Weber Woods is a step closer to preservation. The Minneapolis City Council’s Ways and Means Committee has accepted purchase offers for the land from Edina and St. Louis Park. Edina’s purchase agreement stipulates that the City will only use the land for park purposes (e.g., open space, outdoor recreation, a dog park), storm water management facilities and public utilities. St. Louis Park’s purchase agreement allows them to develop a portion of their part of the site for residential uses. (Because their offer included the possibility of development, SLP paid a higher rate.) If the Minneapolis City Council approves the purchase agreement at their July 29 meeting, Edina City Manager Scott Neal will advance the agreement to the Edina City Council for review and approval at the August 18 meeting. After that, Edina has no immediate plans for the site. Ideally, residents will have an opportunity to weigh in on any proposals—so stay tuned.
There’s more airport noise in Morningside’s future: the Metropolitan Airports Commission has released its latest 20-year development plan, which details a projected increase in annual flights from 412,000 to 511,000. (The StarTribune article can be found here.) With this growth, the 60 dB “DNL” airport noise contours (used to determine who is eligible for noise-mitigation funds) extend over Lake Harriet almost to France Avenue. (For an explanation of how the DNL contour is calculated, and why it underestimates the real-life impact of jets roaring overhead, visit the MSP Fair Skies web site. MSP Fair Skies describes the DNL formula as “a logarithmic average of an average of a series of adjusted projections.”) Overall, the area defined by the contours is almost 60 percent larger by 2035.
12/15/14: Updates on two very important Morningside issues:
The Edina City Council will have a closed-door work session tomorrow, December 16, to discuss the acquisition of Weber Woods. Because Edina and St. Louis Park are in a negotiation with the City of Minneapolis over the property, very little has been revealed. We know that Minneapolis wants an offer that reflects the fair market value. If no offer is made before the end of the year, Minneapolis has said that it will offer the property to the highest bidder.
If this remarkable, undeveloped green space is to be preserved, Edina must make a credible offer to the City of Minneapolis. Please contact the Mayor and City Council members and express your opinion. (If the City acquires the land, we can have another debate about how best to use it.) Kudos to the MAC for organizing and delivering a petition to save the woods; now it’s time to reinforce that this land is too valuable to be turned over for development. (NE Edina has a quarter of the city’s population but only 9 percent of its park land.)
To review the issue and the process, see the attached notes (at the very bottom of this page) from the community meeting on Weber Woods, held November 17. (Much thanks to Mindy Ahler and Council Member Joni Bennett.)
Did the air traffic over your home seem excessive this summer? MNA has been told that traffic doubled between June and July.
The MAC will discuss this issue at its meeting today. A staffer for the City of Minneapolis has encouraged Edina residents to write to MAC members, particularly Lisa Peilen (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Paul Rehkamp (www.metroairports.org), to urge a more equitable distribution of departures and arrivals. (Commissioner Rehkamp represents Marshall, Minnesota but lives part of the year in Edina.) A December 12 email from Edina City Manager Scott Neal to Commissioner Peilen hits the key points: residents of Minneapolis and Edina need a better balance of north and south flow from MSP, a better balance of runway use at the airport, and better management of aviation noise in the early morning and late evening/night.
Here’s the full text of his email:
Good Afternoon Commissioner Peilen –
It is my understanding the Commission is going to have a discussion about the current and future use of the Runway Use System (RUS) at your meeting on Monday, December 15. This is a very important discussion because current data shows that the RUS is not being used as intended, and that is causing residents north and west of the airport to suffer more aviation noise than is necessary. As our representative on the Commission, I would ask that you inquire about the status of the RUS. Ask if we can get a better balance of north and south flow, a better balance of runway use, and better management of noise in the early morning and late at night. While the FAA is the key party in many RUS decisions, I believe the MAC can help us with this.
An action from the Commission expressing support for the objectives of the RUS would help reassure residents in Minneapolis, Richfield, Edina and St. Louis Park that MAC is concerned about our collective noise aviation issues and that you remain dedicated to a policy-based response to how aviation noise will be shared around MSP.