Heavy traffic and rapid population growth in northeast Medina again dominated discussions at the Tuesday, July 15, Medina City Council meeting, and the council took steps toward addressing both issues.
The council also took up other business. Here are some meeting highlights.
STAGING OF POPULATION GROWTH
City Councilors directed Medina’s planning staff to go ahead with a study of potential changes to the city’s staging plan for when land can be developed — a process that will include public open houses in mid to late August. A public hearing before the Planning Commission is scheduled for Sept. 9, and the City Council is scheduled to review the staging plan on Oct. 7. Review by neighboring jurisdictions would take place in November and early December and by the Metropolitan Council from December through April.
City Planner Dusty Finke estimated that the staging plan study could cost as much as $9,600 if changes are made to Medina’s Comprehensive Plan. This estimate includes the $1,500 cost for mailing information about the open houses to residents and property owners.
Mayor Elizabeth Weir said, “It is really important that people who are affected by this know about it.”
Weir said she recently discovered that Medina’s city newsletter is not universally read, despite the fact that it is mailed to all residents and business owners. During the recent controversy over the Dominium affordable housing proposal, information was published in the newsletter and residents said they did not know about the proposal. More than one person asked Weir, “What newsletter?”
Medina created its staging plan for development when the city drafted its 2030 Comprehensive Plan. The staging plan is a tool for managing urban sprawl and preventing leapfrog development. Land in northeastern Medina is in the stage that is open for development. Future stages for development move gradually to the west. This is Medina’s attempt to have sanitary sewers, city water and roads keep up with new development. But the city needs help from the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Met Council in the form of roads and sewer mains.
Since 2011, Medina has approved plats for 510 single-family homes and 41 townhomes, and developers are proposing even more. Since 2010, builders have constructed 309 residential units, approximately 70 per year. A record 163 units were constructed in 2013.
COUNTY ROAD 116, HIGHWAY 55
State Sen. David Osmek stopped by to give a legislative update, and City Councilor Kathleen Martin asked for his help with getting improvements to the County Road 116 and State Highway 55 intersection. Osmek said Medina should get a proposal for improvements to him and state Rep. Jerry Hertaus, along with estimated costs. The two of them and their colleagues could put together a bill and bring it before a committee when the next legislative session opens in January.
Mayor Weir said Medina has had a proposal for the intersection improvements for several years, and the price tag is $2.5 million. Traffic congestion begins with motorists traveling south along County Road 116 from as far north as Rogers, “and the problem is in our city,” she said.
Martin said that Medina needs transportation improvements and the Minnesota Department of Transportation has said it has no money for improvements to Highway 55.
Osmek said he would provide Medina with a list of names and contact information for committee members who would review a bill. He urged Medina residents to contact committee members.
“The louder you are, the more attention you’re going to get,” he said. “Be persistent and consistent.”
SOCIAL HOST ORDINANCE
The City Council reviewed a proposed city social host ordinance and directed city staff to incorporate recommended changes. Staff will bring a revised ordinance before the council at a future meeting.
The proposed ordinance would hold a person criminally responsible for hosting a gathering where underage guests possess or consume alcohol. Councilor Martin said the ordinance should call for the host to announce at every party that alcohol is not permitted.
The City Council also:
APPROVED a $4,000 contract with RES Specialty Pyrotechnics Inc. for fireworks at Medina Celebration Day on Sept. 20 at Hamel Legion Park.
APPROVED a temporary 30-day ordinance calling for no wake by watercraft on all of Lake Independence during periods of high water. The city of Independence must also approve this ordinance. During the 30-day period, the two cities will have the opportunity to enact a permit ordinance. The previous ordinance prohibited wakes within 250 feet of the shore line.
Contact Susan Van Cleaf at firstname.lastname@example.org