Minutes - Jan 7, 2010

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF

THE MINNEHAHA CREEK WATERSHED DISTRICT

BOARD OF MANAGERS

January 7, 2010

CALL TO ORDER

The regular meeting of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers was called to order by President Jim Calkins at 6:59 p.m. in the District offices, 18202 Minnetonka Boulevard, Deephaven, Minnesota. 

MANAGERS PRESENT

James Calkins, Richard Miller, Lee Keeley, Jeff Casale, Michael Klingelhutz, and Brian Shekleton

MANAGER ABSENT

Pamela Blixt.

OTHERS PRESENT

David Mandt, District Operations Manager; James Wisker, District Planner/Program Manager; Steve Christopher, District Regulatory Program Manager; Mark Ten Eyck, District Land Conservation Program Manager; Natalie White, Maintenance Technician;  Michael Panzer, District Consulting Engineer; and Louis Smith, District Counsel.

MATTERS FROM THE FLOOR

None.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

It was moved by Manager Shekleton, seconded by Manager Keeley to approve the agenda as distributed.   Upon vote, the motion carried.

CONSENT AGENDA

Mr. Smith requested that the minutes of December 17 be pulled from the Consent Agenda.  Manager Casale requested that Items 6.3 and 6.4 be pulled from the Consent Agenda.  Manager Klingelhutz requested that Item 6.6 be pulled from the Consent Agenda.  It was moved by Manager Keeley, seconded by Manager Miller to approve the remaining items on the Consent Agenda, consisting of authorization to contract with Wenck Engineering for pond sediment surveys, authorization to execute a Cooperative Agreement for vegetation management with the City of Shorewood, and authorization to contract with Larry Blackstad for creek corridor planning.  Upon vote, the motion carried.

BOARD ELECTIONS AND COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS

President Calkins noted that all Managers were not present and therefore deferred action on board elections and committee assignments to a future meeting.

COMMITTEE AND TASK FORCE REPORTS

Building Committee Report

Manager Casale introduced Ms. Michelle McGuire, the District consultant for the Building Committee.  Ms. McGuire reviewed the process for accessing the site near Minnehaha Creek owned by the City of Minnetonka for a District office.  She reviewed the assessment process and concluded that the site would be suitable for a building to accommodate the District office in its projected programming needs.  Ms. McGuire also reviewed financial information to indicate that the District constructing a building on the creekside site contributed by the City of Minnetonka would be financially preferable to an ongoing District lease in any private office building.  Ms. McGuire stated that the next step would be to develop a letter of intent to formalize the expressions of interest between the City and District regarding the land availability.  It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Keeley to authorize the staff to pursue a letter of intent with the City of Minnetonka confirming the City’s commitment to contribute the land subject to mutually agreeable development requirements for the site, the building and their use.  Upon vote, the motion carried.

Property Search Task Force

Manager Miller reported that the Property Search Task Force, charged by the Board of Managers to develop a process for accelerating the identification of appropriate sites for the District’s land conservation program, will plan on meeting on January 11 at 3:00 p.m.  The Task Force is interested in issuing a request for proposals to identify a consultant to work with the District in this process.  Manager Casale stated that the consultant would be tasked with finding and analyzing real estate opportunities on a non-commission fee basis.   He noted that Ms. McGuire had been invited to attend the Task Force meeting to assist in the development of the request for proposals.  Manager Miller stated that it would be their preference to have the Board of Managers authorize the Task Force to issue the request for proposals prior to the next Board meeting; he suggested that the RFP would be distributed to the Board of Managers and if any single manager requested Board discussions it would be deferred to the next meeting.  Following discussion, it was moved by Manager Keeley, seconded by Manager Miller to authorize the Task Force to prepare a request for proposals that could be issued  prior to the next Board meeting, unless an individual manager requested board discussion.  Upon vote, the motion carried.

President Calkins noted difficulty in scheduling the Legislative Committee meeting, and stated that it would be rescheduled at a future time.

 Minutes of December 17, 2009

Mr. Smith noted suggestions from Mr. Ten Eyck to revise the minutes as follows:  on page 4, under Land Conservation Program Audit and Policy Discussion, line 5, revise to read “…an updated financial summary for the land conservation program would be provided at a later date.”  On page 5, under Priority Acquisition Areas, paragraph 3, line 3, revise to read ”…based on the greatest possible impact for water quality and natural resource considerations and the likely availability of land for purchase.”

Following discussion, it was moved by Manager Shekleton, seconded by Manager Miller to approve the minutes of December 17 with these changes.  Upon vote, the motion carried. 

Amended Cooperative Agreement for Vegetation Maintenance-City of St. Louis Park

Ms. Natalie White appeared before the Board of Managers and reviewed the request for board action to amend the cooperative agreement with the City of St. Louis Park.  Following discussion, it was moved by Manager Shekleton, seconded by Manager Casale to approve this request and Resolution 10-001.  Upon vote, the motion carried.

District Cell Phone Policy

Mr. David Mandt reviewed the District’s proposed cell phone policy.  Manager Casale referred to paragraph 13 of the proposed policy, which provides that District employees may not use a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle except in the case of an emergency.  Manager Casale recommended adding “unless using hands free equipment,” noting that with this revision the policy is more likely to be followed.  Manager Miller stated that he felt the policy provision was still to restrictive.  Mr. Mandt reviewed the purposes behind the cell phone policy and the organization of the District cell phone system.  Following discussion, it was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Shekleton to approve the District’s cell phone policy as distributed with paragraph 13 deleted.  Upon vote, the motion carried.    

President Calkins recommended that Item 6.6 be deferred to later in the agenda.  Mr. Smith noted that it would be appropriate to discuss this Item in closed session as Item 11.2.

Public Hearing:  Proposed Amendments to Rule G

 

President Calkins convened a public hearing to hear comments on the proposed amendments to Rule G.  Mr. James Wisker appeared before the Board of Managers and summarized the comments received to date as reviewed in his memo of January 7.  Mr. Wisker also noted that Hennepin County Transportation staff had called him with several late comments.  Noting that paragraph 3-d-iv concerning rural section roads targets rural sections with low traffic, the County suggested that it could benefit wildlife by installing surmountable curb for turtles and other species, but such a measure then would not meet the definition of rural section roads.  The managers commented that such a change would be helpful.  County staff also recommended that this paragraph be revised to refer to vehicle speed of forty miles per hour or less, which the managers also noted as a helpful clarification.  Finally, Hennepin County staff had requested more flexibility in the prescription of three types of stream crossings to accommodate wildlife, noting that some of the specific dimensions are overly prescriptive.  The Managers directed the staff to explore revision to the proposed Rule that would achieve the District’s goals and seek to provide more flexibility.

Mr. David Newman appeared before the Board of Managers representing the Bancor Group.  He noted his participation on the Rulemaking Tasking Force and his general support for protecting first tier streams as reflected in the proposed amendments to Rule G.  Mr. Newman noted that there are site conditions, such as at the Woodland Cove property, where gullies have formed in response to serious erosion problems.  Mr. Newman stated that he felt that such gullies should be filled and restored, rather than require a new crossing.  Manager Calkins stated that he felt the goal should be continued maintenance of natural hydrology, but that in some cases restoration to mitigate erosion maybe warranted.  Mr. Newman showed photographs of a gully at the Woodland Cove site, and Manager Calkins stated that he was not sure that such a situation warranted fill.  Mr. Panzer stated that the erosion at the Woodland Cove site maybe the result of unique soil issues.  He noted that such soil erosion can also cause adverse water quality impacts on the lake. 

Mr. Wisker recommended that rather than change the definition of watercourse to exclude such gullies, the District consider the approach of pursuing minimal impacts.  He suggested that the staff work on language to provide for flexibility and exceptions to achieve minimal impacts, rather then revise the definition of watercourse.  The managers thanked Mr. Newman for his comments. 

There being no further comments, President Calkins closed the public hearing. 

Closed Session

Mr. Smith noted that the Board would then adjourn to a closed session to discuss two items: settlement of a claim concerning property use issues at 6430 County Road 26 in Minnetrista, and discussion of a purchase agreement for the property located at 7200, 7202, 7250 and 7252 Excelsior Boulevard in St. Louis Park.  Whereupon, the Board of Managers went into closed session.

Property Use Issue for 6430 County Road 26

The Board of Managers returned to open session.  It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Keeley to approve the settlement as proposed by staff and reimbursement of expenses incurred by Ms. Wells in the amount of $1,073.25.  Upon vote, the motion carried by a vote of 5-1, with Manager Klingelhutz voting against the motion. 

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business, the regular meeting of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers adjourned at 9:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lee Keeley, Secretary