Minutes - March 11, 2010

 

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF

THE MINNEHAHA CREEK WATERSHED DISTRICT

BOARD OF MANAGERS

March 11, 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 7:00 p.m. at the District offices, 18202 Minnetonka Boulevard, Deephaven, Minnesota. 

MANAGERS PRESENT

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

MANAGERS ABSENT

None.

OTHERS PRESENT

Eric Evenson, District Administrator; James Wisker, District Planner; Mark Ten Eyck, District Land Conservation Program Manager; Ellen Heine, District Land Conservation Specialist; Steve Christopher, District Regulatory Program Manager; Luke Schwitzer, District Technician/Compliance Officer; Michael Panzer, District Consulting Engineer; Louis Smith, District Counsel.

MATTERS FROM THE FLOOR

None.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Mr. Evenson requested that the Metropolitan Council Land Use presentation be deleted from the agenda and rescheduled for a future meeting; that a discussion of the wetland and shoreline/streambank rules be added as Item 10.4 to the Agenda; and that the PRC, Inc. agreement and RMB Laboratory Inc. agreement be pulled from the Consent Agenda.  President Calkins requested that a discussion of correspondence from the City of Victoria be added as Item 11.4 to the Agenda.  It was moved by Manager Keeley, seconded by Manager Klingelhutz to approve the Agenda with these changes.  Upon vote, the motion carried.

CONSENT AGENDA

Manager Keeley requested that the minutes of February 18, 2010 be pulled from the Consent Agenda.  Manager Casale requested that the minutes of March 4, 2010 be pulled from the Consent Agenda. 

REGULAR AGENDA

Permitting Department Annual Report

Mr. Steve Christopher presented the annual report of the permitting department.  The managers thanked Mr. Christopher for his presentation.

Committees and Task Force Reports

MAWD Legislative Update

President Calkins reported on attendance at the annual legislative breakfast of the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts, also attended by Manager Keeley and Mr. Evenson.

Property Search Consultant Selection Task Force

Manager Miller reported that three firms have been identified in response to the request for proposals and that these firms would be interviewed at the next meeting on March 29 at 3:00 p.m.

Wasserman Community Meeting

James Wisker reported that he presented the Wasserman project to a community meeting in Laketown Township on March 10.  The meeting was well attended with interest expressed among some of the residents in forming a lake association and in participating in the District’s land conservation program.  The residents had a strong interest in water quality at Lake Wasserman.

Manager Miller stated that he felt this subject related to the letters received from the City of Victoria dated March 10, 2010.  Manager Miller stated that he was very concerned with the political tenor of these letters that seems to suggest that the City of Victoria is not interested in cooperating with the District on projects.  It was moved by Manager Miller that the District suspend all of its activity within the City of Victoria.  Manager Casale seconded the motion for purposes of discussion.  Manager Blixt stated that she shared this concern, but was curious about the extent of the impacts of such an action.  Manager Casale suggested that action be deferred until those impacts could be known.  Mr. Evenson offered that the staff could collect this information and present it to the Board of Managers later in the meeting.  It was moved by Manager Blixt, seconded by Manager Keeley to table the motion.  Upon vote, the motion to table carried. 

IT Committee

Manager Casale noted that the next meetings of the IT Committee would be on March 24 at 5:00 p.m. in St. Louis Park City Hall, and Saturday April 10, at 10:00 a.m. at the District offices for interviews of web site design firm respondents.

Manager Shekleton arrived at this point in the meeting (7:50 p.m.)

Minutes of February 18, 2010

Manager Keeley referred to page 5 of the minutes at the bottom of the page under the Discussion of Public Education.  She requested that the minutes be revised to read “Manager Keeley expressed her concern over the process of communication with the level of misunderstanding about the proposed rule amendments.”  It was moved by Manager Keeley, seconded by Manager Miller to approve this change.  Upon vote, the motion carried by a vote 6-1, with Manager Casale voting against the motion.

Mr. Wisker referred the Board of Managers to page 3 of the Minutes of February 18, under the Discussion of Public Beaches on page 3, noting the proposed revisions distributed in response to clarification requested by Manager Casale.    It was moved by Manager Klingelhutz, seconded by Manager Miller to approve the minutes as amended with these further changes.  Upon vote, the motion carried.

Minutes of March 4, 2010

President Calkins stated that on page 8, he recalled that there was a motion that he made that is not reflected in the minutes.  It was moved by Manager Calkins, seconded by Manager Keeley to table approval of the minutes of March 4 to allow for a review of this question.  Upon vote, the motion carried.

PRC, Inc. Computer Consultant Contract

Mr. Evenson noted a revised Request for Board Action and Resolution 10-31 distributed at the meeting.  It was moved by Manager Casale, seconded by Manager Miller to approve Resolution 10-31 as revised.  Upon vote, the motion carried.

RMB Laboratory Inc. Contract for Water Quality Sample Analysis Services

Mr. Evenson noted a revised Request for Board Action and Resolution 10-029, distributed at the meeting.  It was moved by Manager Klingelhutz, seconded by Manager Miller to approve Resolution 10-29 as revised.  Upon vote, the motion carried.

Shoreline Assessment Proposal

Mr. Evenson noted that pursuant to the request of the Board of Managers to prepare a scope of services for an inventory of the shoreline of Lake Minnetonka and other lakes, Mr. Panzer had prepared a proposal to conduct an inventory of shoreline conditions on Lake Minnetonka in order to quantify riprap and other types of shoreline.  It was moved by Manager Blixt, seconded by Manager Keeley to approve Resolution 10-030.  Manager Shekleton requested further explanation of the cost involved, and Mr. Panzer reviewed the proposal in greater detail.  Mr. Wisker noted that staff does not have the capacity to produce this information within the timeline useful for the Board of Managers in the current rulemaking process.   The managers also discussed the categories with which to characterize the shoreline.  It was moved by Manager Blixt, seconded by Manager Shekleton to amend the proposal to add a category 8 for turf with no riprap.   Manager Blixt further noted that if the category of shoreline obscured by trees turns out to be significant then the Board of Managers can consider what further information should be gathered by field verification.  Upon vote, the motion on the amendment carried.  Following discussion, upon vote, the motion to approve the proposal as amended carried.

Acquisition of Property for Land Conservation Purposes at 6525 County Road 26, City of Minnetrista

Ms. Ellen Heine appeared before the Board of Managers and noted the report on the discussion of this matter at the Minnetrista City Council meeting on March 8, and the report in the meeting materials.  Mr. Evenson noted the email response from the City of Minnetrista staff stating that they had no comments on this transaction.

It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Shekleton to appear the Request for Board Action and Resolution 10-023 authorizing the acquisition of the property, and Resolution 10-204 requesting financing and providing for reimbursement of acquisition cost with Hennepin County.  President Calkins asked if there were any public comments, and there was none.  Upon vote, the motion carried by a vote of 6-1, with Manager Klingelhutz voting against the motion.

It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Blixt to authorize the treasurer to sign the earnest money check for this transaction.  Upon vote, the motion carried.

Discussion of Wetland and Shoreline/Streambank Rules

Wetland Protection Rule

Mr. Wisker reviewed proposed revisions to the wetland protection rule in response to comments received and direction provided by the Board of Managers.  The managers requested that Section 2 be clarified to state more clearly the District’s authority and jurisdiction.  Manager Casale requested that where language in the rule is taken from the state rule for the Wetland Conservation Act, this be noted in footnotes.

Manager Calkins noted his concern with excavation in Type 1 and Type 2 wetlands that converts the wetland to a deep water wetland unnecessarily.  The managers directed that the excavation section of the rule be revised to address this concern. 

The managers discussed the proposed buffer widths and noted that the proposed changes reduce the buffer width based on beneficial slope or soil conditions could result in a combined 8 foot reduction in buffer width.  The managers noted that for the smaller buffers this may not be appropriate.  Following discussion, the managers directed that minimum base buffer widths be provided in the amount of 16 feet for Manage 3; 24 feet for Manage 2; 34 feet for Manage 1; and 67 feet for Preserve.

Manager Casale stated that he was concerned with the applied buffer width for new principal residential structures, because in some cases of narrow 50 foot lots, a buffer width of 25 feet would render the lot unbuildable.  Following discussion, the managers directed that this provision be revised to provide for such buffer width, so long as it does not render a property unbuildable, and that buffers for these residential structures not exceed the base buffer width for the management class of the wetland.

Closed Session:  Land Conservation Program Consideration of 7515 Halsted Drive, Minnetrista

The managers adjourned to a closed session to consider the contract terms of a possible acquisition of a land conservation interest at 7515 Halsted Drive in Minnetrista.

The managers adjourned the closed session and returned to open session.

Shoreline and Streambank Stabilization Rule

Mr. Wisker reviewed the most recent proposed changes in response to comments and the direction of the Board of Managers.  The managers clarified that maintenance of existing shoreline improvements should be exempt from the erosion intensity calculations.  The managers further directed that applications for streambank stabilization need not be certified by a registered professional engineer.  The managers directed that the shoreline and streambank sections of the rule be separated.

Mr. Wisker noted that further revision is needed for the public beaches section of the sandblanket provisions in order to respond to the managers’ previous direction. 

In response to a question from Manager Calkins, the managers directed that the exception for applications of the maintenance of an existing improvement would be for existing improvements that have not degraded to a natural state.

Discussion of Correspondence from City of Victoria

It was moved by Manager Blixt, seconded by Manager Miller to remove from the table the previous motion to suspend all District activities in the City of Victoria.  Upon vote, the motion carried.

Mr. Evenson distributed information complied by the staff during the meeting that reviewed the District’s capital improvement program and identified projects planned within the City of Victoria or its annexation area.  The managers noted that the annual property tax levy to the District from the City of Victoria is approximately $170,000, and that the District has planned over $12 million in water resources projects with in the City of Victoria or its annexation area. 

Noting his initial motion, Manager Miller commented that the correspondence from the City of Victoria appeared to reflect a political agenda rather than interest in working with the District to address water resources and land use planning issues.  He noted that it appears from the information provided by staff that the property tax base in Hennepin County would be substantially subsidizing water resource improvements within the City of Victoria and Carver County, and if the City of Victoria is not really interested in working with the District, then the wisdom of this plan should be re-evaluated.  Manager Shekleton stated that he felt these issues should be approached very carefully, that it would appear that there is a political agenda, and that the disproportionate investments could be a concern.  Manager Calkins stated that while the political agenda is disturbing, the District should continue to focus on its mission to protect water resources.  Manager Casale commented that he felt that the questions posed by the City of Victoria would certainly require much more than 15 days to respond.  Following discussion, upon vote, the motion to suspend all District activities in the City of Victoria failed by a vote to 3-4, with Managers Shekleton, Miller, and Blixt voting in favor of the motion, and Managers Klingelhutz, Calkins, Casale, and Keeley voting against the motion. 

Manager Calkins directed Mr. Evenson to proceed to work to respond to the questions from the City of Victoria as soon as possible.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business, the meeting of the Board of Managers adjourned at 12:05 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lee Keeley, Secretary