BOARD MEETING MINUTES – Monday, September 21th, 2020 – 7:00 p.m., via Zoom
Board members present: Dan Williams, Jon Dejong, Brenda Anderson, Pat Collins, Dirk Nicholson, Lori Gubrud, Kellie Hanson, Dick Fiala, Joan Staveley, Carl Arrell, Alyssa Thull, Dan Treinen, Heather Grovum
Board members absent: Brian McDonald
Also present: Rachel Hoban (Fuller Park Director), Councilmember Jeremy Schroeder, Marion Greene (Hennepin County Commissioner), 35 community members
Called to order: 7:02
Treasurer – no news
Secretary – Carl moved to approve August minutes. Alyssa seconded. Voice vote, all in favor, motion approved.
Rachel is back working at Fuller Park and the park building is open for scheduled programs only. Programs are posted on the website and are mostly youth-oriented ones like morning and afternoon preschool. Adult programming will start in October.
Jeremy said the mayor would normally have proposed a budget at this point in the year, but with COVID-19 the mayor and council won’t have a budget proposal until late September or early October. It will be a deficit budget. Mayor Frey suggested a levy under 6% and has previously relied on one-time funds to balance the budget, but the city now needs to cut the budget and/or raise revenue.
Chief Arrodondo recently presented to the council on safety topics. He talked about how he has restructured police to put more officers on patrol, necessitating reduction of some other services. He gave no specifics about neighborhoods and was concerned about differences of communication between leadership and rank-and-file.
County Commissioner Marion Greene
Hennepin county was given a chunk of money from the Federal government that must be spent by Dec 30th. The county is working to (among other things) get kids connected to the Internet, provide rental assistance, and small business help. Hennepin county is the main social services provider; when COVID-19 happened the county expanded shelter beds to handle distancing requirements and opened hotels to handle overflow. There are still shelter beds open every night despite people choosing to live in park encampments around the city. The county also oversees voting and elections. Early voting started mid-September and absentee ballots should be in the mail this week. There will be a few Saturdays where residents can drop ballots in boxes downtown near the Thrivent building.
Dick asked about a timeline for the phase-out of park encampments with the upcoming cool weather. Marion answered that there is no specific timeline as the county is housing people as fast as they can. They learned from a census at the Hiawatha encampment two years ago and one this year that roughly 1/3 of residents are from out-state Minnesota, 1/3 are from Hennepin county, and 1/3 are from out-of-state. The county wants people to choose shelter over encampment for safety reasons. Governor Walz feels uncomfortable with forcing encampment dispersal due to COVID-19. Marion’s opinion is that since the Hiawatha encampment the county has done a great job of helping encampment residents move into housing.
Risa Hustad asked if Marion had talked to residents directly; Marion she said she had visited other encampments but not Martin Luther King Park. Risa asked what the community can do to help extend the county’s homeless outreach programming team which currently has only 9 members. Marion answered that the county also pays other organizations to do outreach and that other organizations are contributing resources too. Marion suggested supporting homeless non-profits through donations or volunteering. They have more money to spend than they can find workers and non-profits are also finding it hard to staff up.
Eric Takeshita asked if Marion believed the census was representative of all encampments. Marion said she believes they were. She noted that Native American and people of color are over-represented in the encampments versus the general population.
Eric also asked what conversations are happening between county and Minneapolis around defunding police since the county is the main social services provider. Marion said that there are conversations around moving funding from some social service functions that used to be performed by MPD to county programs. She also said the county board is not interested in the county sheriff’s office taking over some of MPD’s policing role.
137 West 46th Street Development
Garret Duncan (Development Analyst with North Bay), Daniel Oberpriller (developer), Carol Lansing (land use attorney at Fegre/Drinker), and Damaris Hollingsworth (Architect), presented on the proposed development at 137 West 46th St. It will feature three stories, five townhome-style units with three bedrooms each, and target families. It will have a three-car garage and six bicycle spaces. The developers estimate perhaps one or two cars per unit. The existing building is an old one-story commercial building that turned into a two-bedroom residence.
Trash, recycling and compost would be stored at south-east corner or the building near the alley.
Carol addressed zoning questions. Minneapolis future land-use guidance is “urban neighborhood” which is primarily residential but doesn’t define density. Current guidance is corridor 3 (three stories with max 42ft height) but upcoming comprehensive plan doesn’t give much detail yet. City planners are drafting update proposals following the 2040 Plan but they aren’t ordinances yet. The developers are proposing three stories and 38ft which is less than current maximums. The proposed front yards would have a 15ft setback but would be reduced to 13.5ft due to bumpouts in some parts of the building, which Carol asserted was comparable to area single-family homes with porches. Back yard guideline is 5ft and developers are proposing 4ft 8in setback. Parking requirements under current zoning is zero spaces but the developers are including three and asking for a variance for maneuvering in the alley.
Alyssa asked about affordability of the units. Garrett indicated they comply with fair housing practices, but they do not have a target price yet and don’t have a final number for construction costs. Daniel answered they have done underwriting so they have some idea; Garrett answered they are aiming for $1800-$2500/month due to size and materials. Dirk asked if some of the units could be affordable; Daniel answered that they are not required to make them affordable but they would like to make them as affordable as possible. Carol answered that projects fewer than 20 units do not require affordable housing per city requirements.
Dan asked about the construction timeline. Garrett said they are looking to start this fall for a 12 month build cycle. Alyssa thought that parking would be inadequate as there are heavy parking users on the block already including three daycares. Brenda asked how the exterior material would hold up over time; Garrett answered that the materials have embedded color and will not require painting.
A neighbor asked about the proposed rear setback which is required to be 15ft with doors; they are requesting 9ft and will be adding privacy fences.
Eric Takeshita asked what the required practical difficulty was that caused the developers to ask for a variance; and noted that project cost cannot be considered a practical difficulty under city ordinance. Carol replied that since the Neighborhoods 2040 plan ordinance changes have not been drawn up yet, but that the city does not want to prevent developers from following its future requirements, that the City will consider variances from the current code that meet future 2040 code. Carol asserts that the developers are following 2040 plan guidelines for their variance requests rather than current requirements in some cases.
A resident asked about financing. Daniel replied that he (the developer) will own and manage the property. He already owns the land.
Another resident asked about privacy issues with a tall building looking into neighboring yards. Garrett replied that the rear 3rd floor windows are set back about 6 feet so nobody in the room will be looking down at neighbors.
The City Planner handling the project is Aaron Hanauer and he has requested further information from the developers. The next step is to schedule a plan commission hearing which will likely be held in November. Rezoning may need to go to the full Council, as will any appeal.
Equity: The committee drafted a mission/vision statement and core values which they would like to see TNA adopt. Dirk also presented a resolution in support of affordable housing. Brenda voiced support for the resolution but wanted to consider it more. She also asked what the end goal is. Dirk answered that some of the programs the task force is considering rely on this. Sally also said that she could include guidelines such as these in initial contacts with developers, for example.
Pat suggested the board come up with a list of considerations that each development project would be measured against.
Spaces: Dirk presented the near-final design of the new Washburn water tower informational sign. Alley cleanup is scheduled for October 17th.
Engagement: Dick is seeing lots of sold signs and is hopeful for the impact of TNA welcome kits. Sally is re-ordering welcome bags. The committee is re-invigorating the effort since bags were skipped in the spring due to COVID-19. The committee also looked at voter outreach and to block leaders.
Environmental: Pat reported that the committee held a virtual event on resilient yards facilitated by Metro Blooms which was attended by 50 people. They also held a virtual tour of installed rain gardens. The committee is planning its first virtual event showing the movie “True Cost” on October 22nd with a panel discussion following the presentation. They are planning another event on mindful shopping for textiles in November.
Executive Director Update
Neighborhoods 2020: Sally asked any board members who haven’t submitted individual comments to please do so. She heard that Armatage and Tangletown have already submitted the most comments about the plan.
Print News: the newsletter is final and will be going out in the mail very soon. Sally is hoping it hits mailboxes before Oct 1st despite mail being slow due to COVID-19.
West Broadway Business Coalition Funding: Sally got confirmation that the donation has gone through. The donation was a total of $45,000 from a number of neighborhoods including Tangletown.
Get Out the Vote: TNA partnered with the Coronavirus task force and will get information out about safe voting over the next couple weeks.
Minutes submitted by Dan Williams, TNA Secretary