July 28, 2014 Work Session






JULY 28, 2014 – 7:00 PM


Attendance: Reinhardt, Williamson, Hughes, Sippel, Bren, Pearson, Beck, Tolsma, Goman, Vyvyan.


    1. Mark Vyvyan will be in attendance to discuss with the Council.


Meeting closed for purposes of discussing litigation strategy.


    1. Paul Pearson will present nearly final plans and specifications related to the proposed drainage improvements near West Arm Central. Project timeline will also be discussed.


Pearson distributes the most current version of the plans and specs and notes that they only depict the drainage improvements and not street improvements. Pearson states that the second and third pages show the proposed grading of the drainage basin. Sippel asks if a retaining wall will be required between the pond and the retaining wall. Pearson doesn’t think one will be necessary because the proposal will match the existing grade. Sippel asks if a fence or hedge should be considered for safety reasons. Pearson explains that the three foot shoulder will still be in place and so a fence or hedge would not be required. Hughes asks what depth the pond will be at during a significant rain event. Pearson says that during a 100 year rain event there would be up to 10 ft. of water in the pond, although there shouldn’t be any standing water under normal circumstances because the intent is to have water infiltrate through the soil rather than drain to the lake. Williamson asks about the need for a fence along the trail again and states that there might be language in the City’s code that requires a fence. Reinhardt doesn’t think that a fence would be the most practical solution and notes that the lake is only a short distance from the trail so someone looking to play in water wouldn’t have to try very hard. Hughes asks what elevation the drain of the pond will be at. Pearson says 932.5 ft., which is higher than the all time high lake level reached earlier this summer. Pearson recommends that the City consider a fence or hedge once vegetation is removed once work begins, and informs the council that staff will look into any ordinances that may have language regarding fences.


Pearson states that the next three pages show erosion control measures and notes that if the total area disturbed exceeds ½ acre an additional permit will be required by the MPCA. Pearson says that directional drilling will be used, which should minimize road closures for residents. Reinhardt asks where equipment staging will take place. Pearson thinks that equipment will most likely be staged in the City’s storage area on Warren Avenue or on the City Hall grounds if necessary. Pearson explains that the plans show a shorter drain tile along West Arm Central than previous plans and that this was done to save some trees from being removed. Sippel asks if the drainage swale on the south side of the trail is still a component of the project. Pearson informs the council that staff met with the Hennepin County Rail Road Authority (HCRRA) to discuss that particular issue and that they agreed to remove the dilapidated fence along the south side of the trail, clear trees that have gotten overgrown, and restore the drainage swale as part of their maintenance program. Pearson describes the process for performing infiltration tests in the basin and notes that the tests will be done once the pond is excavated. Pearson comments that the infiltration tests will determine whether or not a drain tile will be needed in the pond basin. Pearson is hopeful that conditions will allow for infiltration and that anything less than a five or ten year rain event will actually stay in the pond and infiltrate rather than draining to the lake. Williamson thinks that this proposal is very sound and that it will be a significant improvement above and beyond what is already there. Pearson describes the maintenance plan for the pond and explains that the east end of the basin will be graded to allow maintenance vehicles to enter and exit the pond from that point. Pearson says that plans should be finished by the end of the week and that the project will be advertised for bid starting August 2nd. The timeline then includes bids being tabulated on August 26th and Council review taking place at the September 2nd meeting.


Hughes comments that he had watched the recording of the July 21st meeting and that he was surprised by how many residents spoke during the public hearing for the road project. Hughes also noted that he spoke with the Fire Chief Greg Pederson about some of the fire safety concerns that were expressed at that meeting. Hughes says that it is highly unlikely that an aerial truck with outriggers would ever go down West Arm Central and that he would like to stress to residents that a new road would significantly improve access for garbage trucks, ambulances, recycling trucks, and delivery trucks, not just fire safety equipment. Hughes also points out that according to the fire code the minimum width for a new road with a fire hydrant is actually 26 ft. and that 20 ft. is really the minimum width that a road without a hydrant should be. Goman says that he doesn’t want too much emphasis to be given to public opinion and that when his road was slated for reconstruction in Long Lake the City was very assertive in telling residents that the road was going to be done. Reinhardt states that the legitimacy of public comments should also be considered, and that some concerns like it becoming a two-lane highway and that speeding will dramatically worsen are being blown out of proportion. Williamson wonders if the concerns expressed during the public hearing are entirely accurate, or if they are an attempt to mask the fact that residents of the road simply don’t feel that the road is a priority worthy of their investment. Williamson thinks that maybe the City’s assessment policy should be reviewed to see if the process can be made more favorable for residents. Williamson notes that people are feeling less secure about their financial wellbeing since the recession and that it’s harder for them to want to part with money for things that they may not consider a necessity. Bren comments that she feels strongly about the need for street improvements and that she put up with a substandard street in front of her former home for many years that would cause damage to her property from runoff. Bren says she feels that the City should start being more proactive about infrastructure because things will only get more expensive in the future.


Reinhardt asks staff and council members if there is any more information they would like before the August 4th council meeting. Williamson says he would like to talk to some more residents to get a better understanding of their position. Sippel wonders if the term of the assessment could be extended out over a large number of years to make the residents more favorable of the project. Williamson says he would like more information about modifying the assessment policy.


    1. See attached draft letter.
    2. See attached assessment (double sided).


City Administrator Tolsma discusses a draft letter that is proposed to go out to residents updating them about the status of the City’s water. Tolsma asks for feedback from the council regarding the language and format of the letter. Sippel comments that the message it conveys is fine but that he would like to simplify it as much as possible. Hughes agrees with Sippel. Williamson suggests removing some of the more technical language in favor of simplicity. Tolsma and Beck say that they will work on refining the draft and have the updated letter on the agenda for the August 4th council meeting. Reinhardt notes that an excerpt of the complete environment site assessment is included in the packets and that it would be good information to have on the website. She asks if it should be posted now or if it should be posted when the letter goes out to residents. City Attorney Beck recommends that it be posted to the website when the letter goes out.


    1. See attached plan (double sided) regarding proposed improvements at the Hennepin County Boat Launch. The County is seeking the City’s feedback regarding any issues or concerns that we may have with the proposal. If there are no concerns the County will likely begin work on the improvements in August.


Reinhardt comments that the proposal would be a big improvement for the boat launch area and that it was thoughtful for the County to share their proposal with the City. Reinhardt recommends that City Planner Al Brixius review the proposal for consistency with the City’s ordinances. Sippel suggests that the City try to cooperate with the County on the dynamic sign in the hopes of partnering to some extent. Sippel also thinks that having the sign by Shoreline Drive would best. Hughes would like to talk with someone at the County about the proposal because he has a number of questions about the included options. Williamson notes that the residents in Shoreline Place may not necessarily be opposed to the proposal, but they may have additional concerns about the area adjacent to their docks. Tolsma says that staff will be meeting this week to discuss a number of items including this proposal. Reinhardt suggests that the City put a letter together once staff has had an opportunity to discuss it.