JUNE SNG COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
SNG Community Development Committee
Matthews Center, 2318 29th Av. S.
June 10, 2014, 6:30 p.m.
PLEASE NOTE THE EARLIER START TIME.
6:30 Introductions and approval of the May minutes
6:40 Proposed Expansion of Seward Montessori School
In December, the School Board approved the enrollment plan proposed by the district, which included plans for new programs and capital improvements in MPS. Seward Montessori will be one of the schools receiving a building addition and renovations as part of that plan. These building improvements are intended to 1) create classroom space more appropriate for the current program size and services, 2) create a more welcoming, workable, and safer main entrance/office area, and 3) address some multi-purpose issues such as lunchroom space and storage.
The architects for the project will present the plans for expansion and remodeling of the school. The plan includes adding a third story to part of the school and ground level additions. A construction start is planned for October 2014.
7:30 Variance for a Garage at 2360 Seabury Avenue South
Richard and Denise Musser, owners of the residence at 2360 Seabury Ave. S., are planning to demolish the existing garage and replace it with a new garage. The project, if approved, would include a 434 sq. ft., detached, five-walled garage fitted into the southwest corner of this triangular lot bounded by Seabury Avenue and 24th Street. The replacement structure would be a hipped-roof, stucco-walled garage matching the primary dwelling and recreating the architectural feel of the present, obsolete and deteriorating building.
In order to accommodate the minimum frontage for a 16-foot-wide, overhead door — while maintaining the minimum allowed distance from property lines — the new structure must expand the footprint of the existing garage so that the NNE wall would come within 4.3 feet of the dwelling. This portion of the plan would require a variance from the code distance of 6 feet.
- City Council Member Gordon
- City Council Member Warsame
- Seward Redesign
- SNG Housing Coordinator
7:50 Other Business
7:55 Adjourn. (The Park staff locks the outside doors at 8 p.m. so all attendees must exit)
Community Development Committee
May 13, 2014
Attending: Ken Webb (Chair), Ben Walen, Bob Hain, Kathy Sikora, Sheldon Mains, Christine Brand, Rick Musser, Denise Musser, Matthew Hendricks, Matt Shipman, Wendy Epstein, Hannah Epstein, Gabriel Hoffman, Brennan Furness, Mike Palmer, Jim Davnie, Robin Garwood (City Council member Gordon’s office), Brian Miller (Seward Redesign), Doug Wise (SNG Housing Coordinator).
The April 8, 2014 Community Development Committee minutes were approved.
Proposed Safety Improvements along 29th Avenue and the Midtown Greenway
Matthew Hendricks said Seward Montessori School has received a Safe Routes to School grant, which will focus on making 29th Avenue and 24th Street Bike Boulevards. The group working on this project has identified a number of safety improvements along 29th Avenue and the Midtown Greenway, which could be implemented this year. Matthew said the proposed improvements include:
- 29th Ave and 26th Street – He said the proposed change would switch the stop signs to face east- and west-bound traffic. This would decrease the number of stop signs for bicycle traffic on 29th Ave. and slow down the traffic on 26th Street. This change would need to be coupled with the closing of 29th Ave. over the Greenway to prevent 29th from becoming a raceway.
- 30th Ave and Greenway – The proposed change here would also include switching stop signs, which would require traffic to stop for the Greenway.
- 29th Ave at Greenway – The recommendation is for full closure of 29th at the Greenway to prohibit through travel by motorized vehicles; pedestrians and bicycles would still be able to cross and enter Greenway. It is suggested that this be a temporary change during the summer give people the opportunity to comment. If it is successful, the change would become permanent.
- 27th Ave at Greenway – Similar to 30th Ave at the Greenway; Key differences: 27th is a bus route, and buses all stop at RR crossing & Greenway. 27th has narrower crossing at Greenway
- 26th Ave at Greenway – This is one of the most dangerous crossings because of the amount of vehicular traffic and the width of the street. The suggestion is to use bollards to narrow the lanes at the Greenway. Because 26th Ave. is a County Highway, the County will need to be involved in this decision.
- Minnehaha Ave at Greenway – The desirable treatment here would be similar to 28th Street and the Greenway – i.e. using the center turn lane space to create a center refuge for Greenway users making the crossing. It was stated that the flashing yellow lights with the yield signs are sometimes more confusing than helpful.
Doug Wise said at 26th Ave. and Greenway the Bikeway curves and there is a chain-link fence that obscures the motorist’s view of bicycle traffic approaching on the Greenway. He said there is also some confusion as to whether bicycles have the right-of-way because the yield signs only have the pedestrian symbol and there are stop signs on the Bikeway. He said replacing all the yield signs at greenway crossings with signs displaying both the pedestrian and bicycle symbol, as at 26th Street and Hiawatha, would alleviate some of the confusion.
Wendy Epstein said she lives near the corner of 29th Ave. and 26th Street and is opposed to switching the stop signs at this intersection. She said the best solution would be a four-way stop. This was recommended by SNG a few years ago and rejected by the city. She felt that switching the signs would give a false security to bicycle traffic on 29th Ave. because traffic on 26th Street might not obey the stop sign.
Motion: The Seward Neighborhood Group recommends approval of the following safety improvements along 29th Avenue and the Midtown Greenway:
- 29th Ave and 26th Street – switching stop signs to face east- and west-bound traffic
- 30th Ave and Greenway – switching stop signs
- 29th Ave at Greenway – full closure of 29th at the Greenway to prohibit through travel by motorized vehicles; pedestrians and bicycles would still be able to cross and enter Greenway.
- 27th Ave at Greenway – similar to 30th Ave at the Greenway; Key differences: 27th is a bus route, and buses all stop at RR crossing & Greenway. 27th has narrower crossing at Greenway
- 26th Ave at Greenway – Use of bollards to narrow the lanes at the Greenway
- Minnehaha Ave at Greenway – Desirable treatment would be similar to 28th St and the Greenway – i.e. using the center turn lane space to create a center refuge for Greenway users making the crossing.
Bob Hain moved and Gabriel Hoffman seconded. Motion passed. Robin Garwood abstained.
Riverside Avenue and South 9th Street Intersection
Doug Wise said, on occasion, people are driving across the new bump-out where South 9th used to be, across the sidewalk and green space. He said, last year, this was discussed at a couple of committee meetings. At the February 2013 meeting, it was decided a piece of art would serve as both a barrier to errant drivers and act as a gateway into Seward. In September, Jack Becker, Executive Director of Forecast Public Art, met with the committee to discuss funding ideas and the process of securing a public art installation at the Riverside/9th location. Action was taken at the September meeting to inform the Public Works Department of the neighborhood’s concerns about the intersection and ask them to work with the neighborhood to implement a solution
Kathy Sikora said that orange barrels have been placed at this location to prevent vehicles from driving across the green space. She said it would be nice to see something more attractive, such as public art in this location. It was stated that someone needs to do some research on possible funding sources. The Seward Coop was suggested as a possible source of funds. It was suggested that SNG reach out to the local arts community to see if someone would be interested in taking on this project.
Motion: The Seward Neighborhood Group should seek a volunteer coordinator to pursue development of a public art project at the intersection of 9th Street and Riverside Avenue. Sheldon Mains moved and Rick Musser seconded. Motion passed. Robin Garwood abstained.
Rezoning of the Commercial Building at 3330 East 25th Street
Mike Palmer, owner of the building located at 3330 25th St E (Seward Laundromat Building), said he is requesting a rezoning of this property from the current R1-A to C-1. He is seeking a new permanent long term tenant in the vacated ‘River Road Hair Salon’ space.Because the building is a non-conforming use, any future lessee needs to complete an expensive & time consuming process to get city approval for a ‘change of use’ for the space before occupying it. Since its construction in 1929, the building has been used for commercial purposes. Rezoning to C-1 would allow the building to continue operating in the same manner.
Motion: The Seward Neighborhood Group recommends approval of a rezoning of the commercial building located at 3330 East 25th Street from R1-A to C-1. Gabriel Hoffman moved and Brian Miller seconded. Motion passed. Robin Garwood abstained.
Report from Robin Garwood, Council Member Gordon’s Office
Robin said he and Cam had met with Kraus Anderson concerning the site at 30th Avenue and the Greenway. Kraus Anderson said they do not have definite plans yet for redevelopment of the site, but Robin felt they are leaning toward a housing project. Robin said they were asked to meet with the neighborhood to discuss their future plans for the site. Brian Miller said there is a limited amount of developable I-2 zoned sites in the city and he would like to see the land developed for industrial use. Brian said he has a greenhouse project that could be located on the northern portion of the site and serve as a buffer between the current residential uses and a new industrial development.
Robin said that Council Member Warsame has been meeting with the Public Works Department and Hennepin County on the Franklin/Minnehaha/Cedar intersection. They are pushing for a temporary closing of Minnehaha Avenue north of Cedar Avenue and construction of a left turn lane from southbound Cedar Avenue onto 22nd Street.
Report from Brian Miller, Seward Redesign
Brian said the Metro Transit Police located on Minnehaha Avenue need more space. Redesign is working with them to find another location in Seward.
It was pointed out that there is a lot of trash along the Hiawatha Bikeway, particularly at the I-94 underpass. The city is responsible for maintenance of the trail. In the past, someone organized a group of volunteers to go out and clean it up. A couple of names were mentioned as possible organizers.
The meeting adjourned at 8:42.