Medina gets ready for Town Hall meetings

MedinaCityHallCitizens to comment on affordable housing

Medina City Councilors, Tuesday, May 6, called for two special meetings so that they all can attend the upcoming Town Hall meetings on the proposed Dominium affordable townhome project. The council took this action in order to comply with Minnesota’s open meeting law.

The Town Hall meetings will be at Medina City Hall, 2052 County Road 24, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 28, and Thursday, May 29. The city is inviting Medina residents and business people to attend.

Several city councilors, including John Anderson, said they wanted city staff to make a factual presentation at the start of the meetings. Anderson noted that representatives of Dominium, which builds and rents affordable townhomes, and Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners would be at the Town Hall meetings.

He said that at this point he has an open mind and he wants to hear residents talk about their concerns.

“I don’t want to be sold by Dominium and Interfaith Outreach,” Anderson said.

Dominium is proposing to build 32 affordable rental townhomes on Clydesdale Trail north of the Medina Entertainment Center.

“The townhomes will provide rental housing for families making 60 percent of Area Median Income ($49,740 for a family of four) and below,” the city of Medina says on its website. “Four of the 32 units will be dedicated to families who have lacked permanent housing for over a year. Typically, these families are single mothers, with children, who have left difficult relationships.”

At the City Council meeting, a Medina resident said a number of residents think that the council already has approved the Dominium project.

Mayor Elizabeth Weir said the City Council has not yet made a decision. That will happen after the Town Hall meetings. She also said Section 8 housing is not being proposed for the Dominium project. (Section 8 housing provides federal rental assistance to low-income tenants).

After the meeting, City Administrator Scott Anderson said the council will look at a plat for the Dominium planned unit development in June. The Planning Commission on April 8 decided to recommend approval of the Dominium development to the City Council.

Dominium representatives did some research on locating a project in Medina before developing plans for the Clydesdale Trail project. This research included a request for city support as Dominium applied for tax credits from the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. The City Council approved the sending of a letter of support for Dominium to the MHFA, which subsequently granted the tax credits.

The City Council also took up other business on May 6.

PIONEER-SARAH CREEK WATERSHED PLAN

Medina resident Mike McLaughlin expressed concerns about the third-generation watershed management plan that is being proposed by the Pioneer-Sarah Creek Watershed Management Commission. After hearing from McLaughlin, the City Council decided that Medina should inform the commission that the city supports his comments.

McLaughlin is active in the Lake Independence Citizens Association and is Medina’s citizen representative for the Pioneer-Sarah Creek commission. He said the technical part of the third-generation plan and goals look good, but “The financial part is just a mess.”

The budget for the Pioneer-Sarah Creek commission is so small that it does not have money for applying for matching grants to fund projects, he said. The commission has inadequate reserves. “If a fantastic grant opportunity becomes available, we can’t apply for it because we have no funds.”

He added: “Nobody wants higher taxes.” However, people do say that they want better water quality, and the watershed commission is required to make improvements.

“The cost of a cup of coffee per person would give us a budget to do something with,” McLaughlin said.

PARK AND RIDE

City Administrator Scott Johnson reported on the results of Medina’s bus survey in which residents were asked about their interest in having park and ride bus service to downtown Minneapolis. Metropolitan Transit told him that Medina is not yet at a point where it needs its own park and ride. This situation could change once people have moved into the many new housing projects in the Highway 55 area.

Mayor Weir added that residents are traveling to many locations other than downtown.

“Their destinations are too diverse,” she said.

 

OTHER

The City Council also:

ACCEPTED a proposal from WSB city engineers for engineering services needed to go ahead with improvements to Medina’s Well No. 8, located in the Enclave at Brockton Lane housing development. Well No. 8 will provide raw water that will backfill a stormwater pond in the development. Pond water will be used for lawn irrigation.

ACCEPTED the audit report of Medina’s 2013 finances. The auditing firm Abdo, Eick and Meyers gave Medina a clean opinion.

APPROVED the final plat and development agreement for Hamel Haven, located at 805 Hamel Road. JJC Hamel LLC requested approval to divide the site into two parcels.

Contact Susan Van Cleaf at susan.vancleaf@ecm-inc.com

 

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