Minutes - May 13, 2010

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF

THE MINNEHAHA CREEK WATERSHED DISTRICT

BOARD OF MANAGERS

May 13, 2010

CALL TO ORDER

The regular meeting of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers was called to order by President James Calkins at 7:07 p.m. at the District offices, 18202 Minnetonka Boulevard, Deephaven, Minnesota. 

MANAGERS PRESENT

James Calkins, Lee Keeley, Richard Miller, Pam Blixt, Jeff Casale and Mike Klingelhutz.

MANAGER ABSENT

Brian Shekleton.

OTHERS PRESENT

Eric Evenson, District Administrator; James Wisker, Planner/Program Coordinator; Steve Christopher, Regulatory Program Manager;  Michael Panzer, District Consulting Engineer; Louis Smith, District Counsel.

MATTERS FROM THE FLOOR

None.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Mr. Evenson requested that Item 10.2, Review comments on the proposed amendments to District Rules be moved after Item 10.3, Approval of Annual Audit; he also requested that the 2009 fund transfers and closures be added to the audit approval; Mr. Evenson noted that the feasibility study for Langdon Lake in Item 11.3 is in Mound, not Minnetrista; and requested that Item 7.3 be added to the agenda, correspondence concerning aquatic invasive species.  Manager Calkins suggested that the Board note correspondence from the City of Victoria as Item 7.4 to the agenda.  It was moved by Manager Keeley, seconded by Manager Miller to approve the agenda with these changes.  Upon vote, the motion carried.

CONSENT AGENDA

Upon request from the managers, Mr. Steve Christopher appeared before the Board of Managers and explained Item 6.3 as a request for a non-binding resolution expressing support for a cost share grant to St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church.  Mr. Christopher invited Mr. Derek Lash to appear on behalf of the church to explain the project.  District Counsel Smith asked Mr. Lash if he understood that this non-binding resolution meant that it was possible that after considering an application, development of relevant criteria and deliberation by the Board of Managers, the District may not award any funding for this project.  Mr. Lash said he understood that was the case.  Following discussion, it was moved by Manager Klingelhutz, seconded by Manager Miller to approve the Consent Agenda as distributed.  Upon vote, the motion carried.

REGULAR AGENDA

Committees and Task Force Reports

Update on Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Discussions of Minnehaha Glen Project

President Calkins reported that he had met with John Irwin, President of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to discuss the status of the Minnehaha Glen Project.  He indicated that the next meeting of the MPRB is on Wednesday May 19, and that it would be helpful for the Board of Managers to provide input in advance of that meeting.  President Calkins summarized the discussion focusing on three issues:

  1. Placement riprap protection along the footings of the retaining walls;
  2. How to prevent erosion in the area of the proposed upper trail; and
  3. responsibility for Phase III of the project. 

President Calkins stated that it seemed that there could be joint support for placement of riprap along the footings of the retaining walls; that we should seek input from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board on a plan to prevent erosion with an alternative to the proposed upper trail; and that the District should be flexible on responsibility for Phase III of the project, which the MPRB would like to assume.

Manager Blixt stated that she felt that it would be best to be neutral on the question of responsibility for Phase III at this stage, noting also that Manager Shekleton has a strong concern about this aspect.  Manager Calkins noted that the combined three elements have been viewed by the Park Board as a package.  Manager Blixt stated that she did not like the idea of making all three of these elements conditioned on each other. 

Following discussion, it was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Casale that the Board of Managers express continued support to President Calkins proceeding with a discussion as outlined, noting that the creek repair is a key consideration for the District, inviting MPRB to propose a plan for preventing erosion as an alternative to the upper trail project, and leaving phase III responsibility as an issue for further discussion.  Upon vote, the motion carried by a vote of 4-2, with Managers Blixt and Keeley voting against the motion. 

IT Committee

Manager Casale provided a summary of the consultant selection process, and following a meeting on May 26 at St. Louis Park City Park at 5:00 p.m., the Committee will bring a consultant recommendation to the Board of Managers.

Citizen’s Advisory Committee

Manager Blixt noted that she attended the April 22 CAC meeting which focused on a clean water act presentation.

Finance Committee

Mr. Evenson noted that he would be working with the Finance Committee to schedule a meeting before the end of the month. 

2009 Fund Closures and Transfers

Mr. Evenson noted that the Audit Committee had reviewed the finance statement of the District for 2009, and reviewed a draft Resolution 09-046 which addresses 2009 fund closures and transfers.  Mr. Mark Gibbs appeared before the Board of Managers and reviewed the resolution and audit.  Following discussion, it was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Keeley to adopt Resolution 09-046, authorizing the fund closures and transfers for 2009.  Upon vote, the motion carried.

2009 Audit

It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Keeley to accept the 2009 audit and authorize its distribution.  Upon vote, the motion carried.

It was moved by Manager Klingelhutz, seconded by Manager Casale that the District adopt the vendor verification procedures recommended by Mr. Gibbs for purposes of the 2010 audit.  Upon vote, the motion carried.

Review Comments on Shoreline and Wetland Rules

Mr. James Wisker appeared before the Board of Managers and reviewed the second round of public comments received on proposed amendments to the District’s shoreline improvement and wetland protection rules.  Following a review of the rulemaking process and the most recent comments received, he outlined the following recommendations for revision to the rules to be considered at a future public hearing and deliberation by the Board of Managers:

Shoreline Rule staff recommendations:

l  Erosion intensity worksheet has been revised.  Used as guidance.  

Access corridor language should apply where native vegetation exists (with or without riprap)

l  Change language to “recommend” vegetation be included into riprap maintenance projects

l  Simplify maintenance plan requirements

Wetland Rule staff recommendations:

l  No change to buffer widths based on available flexibility

l  Include provision similar to shoreline rule allowing access corridor to lake

l  Reword road reconstruction definition in accordance with comments

l  Single family home definition

l  Ensure wetland buffer area does not exceed wetland area

l  MCWD should provide signs at cost

l  MCWD should provide option of performing post construction monitoring

l  Require that mitigation credits be sought privately before MCWD bank

l  Buffer averaging allowed due to demonstrated site constraints

l  Provide flexibility for excavation for storm sewer outfalls

l  Incorporate guidance on calculating soil and slope

l  Incorporate list of practices that can be employed to reduce buffer width

l  Wetland complexes can be assessed on a site by site basis

President Calkins invited members of the public to offer comments. 

Mr. David Newman appeared before the Board of Managers on behalf of Bancor Group and stated that he felt that a maximum buffer width of fifty feet should be adequate.  Manager Casale noted that there are various means in the proposed rule to allow for further reduction of buffer widths; Mr. Newman stated he felt that while many of his own projects could likely take advantage of such flexibility, many other projects could not, and that a fifty-foot buffer width should generally be considered adequate.  .

Ms. Candice Hanson, City Manager for Mound, appeared before the Board of Managers. She noted the extensive use of red rock riprap along the six miles of common shoreline of Lake Minnetonka in Mound.  The City is undertaking a long range project to replace this red rock with fieldstone, but that will take some time.  She asked how the proposed rule amendments would apply to this situation.  Mr. Wisker explained that replacement of old red rock with fieldstone would be allowed under the proposed rule amendments, unless the old red rock had degraded to such a point that iti s now soil, and the shoreline is left in a completely natural state with soils that can accommodate plantings.  Ms. Hanson also asked about access corridors through the commons shoreline area and whether it is possible under the proposed rule amendments to trim such vegetation.  Mr. Wisker replied that trimming or thinning for access is allowable, but clear cutting would not be. 

Mr. Mark Hanus, Mayor of Mound, appeared before the Board of Managers.  He asked about prohibitions of removal of vegetation in cases when trees are falling down and present a safety concern.  Mr. Wisker responded that the District recognizes that public safety needs are paramount, and that selective tree removal would certainly be allowed, in the context of the overall goal to preserve the natural shoreline where it currently exists.  Mayor Hanus asked further about steep shoreline banks and cases where shoreline owners would like to trim trees and other vegetation to promote visibility.  Mr. Wisker responded that trimming for visibility and viewshed is allowable, but not thorough removal of vegetation.  President Calkins noted that it would also be appropriate for such owners to check with the DNR, as excessive trimming can also be harmful to shoreline vegetation. 

Mr. Don Uram, City Manager for Victoria, appeared before the Board of Managers.  He stated that that there are primarily “Preserve” wetlands in the City of Victoria, and that the City would be supportive of a reduction in buffer widths.  Mr. Uram also asked when the draft of proposed further rule revisions would be available for public review, and requested at least a two week opportunity in advance prior to the public hearing and board action. 

Mr. Tom Fletcher, Council Member for the City of Greenwood, appeared before the Board of Managers.  Mr. Fletcher asked for a clean copy of the proposed rule amendments and also requested additional time for review prior to the public hearing, in order that parties may offer further suggestions for adjustments to the rules. 

Ms. Melissa Barrett appeared before the Board of Managers, noting that she had previously participated in the rulemaking task force.   She noted the use of MNRAM to classify wetlands and noted further that proximity to lakes is a factor that will leave many wetlands to be placed in the “Preserve” category.  She recommended dissecting wetlands into smaller functional units, as a wetland complex may have multiple wetland functional types within it.  Mr. Wisker responded that it is appropriate for a more specific functional assessment to analyze wetlands on a case by case basis, but such detail would be too much to address in the rules themselves.

Ms. Kristin Archer, City Engineer for the City of Richfield, appeared before the Board of Managers.  She recommended that shoreline bioengineering not be required but rather encouraged with incentives.

Ms. Hanson requested that Mr. Wisker share his PowerPoint presentation with interested parties, and Mr. Wisker agreed.

Following discussion, it was moved by Manager Casale, seconded by Manger Miller to set the public hearing date for the proposed amendments to the shoreline and wetland rules for July 8, 2010.  Manager Blixt stated that she felt this was extending the process unnecessarily.  Upon vote, the motion carried by a vote of 5-1, with Manager Blixt voting against the motion.

Board Discussion Items

Upon the recommendation of Mr. Wisker, the Board deferred discussion of the Grays Bay Dam operations.

Dutch Lake Draft Feasibility Study

Mr. Wisker reviewed the draft feasibility study for Dutch Lake, the Board of Managers thanked Mr. Wisker for this presentation.

Langdon Lake Draft Feasibility Study

Mr. Panzer reviewed the draft feasibility study for water quality in Langdon Lake.  Mr. Panzer reviewed the range of treatment options and estimated cost for improving water quality in Langdon Lake.  He noted that the primary source of pollution in Langdon Lake has been the historic discharge of sanitary sewer, a practice which ceased in the 1970’s.  Through discussion, the managers noted that the project as proposed would have minimal impact to improve water quality in Lake Minnetonka, but would be primarily a question of improving water quality for Langdon Lake itself; that the water quality problem in Langdon Lake was created by a municipal utility, and remedied  by the Metropolitan sanitary sewer system; that further citizen involvement and expressions of interest from the City and or lakeshore owners would be important before proceeding with consideration of this project; and a variety of funding options may be appropriate, including cost sharing arrangements with other units of government or more localized funding options.  Mr. Evenson noted that the staff would continue to obtain input from property owners and city representatives, and continue to consider this project in the context of the District’s overall project priorities.

Correspondence

It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Keeley to receive and file the letter from the City of Victoria dated May 10, 2010.

 

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business, the meeting of the Board of Managers adjourned at 11:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lee Keeley, Secretary