BY SUSAN VAN CLEAF
Boaters soon will discover a locked gate at the city’s boat launch in Lakeshore Park on Lake Independence – if it hasn’t been locked already.
And the Medina City Council has provided a way for Medina residents to open up the gate.
The City Council Tuesday, July 3, approved a process via which city residents can apply for free permits to use the boat launch. When residents come to Medina City Hall, they will get not only the permits, but also the combination for the lock and procedures for insuring that their watercraft are free of aquatic invasive species, such as zebra mussels. The permits run through Dec. 31 and must be renewed each year.
At the meeting, the City Council also took up other business. Here are some meeting highlights.
BOAT LAUNCH PERMITS
The City Council amended Medina’s park facilities ordinance in order to require residents to apply for boat launch permits. They are needed for motorized boats, as well as duck boats and personal watercraft.
The permit application asks residents to "take all reasonable precautions to insure that my watercraft is free of aquatic invasive species prior to launching at Lakeshore Park, including, but not limited to: 1. Inspection of my boat, trailer and equipment and removal of visible aquatic plants, animals and mud; 2. Draining water from my boat, motor, bilge, live wells and bait containers before leaving the water access; 3. Reporting new sightings and 4. Disposal of unwanted bait and other animal or aquatic plants in the trash."
Prior to mid May, the city boat launch at Lakeshore Park was open to all comers. Lake Independence residents were concerned about the fact that zebra mussels had been found in Lake Minnetonka – a short drive away. Boaters could rather quickly transport the tiny-shelled animals to Medina.
Mike McLaughlin, of the Lake Independence Citizens Association (LICA), warned the City Council on May 15 that Three Rivers Parks was beginning to inspect watercraft entering the lake from Baker Park. He feared that boaters would become impatient with long lines waiting for boat inspections and head for the Lakeshore Park boat launch.
McLaughlin then asked for and got City Council approval for installing a gate with a combination lock at the city boat launch and the permit policy enabling residents to open the gate. The strategy was a result of collaboration between LICA and the Medina Parks Commission. LICA agreed to pay $1,000 for the cost of the gate and an annual contribution of $500 for maintaining the gate, locks and signs.
Medina immediately installed the gate, but left it unlocked while city staff developed the permit process and obtained City Council approval.
City Administrator Scott Johnson said the Pioneer Sarah Creek Watershed District wants to hire a water resource consultant to look into what it would take to unclog the outlet from Lake Independence to Pagenkopf Road. The study would be done by Hakanson-Anderson at an estimated cost of $4,000, but a number of entities could share costs,
Johnson said the watershed district and Three Rivers Park District each have approved contributions of $1,000 to pay for the study. He then asked for and got Medina City Council approval for a donation of up to $1,000.
The previous week, the Independence City Council approved an $800 contribution for that city.
Medina Administrator Johnson said that a contribution from Medina for the study does not mean that his city is committed to being involved with an effort for unclogging the outlet.
City Councilor Elizabeth Weir explained that very high water is a problem in Lake Independence. Wakes from passing boats are destroying improvements meant to protect shorelines from erosion. But cleaning up the channel to Pagenkopf Road could cost $2 million.
She encouraged the watershed district to look into getting funds from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. "We’ll have a difficult time funding the project," Weir said, "but it doesn’t hurt to find out how much it would cost."
City Planner Dusty Finke commented that a feasibility study would put cooperating groups in a better position for obtaining grants.
LENNAR HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS
Homebuilder Lennar has been constructing phase one of The Enclave residential development on Hunter Drive between Hamel and Medina Roads. Simultaneously, the company has been seeking approvals for a second Enclave development located to the east on Brockton Lane.
The City Council and Lennar could see the end of the approval process approaching for the Enclave at Brockton, when the council gave the nod for the planned unit development (PUD) general plan and preliminary plat. The council directed city staff to bring an approval resolution to its next meeting.
City Planner Dusty Finke said the general plan/preliminary plat is almost identical with the latest version of the concept plan. It calls for constructing 95 single-family and 23 detached town homes on 48.4 acres. The development would be integrated with the Enclave development on Hunter Drive. Trails will connect the two Enclaves, and they will share a swimming pool and related amenities.
Lennar will fulfill its park dedication requirement by giving Medina land for trail corridors and $393,675.58 in cash.
As planning continues, the builder and the city will look at the ability of Brockton Lane to handle traffic, not only from the Lennar developments but also from future development in Plymouth on the east side of the street.
Joe Jablonski, representing Lennar, said his company wants to get started on the Enclave at Brockton in August or September – "sooner if possible."
Meanwhile, Lennar has been selling spots in the Enclave phase one on Hunter Drive. The homebuilder had pulled 16 building permits by June 29, City Administrator Johnson said. There are a total of 24 single-family homes and five town homes in phase I of the development.