Monthly Archives: April 2014

SWLRT Municipal Consent Hearing Moved to May 29

SWLRT Municipal Consent Hearing Moved to May 29

The joint Met Council and Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority public hearing has been rescheduled to May 29 at the Hennepin County Government Center, 300 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis at 6PM

Here is the news advisory regarding the rescheduled joint Met Council and Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority public hearing. 


Metropolitan Council/Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority hearing on municipal consent moved to May 29

(St. Louis Park, MN) – Today, the Metropolitan Council announced that the joint public hearing with the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority will occur May 29 at the Hennepin County Government Center, 300 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis at 6PM. An open house will be held on the Public Service Level of the Hennepin County Government Center beginning at 5PM. The previously announced May 12th hearing will not take place.

The hearing was rescheduled to May 29 due to the need to correct information in the Minneapolis portion of municipal consent plans. Municipal consent plans, which are available on the Council’s website at and at numerous city halls and libraries along the corridor, were updated by Council staff on April 22 to ensure every set contains corrected information.

What is municipal consent?


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Three Comments on Southwest LRT

The following are three letters-to-the-editor relating to SWLRT that were published in the April 26, 2014 issue of the StarTribune:


This project ought to be sent back to beginning

I am weary of the opinions of “Policy Advisory Committee” members and other “urban planners” who think they know what is best for the growth and development of our metro area. The maps, charts and statistics that Bob Corrick and John DeWitt present (“Southwest LRT routing is best for a complete network,” April 24) make the project appealing on paper.

However, in my opinion, these statistics do not accurately reflect the views and attitudes of the voting public. Frankly, a large percentage of Cedar-Isles-Dean, Kenilworth and Kenwood residents does not want LRT traveling through the Kenilworth corridor. In fact, my wife and I recently moved from the Cedar-Isles-Dean neighborhood in large part to escape from the light-rail line.

Like it or not, the freight trains, runners, bikers and residents of the Kenilworth corridor are not going anywhere. In contrast, the Southwest LRT trains can be rerouted to the Midtown Greenway and Nicollet Avenue. Like it or not, the Kenilworth corridor is no longer a feasible option. Like it or not, the Southwest LRT project needs to start over.

Andrew F. Arthur, Edina


So the city of Minneapolis, which was perfectly happy to inflict massive berms on St. Louis Park to reroute Southwest Corridor freight trains, gets hives over an apparently mistaken suggestion that light-rail tunnels proposed to appease a handful of Cedar-Isles residents be bermed — just like the existing bermed tunnel that takes the Hiawatha Corridor LRT and road across Minnehaha Park in southeast Minneapolis (“Tunnel mix-up snags rail plan,” April 23). This reaction demonstrates perfectly the infantile and hypocritical animus behind the city’s whole stance on this issue. Perhaps the city would prefer that we go back to the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s original idea for this corridor: the Southwest Diagonal Freeway, a four-lane expressway connecting Highway 7 to I-394 at Parade Stadium via Cedar-Isles.

Andrew Selden, Edina


No matter how routing of SWLRT is explained by the Met Council, the fact remains that no passengers will be able to get on or off the trains between Lake Street and downtown Minneapolis.

Running the trains through the woods ruins the recreational value of the Kenilworth Trail area and wastes the cost of a massively expensive public resource by running it where it cannot be used to serve potential passengers.

Paul F. Leutgeb, Minneapolis

Southwest LRT: Shaping Minneapolis’ future

Southwest LRT: Shaping Minneapolis’ future

Here is another perspective on SWLRT by Bob Corrick and John DeWitt.  This opinion piece was published on the editorial pages of the April 24, 2014 edition of the StarTribune.  Here is the link to the item: 






Greystar defines ‘rental condominiums’ proposed near Lake Calhoun

The following article by Michelle Bruch was published on April 21, 2014 in the Southwest Journal.

PARK WATCH NOTE: This article is being posted on Park Watch because the proposed Greystar project is across the street from Lake Calhoun and, therefore, is subject to the Shoreland Height Ordinance, which at this site allows building height up to 60 feet.  Structures located on lake shore property elsewhere are limited to two and one-half stories or 35 feet. Because the Greystar developer wants to go even higher, it becomes a park related issue.

Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch and former Board Member of ELECT (Emergency Lakes Environmental Coalition Task Force).

Greystar defines ‘rental condominiums’ proposed near Lake Calhoun


Greenway view looking west with Calhoun Beach Club Apartments in background.
Image by ESG Architects

Greystar cleared neighborhood review in Cedar-Isles-Dean this month, planning high-end apartments at 2622 W. Lake that would rise four stories lower than the neighboring Calhoun Beach Club Apartments.

The eight-story and three-story structures would sit on piles three feet above the water table. ESG Architects Principal David Graham said the project would not need to pump any groundwater from the site.

“We know that’s a huge concern,” he said at an April neighborhood meeting. “The entire building is like a Santa Monica pier, and floats above the water.”

Average rents for the “rental condominiums” would be $4,500 per month, although a larger 4,000-square-foot unit skews the average a bit. The apartments would charge $2.30-$2.60 per square foot, with an average unit size of 1,600 square feet.

“What’s a rental condominium?” one meeting attendee asked.

Graham said the apartments would be built as though they were condos, with 10-foot ceilings, ample storage and large units.


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Tunnel Design Mix-up Snags Southwest Corridor Light-rail Plan

The following article by Pat Doyle was published in the April 23, 2014 edition of the StarTribune. The original article, with any associated images and links, can be viewed at

Tunnel Design Mix-up Snags Southwest Corridor Light-rail Plan


Planners of the Twin Cities’ biggest transit project sent Minneapolis a different design for tunnels than the one approved by metro leaders two weeks ago, delaying the city’s review past a key deadline.

The Metropolitan Council, the agency overseeing the $1.68 billion Southwest Corridor project, sent the city a design that shows one of two light-rail tunnels in the Kenilworth corridor being built in berms rising as high as 13 feet above the existing ground level, an element not included on designs previously made public.

City officials challenged the elevated design, which would likely prompt more objections from nearby residents already upset with the Southwest project.

Met Council Chairwoman Susan Haigh called the changes an error by her staff and directed it to “rescind and replace” the altered version with the one the agency approved earlier.

“I found out about it … and said, ‘Whoa, that’s not what we agreed to. You need to resubmit the plans that we actually agreed to,’?” Haigh said Tuesday.

On Tuesday her agency sent the approved design to Minneapolis.


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Information Meeting on Minnehaha Parkway Renovation

The following has been circulated by the Park Board and Public Works:

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB), along with the Minneapolis Department of Public Works, invites you to an informational open house regarding the renovation of Minnehaha Parkway East from 27th Avenue South to 38th Avenue South. This project is scheduled to occur during summer of 2014.

When: Tuesday, April 29th, 6:30pm – 8:00pm

Where: Lake Nokomis Community Center, 2401 E. Minnehaha Pkwy., Minneapolis, MN 55417

The current parkway surface has deteriorated and is beyond a serviceable condition. At the open house, staff will discuss the project scope and schedule, and present preliminary property assessment mapping. Please tell your neighbors and plan on attending.

If you require language translation or other accommodations, please contact (612) 230-6472 at least 2 business days in advance of the meeting.

Steven R. Goldsmith’s Comments on Southwest Light Rail

The following letter-to-the-editor from Steven R. Goldsmith regarding SWLRT was published in the April 15, 2014 issue of the StarTribune:

Unacceptable Costs

The editorial portrays the conflict as one of regional development vs. “the interests of disgruntled property owners.” This is both inaccurate and unfair to those who have expended countless hours of public and private time on this proposal.

The core of the conflict is actually the integrity of the planning process for regional transit development and the proper observation of key regulatory activities. The Metropolitan Council recommendation violates a key tenet of the planning process for this line, which from Day One has been based on relocating freight out of the Kenilworth corridor. Further, it may have placed federal funding for this project in serious jeopardy by approving a plan quite different from the previously chosen “locally approved option,” which was fully vetted by an environmental-impact statement. Beyond that, the dispute is about the need to balance the developmental needs of the region with the imposition of potentially unacceptable costs not just on homeowners but on thousands of metro users of a wonderful urban amenity. Last, the editorial fails to mention that there has been a proposed solution for Kenilworth — the “deep tunnel” — which if submitted to and vetted by an environmental-impact statement would make all current conflict moot.

Steven R. Goldsmith, Minneapolis

Ben Becker’s Comments on Southwest Light Rail

The following letter-to-the-editor from Ben Becker regarding SWLRT was published in the April 15, 2014 issue of the StarTribune:

Newspaper Unhelpfully Chooses Its Villains

I am very disappointed that the Star Tribune is positioning Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and the City Council as the only things standing in the way of the Southwest Corridor light-rail project (“Lack of leadership threatens SWLRT,” editorial, and “For Minneapolis, LRT hits deal or no-deal time,” front page, both April 13) and trying to boil down the issue to the NIMBYs, when the real problem is that the current plan provides no transportation benefit to residents. The route runs through one of the least-dense, most-affluent areas of the city.

The editorial mentions the need for public transportation that more efficiently moves people to jobs throughout the metro area. Metro Transit already provides an exceptional system serving the areas along the route. In the past seven years, every workday, I have ridden the bus from either Minnetonka, St. Louis Park or Uptown to my work in downtown Minneapolis, and to evening classes at the University of Minnesota, and I have found it convenient, on time and efficient. Many of my co-workers ride the bus from Eden Prairie and the other cities around the proposed light-rail line, and they are not disappointed in the service.

Ben Becker, Minneapolis


Heads-Up for the April 16, 2014 Park Board Meeting

5:00 P.M. REGULAR BOARD MEETING. The meeting will be held in the boardroom at Park Board headquarters, 2117 West River Road, just north of Broadway Pizza

5:30 P.M. OPEN TIME. Speakers can call 612-230-6400 before 3:00 p.m. the day of the meeting to sign up or they can sign up at the Board meeting prior to the start of “Open Time”

6:30 P.M. PUBLIC HEARING for Dickman Park Playground Improvements

Some agenda items of interest:


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Letter from FERC to Crown Hydro, April 3, 2014

This is an introduction by Doug Verdier to the latest letter from FERC to Crown Hydro’s president, Thomas R. Griffin:
FERC’s Edward A. Abrams is reminding Crown Hydro of the many requirements FERC expects to be included in any “amendment application” and giving them a deadline of Sept. 30, 2014 for submission.  FERC also emphasizes the concerns raised by interested agencies as well as the public, several of which were not listed in Crown’s Feb. 22 report to FERC on their progress, including the public meeting of Nov. 26, 2013.

Verdier goes on to comment that he continues to be amazed that FERC is referring to the “amendment application,” especially after FERC had stated very clearly many months ago that an amendment was inappropriate due to the numerous changes to the project’s location and scope.

Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch

Project No.11175-024 — Minnesota
Mill Hydroelectric Project
Crown Hydro, LLC

April 3, 2014

Mr. Thomas R. Griffin
President, Crown Hydro, LLC
2432 East 1st Street
Duluth, MN 55812

Subject:  Preparation of amendment application

Dear Mr. Griffin:

We received your February 25, 2014 report, filed in response to our October 9, 2013 letter. In our letter, we reviewed your plans for initial consultation, including a meeting with interested agencies, tribes, and the public as part of developing an application to amend the license of the Crown Mill Project. We asked you to file, within 90 days of the meeting, a detailed schedule for conducting or otherwise responding to all study requests, developing a draft amendment application, soliciting comments on the draft application, and filing a final application for Commission approval.

February 25, 2014 Report


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