“Please do it, and do it quickly.”
A resident of Willowbrook Drive in Medina made this comment before the Medina City Council during a May 21 public hearing on proposed improvements to her street.
Shortly after that she learned that she will get her wish. The City Council took several actions that will make this possible. It approved plans and specifications, ordered the project and approved special assessments of benefitting properties.
Then city councilors took a unique step. They approved a joint powers agreement with the city of Orono that spells how both cities will work together to bring improvements to Willowbrook Drive in both cities.
Robert Thomssen, who lives on the Medina portion of Willowbrook, said that his street had not gotten any improvements in 30 years. Several years ago he started a petition asking for improvements and circulated it amongst his neighbors. He thanked Medina Public Works Director Steve Scherer for working with the neighborhood to get the project going.
Estimated total cost for a mill and overlay of Willowbrook Drive is $47,621. Medina’s portion is estimated to cost $23,773 and Orono’s cost estimate is $23,848. Benefitting Medina property owners will be specially assessed for 50 percent of Medina’s cost. The project schedule shows construction beginning in July and ending in October.
Under the joint powers agreement Medina is planning and designing the project and obtaining permits, authorizations and easements. Orono has reviewed and approved the plans. Medina also is purchasing materials, administering construction and conducting inspections. The two cities are coordinating with their respective property owners. In Medina, six property owners will be affected, and in Orono four property owners will be affected.
Public Works Director Scherer called the resurfacing of Willowbrook Drive “overdue.”
The Medina City Council also took up other business on May 21. Here are some meeting highlights.
WILLOW DRIVE IMPROVEMENTS
The City Council accepted the feasibility report for mill and overlay work on Willow Drive between County Road 24 and County Road 6 and called for a June 18 public hearing on the project and the special assessments.
Back in 2007 a consulting engineer recommended that Willow Drive be reconstructed, and in 2008, Medina placed the reconstruction project in its capital improvement plan at an estimated cost of $1.23 million, said Public Works Director Scherer. Then in 2009 Medina patched and sealed coated the street in order to get five more years life for Willow Drive.
Scherer recommended that mill and overlay work for Willow Drive take place this year to protect the integrity of the road. He called it a seven to 10 year solution. Estimated cost is $168,705.
The City Council directed city staff to draft a resolution approving a lot split request from T. Truxton Morrison for property at 1525 Hunter Drive. Morrison is proposing to split his 18 acre parcel into an 11 acre lot and a seven acre lot in an area that is zoned and guided in the comprehensive plan as Rural Residential.
Morrison said he wants to build a smaller house on one of the lots. He agreed to widen his private road from 18 feet to 20 feet and said he preferred to do the road work after construction of the house is complete. City staff said that would be okay.
Medina is asking Morrison to pay $8,000 in park dedication fees instead of providing park land.
JOHNSON AG PRESERVE
Dan and Jill Johnson have been going through a lengthy process of converting their property at 2505 Willow Drive to Agricultural Preserve status. The City Council requested the Metropolitan Council’s approval of the necessary comprehensive plan amendment, and the Met Council said, “Yes.” So on May 21, Medina granted its final approval of the comprehensive plan amendment and changed the city zoning map to show the property as Agricultural Preserve.
The City Council also took other action to complete the transition to the new zoning. Councilors approved the combining of three lots to make the property a single 61.5 acre parcel. The original three lots were 36.5, 15.78 and 9.25 acres.
The City Council said it was willing to support Dominium, an owner and manager of rental communities, in its application for state funding for constructing approximately 32 affordable rental housing units at 510 Clydesdale Trail. The council directed city staff to draft a resolution waiving sewer access charges and water access charges for the development. The fees would have been between $275,000 and $300,000.
A representative of Dominium said that Medina waiving the fees would show Minnesota Housing Finance that the Clydesdale Trail project has local support. The project is within a Medina tax increment financing district.