Minutes - Jan 14, 2010




January 14, 2010


The regular meeting of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers was called to order by President Jim Calkins at 6:55 p.m. the District offices, 18202 Minnetonka Boulevard, Deephaven, Minnesota. 


James Calkins, Pamela Blixt, Richard Miller, Lee Keeley, Jeffrey Casale, Michael Klingelhutz, Brian Shekleton.




Eric Evenson, District Administrator; Mark Ten Eyck, District Land Conservation Program Manager; James Wisker, District Planner; Michael Panzer, District Consulting Engineer; Chuck Holtman, District Counsel.


Tom O’Connor, Council Member, City of Victoria stated that Victoria is opposed to the District’s acquiring land in fee between Wasserman and Marsh Lakes.  He stated that the corridor is critical for utility infrastructure for intended growth in the southern part of the City, and that there would be a taxpayer impact of over $1 million in lost water and sewer connections and lost property taxes from 75 homes.  He said that the City believes that its ordinances are conservation oriented and supports projects to improve water quality in the area, but believes the District’s goals can be accomplished without acquisition of fee title to properties.  He conveyed the invitation of the City Council to meet with the Board of Managers to discuss cooperation. 

Manager Shekleton arrived at this time.


It was moved by Manager Keeley, seconded by Manager Blixt to approve the agenda with the reordering of Item 10.7 to follow Item 10.1.   Upon vote, the motion carried.


It was moved by Manager Keeley, seconded by Manager Shekleton to approve the consent agenda with the exception of the December 7, 2009 minutes, consisting of approval of the record retention schedule update.  Upon vote, the motion carried.


Board Elections and Committee Assignments

Manager Calkins was nominated to continue to serve as President.  It was moved by Manager Klingelhutz, seconded by Manager Keeley to close nominations.  Upon vote, the motion carried.  Manager Calkins was elected as President by unanimous vote.


Manager Blixt was nominated to continue to serve as Vice President.  Manager Shekleton was nominated for Vice President.  Manager Blixt declined to stand for election.  It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Casale to close nominations.  Upon vote, the motion carried.  Manager Shekleton was elected as Vice President by unanimous vote.

Manager Miller was nominated to continue to serve as Treasurer.  It was moved by Manager Klingelhutz, seconded by Manager Miller to close nominations.  Upon vote, the motion carried.  Manager Miller was elected to serve as Treasurer by unanimous vote.

Manager Keeley was nominated to continue to serve as Secretary.  It was moved by Manager Klingelhutz, seconded by Manager Miller to close nominations.  Upon vote, the motion carried.   Manager Keeley was elected to serve as Secretary by unanimous vote.

Mr. Evenson presented the existing committee slate.  He noted that by custom, the Vice President chairs the Personnel Committee, which would call for Manager Shekleton to be named to the committee.  Managers Keeley, Blixt and Miller all affirmed their desire to remain on the committee.  Manager Keeley also asked to be designated an official member of the Building Task Force. 

Mr. Evenson noted also that the Minnesota Association of Watershed District representatives traditionally have included the President and Vice President.  Manager Shekleton responded that Manager Blixt’s experience and voice are a benefit on that body and that he would defer.  Finally, Mr. Evenson noted that the recently created Urban Corridor Task Force is not on the distributed roster and that it consists of Manager Miller as chair, as well as Managers Klingelhutz and Casale.

It was moved by Manager Calkins, seconded by Manager Shekleton to adopt the committee roster as presented with the additions of Manager Shekleton as chair of the Personnel Committee and Manager Keeley to the Building Task Force, and with the recognition that Manager Casale is the chair of the Building Task Force.  Upon vote, the motion carried.   

Committee and Task Force Reports

Manager Miller advised that the Property Search Task Force did not make sufficient progress to finalize the request for proposals and noted that it needs to be sensitive to partnerships.  He advised that Mr. Wisker will refine the RFP and legal counsel will be engaged in review.  He is confident of a sound process and product.  The Task Force will meet again on January 19, at 6 p.m., at the District office.  The Board confirmed its prior authorization allowing the committee to publish the RFP after an opportunity for Board members to review, and conditioned on an absence of objection. 

Manager Calkins noted upcoming meetings: Citizens’ Advisory Committee at 6:30 p.m., January 20, at the District offices; Information Technology Committee at 5 p.m., January 27, at St. Louis Park City Hall; and Legislative Committee at noon, January 29, at St. Louis Park City Hall.


January 7, 2010 Minutes

Manager Casale distributed proposed revisions to the draft minutes.  It was moved by Manager Casale, seconded by Manager Shekleton to approve the minutes with revisions as proposed.  Upon vote, the motion carried.

Authority to Hire Consultant for Six Mile Creek Evaluation

Mr. Ten Eyck presented the request for board action and proposed Resolution 10-012 authorizing the Administrator to enter into an agreement with Cross River Consulting for site evaluation work for a price not to exceed $9,990.00.  Mr. Ten Eyck reviewed the area to be covered by the evaluation from Halsted Bay to Highway 7.  Tony DeMars, Principal, Cross River Consulting, provided a further overview of the resource characteristics of the area and scope of the proposed work. 

Mr. Ten Eyck advised that the City of Minnetrista supports the District’s evaluation work in this area; it is doing its own inventory work and is interested in coordinating with the District.  Manager Klingelhutz urged that the scope include at least two meetings with the City of Minnetrista and confirmed from Mr. DeMars that the area in question does not include any land within the City of Victoria. 

Manager Klingelhutz noted that he would abstain from the vote because he knows the Dimlers, owners of property within the study area. 

It was moved by Manager Blixt, seconded by Manager Keeley to approve the proposed resolution with the addition of the requirement for two meetings with the City of Minnetrista early in the process.  Mr. Ten Eyck remarked that a meeting already is scheduled for next week.  Upon vote, the motion carried 6-0-1 (Manager Klingelhutz abstaining). 

Authorization to Retain Consultants for Feasibility Studies

Mr. Wisker presented Requests for Board Action and Resolutions 10-006 through 10-010 authorizing the Administrator to enter into consultant agreements for feasibility studies for the following projects:  Minnehaha Creek Reach 7 Restoration, Long Lake Creek Reaches 2 and 5 Restoration, Langdon Lake Infiltration, Turbid-Lundsten Phase II and Steiger Lake Pond.  Mr. Wisker described a revised procurement process developed by Renae Clark, Nat Kale, and himself that moves from a low-bid focus to place more weight on proposal quality.  The proposals are reviewed for quality before quotes are considered.  Selection will be made based on quality unless there are substantial cost differences, as a general matter.

Mr. Wisker noted two corrections in the documents, namely that the reference to Pierson Lake in the Turbid-Lundsten RBA should be to Parley Lake and the reference to Langdon Lake subwatershed in the Steiger RBA should be to the Six Mile Creek subwatershed.

Manager Klingelhutz asked whether the scopes of work include meetings with cities.  Mr. Wisker replied that each scope includes a kick-off meeting with stakeholders including cities, though not city councils.  He also said that a “town hall” community meeting would occur after completion of the draft. 

Cara Geheren, Victoria City Engineer, concurred that the Steiger Lake area is a good area for the study and expressed her city’s interest in partnering, possibly including making land available.  She noted that Victoria also needs to obtain load reductions to meet TMDL and MS4 obligations.  She noted that Victoria has good access to mailing list and other methods to reach interested parties.  Manager Casale asked who the District notifies.  Mr. Wisker replied that typically notice is published in local papers and that each year the District’s capital improvement program is sent to the cities.  Mr. Evenson added that the city manager, planning staff and other city staff are kept advised.  Manager Casale suggested that the Rulemaking Task Force members have shown their interest and dedication and should be added to the mailing list generally for these studies.  Manager Miller commended staff for the modified review process.  Mr. Wisker replied that they have received positive feedback from proposers. 

It was moved by Manager Blixt, seconded by Manager Shekleton to adopt the proposed resolutions with an understanding that staff will focus on more effective outreach to municipalities.  Upon vote, the motion carried.


Board Retreat Agenda

Manager Calkins noted the Board retreat scheduled for January 28 and advised that he and Mr. Evenson have assembled a short list of potential agenda topics including the annual governance policy review.  The location has not yet been selected.  Manager Casale urged that the meeting be off site and that there be no public business to take time away from a focus on policy matters. 

Comments of City of Victoria

Manager Klingelhutz asked that the Board determine its response to the Victoria City Councils invitation to meet.  Manager Calkins suggested that staff should review the City’s letter and advise the Board on the issues raised, and that a meeting involving managers then could be scheduled.  Managers Klingelhutz and Casale asked to be included in the District’s delegation.

Draft Rule N:  Stormwater Management Discussion

Mr. Wisker reviewed comments received on Rule N and options for responding to the comments.  The central issue is the trigger for the stormwater management rule, primarily the applicability of the rule to parcels smaller than one acre and activity on single-family parcels.  Mr. Wisker reminded the Board that it asked staff to review applying the rule to parcels smaller than one acre.

Staff discussed the issue with the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), performed a GIS analysis to create watershed maps by parcel size and created data sets with land use and percent impervious categories for each parcel size grouping.  The result shows that almost all acreage of parcels smaller than one acre is in single-family detached housing and these typically have a high percentage of impervious surface.  Staff modeled the volumes and phosphorus loadings for each land use and for each size category of parcels.  The question therefore reduces in large part to that of regulating activity on single-family detached parcels.  This would include teardowns/rebuilds, additions and single-family lot splits and subdivisions.  It could require a qualitative approach based on use of Best Management Practices or could place quantitative standards on volume capture or phosphorus load reduction.

The task force commented that additions should not be regulated because of minor impact, homeowner burdens and staff administrative burdens.  It suggested regulating teardown/rebuild activity adjacent to public waters.  It noted that if 25 percent of all single-family parcels are redeveloped, that would represent just two percent of the total land in the District, which would appear to be a minor issue.  The task force agreed with regulating splits of lots larger than one acre. 

The TAC is opposed to regulating teardowns just near public waters, on the basis that applicability should be uniform.  The TAC uniformly opposes regulation of single-family homes on parcels smaller than one acre.  It noted that local shoreland requirements do place impervious surface percent limits on properties within a thousand feet of public waters.  It also noted that municipal MS4 permits require strategies such as raingardens that offset impacts.  Manager Blixt observed that municipal standards apply only in the absence of variances, which municipalities often grant almost as a matter of course.

Mr. Wisker noted that the City of Victoria in particular would like further examination to determine whether teardowns and lot splits actually are an issue.  He believes that if the District is considering regulating these activities, additional work should be performed to demonstrate to stakeholders that he District has done full due diligence.  Manager Miller commented that variance practice among the municipalities should be examined as well.

Manager Blixt suggested caution in using the past to forecast the future.  With the trend back toward the urban core, more teardowns can be expected.  Manager Casale commented that staff research is constructive and important to satisfy stakeholders as to process, which itself is critical to the success of the rulemaking effort.  He raised the philosophical question as to whether limiting percent impervious surface moves the District into land use regulation.  He noted the need to get beyond city concerns that the District is engaging in land use regulation.  Manager Miller responded that the District is not regulating percent impervious surface or otherwise regulating land use, it is regulating the impacts of land use. 

Manager Casale stated that even if there is not a large number of lot split, each split increases the impact from that lot and therefore ought to be subject to obligations similar to other activities with like effects.  Mr. Evenson noted that areas where lot splits of smaller parcels occur also often tend to be areas where the stormsewer system is at or over capacity, so that local flooding may be a concern.

Manager Calkins commented that development density necessarily will increase, especially in city centers, and that lot splits are an issue.  He also concurred in the view expressed by developers that new development should not bear all the burdens of past development.  To Manager Calkins, the core of watershed management is that everyone has responsibility for their own impacts, including single-family homeowners.  He noted that the shoreland impervious surface limits of 25 to 30 percent are already at a level that results in substantial degradation of receiving waters, according to research.  Finally, he noted that watershed districts are given explicit statutory authority to regulate “land use,” but that the District typically has not sought to use that authority.  The approach has been not to constrain how land may be used, but simply to require that the potential water resource impacts of uses be addressed.  To Manager Calkins, the question is whether regulation of single-family lots can have a meaningful impact.  He is not certain alternate additional study is needed. 

Manager Casale urged that the District look aggressively at capital projects to put stormwater collection under surface lots such as on school, church and mall property. 

Responding to Manager Klingelhutz, Mr. Wisker indicated that the TAC is opposed to any regulation of single-family lots so that if the District intends to go in that direction, more work should be done.  Manager Casale suggested a focus on what the District could do that would have a small effect on each parcel but would be wide-ranging.   As an example, he cited rain gutter disconnect requirements.  Manager Blixt asked that each manager bring to the retreat an idea to address developed property. 


Mr. Evenson noted that Metro MAWD will meet on January 19 at 7 p.m., and that District staff will be holding a retreat on January 15, and the office will be closed.


There being no further business, the regular meeting of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers was adjourned at 9:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lee Keeley, Secretary