagement: The committee is planning a Tangletown “block party” for September 28th from 7-10pm in partnership with El Jefe at their parking lot. Tangletown Gardens is helping with lounge area. There will be live music, an outside bar, and a food truck.
Environmental: The committee will hold an organics education event on September 19th at Fuller Park and will be starting organics outreach to rental properties with 4 or fewer units.. They are organizing asustainable cooking class for November 8th at the Wedge Table. The committee coordinates storm-drain stenciling and adopt-a-storm-drain programs too. They will also hold a Litter-Be-Gone event on October 5th. There will be a compost tour on October 26th at 9am; the event is free and interested residents should meet at Mayflower Church. The committee is also offering energy efficiency rebates after energy squad visits and energy efficiency upgrades, matching the rebate given by Centerpoint Energy.
Web hosting: TNA’s website currently uses GoDaddy but the site was hacked over summer and is not performing well. Sally would like to switch hosting but moving would cost more per month. Our web developer recommended a number of vendors. Pat moved to approve up to $350/year in hosting costs; Alyssa seconded. Voice vote, all in favor, motion approved.
Street Party volunteers: Sally noted that volunteers were still needed for the Street Party event on September 28th.
The developer/property owner (Josh Segal) and project manager (Valerian LLC) presented and asked for feedback. Josh lives in the neighborhood, owns a local business, and has rehabbed a couple single-family houses. The project is funded through loans.
The 48th and Grand Ave location “spoke to what we were looking at”. Josh was asked if the project could “cut off a floor” because it’s taller than anything else near it; Josh replied he doesn’t think a three-story building would work.
An adjacent owner owns two-thirds of the shared driveway with the Fullertown Flats property and the neighbor expressed concern about traffic next to their house, blocked light, and loss of foliage. The neighbor also indicated they haven’t been contacted about proposed change of use of the shared driveway. Josh responded that they are not starting construction yet and are still in planning. Matthew Larson said there was an “opportunity to explore” how to share the driveway and take the “lion’s share” of the driveway maintenance costs.
A community member asked about the current status of the project. Josh responded that he (the developer) already owns 4740 Grand Ave and is under contract to purchase the duplex immediately north.
Community members asked further questions, to which Josh, Matthew, and Michael responded.
Q: In the upcoming 2040 plan we live in “interior 2 area”, which should be small-scale residential, with multi-family buildings permitted, and max building height should be 1 to 2.5 stories. There are currently no three-story buildings on Grand Ave in this area. This project is way beyond anything in the neighborhood.
A: This plan is not specifically related to 2040, and the existing zoning is R5 which permits this project. There is no intent to rush plan through before 2040.
Q: The project is asking for a variance for reduction in parking. It doesn’t feel like 10 spots is justified.
A: There are also 20 bike spots.
Q: What is the estimated price range based on unit size and location? What are the lease parameters?
A: We don’’t know what market rate is going to be. The project is mostly smaller units, including studios, singles, two-bedroom units. Rent would be about $1800 average across all units with studios going for much less than that. All units are intended as market rate apartments. Lease terms will be one-year to 18 months.
Q: Erik Takeshita said he was very supportive of affordability/density. The TNA board is asked to make a recommendation to the Planning Commission on a parking variance and the law says developments need one parking spot per unit. But the current proposal is insufficient to meet that law. Will there be access to the back alley?
A: There will be no access from the alley. Grade from alley to the lot is about 9.5ft vertically. The project started out with as much parking as possible, but the City encouraged us to reduce parking to 50% of units. We don’t think the majority of tenants will have cars.
Q: There will be 14 studio apartments, so it’s not unreasonable to expect 14-20 people occupying those units. That probably means between 26 – 42 people in the building and I think at least half will have cars. But with only 10 spaces in the building, that puts 10 or more cars on the street. Parking is much worse in winter especially with winter parking restrictions. What about trash management?
A: Dumpsters must be enclosed and could be rolled out to the front. Trash collection will be privately contracted, likely once per week.
Q: Briana Daymont asked that the board does not approve the requested parking variances. The amount of parking doesn’t seem acceptable and there is no building that’s as large on this block. The developer’s current tenants in 4740 Grand Ave have been problematic and already caused issues for neighbors on both sides of the alley.
A: Josh responded that he was sorry about the issues his tenants have caused and he has tried to remove them but legal issues are making that slow.
The project is going before the Planning Commission for variance approval on October 7th 4:30pm in Room 317 at City Hall. Any communication sent to Councilmember Schroeder will be put into the Commission’s public record.
Alyssa noted it was pretty obvious what the neighborhood wants, which is not to support the project.
Dick noted the city is anti-car and the developer didn’t just dream this number of parking spaces up. He agrees with comments by community members that people still need cars. But beating the developers up for only 10 parking spots isn’t quite fair because the City is pushing for that.
Dirk said he has recently lived downtown and even with high density buildings everyone still had cars.
Bernadette thought it would have a negative impact on the neighborhood due to traffic.
A board member asked if the board should have an opinion on the matter, or should abstain. The board decided in favor of having an opinion on the project.
Dan moved that due to the volume of discussion and concerns raised, the board resolves that it cannot support approval of the variances related to parking and setback as currently proposed without significant changes that account for neighborhood feedback. Alyssa seconded. Discussion ensued.
Dirk pointed out that we should address the specific variances rather than a blanket motion. Dan withdrew his motion as it was not specific enough.
Alyssa made a motion to resolve that the board does not support the parking variance request as proposed. Bernadette second. Voice vote, all in favor, none opposed. Motion approved.
Dirk made a motion to resolve that the board does not support the setback variance request as proposed. Alyssa seconded. Voice vote, Dick opposed, Brady abstained, all others in favor. Motion approved.
Minutes submitted by Dan Williams, TNA Secretary