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March 8, 2018 Board Minutes





March 8, 2018





The regular meeting of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers was called to order by President Sherry White at 7:00 p.m. at the District office, 15320 Minnetonka Boulevard, Minnetonka, Minnesota.




Sherry White, Brian Shekleton, Richard Miller, Kurt Rogness, William Olson, Bill Becker, Jessica Loftus.








James Wisker, Administrator; Michael Hayman, Planner-Project Manager; Heidi Quinn, Permitting Technician; Eric Fieldseth, AIS Program Manager; Chris Meehan, Consulting Engineer; Chuck Holtman, Counsel.








Manager Miller moved, Manager Olson seconded approval of the agenda.  Upon vote, the motion carried 7-0.




Manager Rogness moved, Manager Shekleton seconded approval of the consent agenda, consisting of the February 22, 2018 Board minutes; adoption of Resolution 18-01: Approval of continuing MCWD and USGS Agreement for Joint Funding of O&M of Gage Station near Minnehaha Falls and Grays Bay Dam for 2018 and 2019, as follows:


NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the MCWD Board of Managers authorize MCWD district administrator to extend an agreement with USGS to continue the Joint Funding Agreement for services from October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2019 in which the total cost not to exceed $37,765; and Resolution 18-018: Authorization to transfer $112,020.52 from the 325  Blake Road Capital Account to the 325 Blake Road Operations Account, as follows:


NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers authorizes the transfer of $112,020.52 from the 325 Blake Road Capital Account (fund ending 017) to the 325 Blake Road Operations Account (fund ending 025) to uphold standard operating expenses.


Upon vote, motion carried 7-0.


Board, Committee and Task Force Reports


President White reported that the Executive Committee will meet on March 22nd at 6:30 p.m. with the District auditor. She noted that with respect to the 325 Blake Road redevelopment process, she, Manager Miller and Manager Loftus participated in the Joint Working Group, and she and Manager Miller attended the discussion of the Southwest Community Works Blake Road Station Subcommittee.  She noted that this process to date has been a great example of the District’s balanced urban ecology approach with respect to its public partners. Finally, President White reported on the recent meeting of the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts (MAWD) board. The dues question is still an issue. Representatives from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) presented reports and indicated their intent to work closely together on water issues. The MPCA representative noted prominent issues for the organization this year will include pharmaceuticals and chlorides.


Manager Rogness reported on the MAWD Legislative Breakfast.  He noted MAWD priorities including increasing the general fund levy for non-metropolitan watershed districts; statutory clarification to allow levy for local share of grant funded projects; the request of the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District to increase its general fund levy; increase of the managers’ per diem from $75 to $100; funding for buffer law implementation; and monitoring of BWSR bonding legislation. Additional policy issues include amending the Open Meeting Law for electronic participation; Clean Water Council appointments; and ongoing buffer law monitoring.


President White noted that the $22 million diverted from the Clean Water Fund for buffer law implementation has been returned due to the State’s surplus. Also, there is a chloride bill that is seeking sponsors. Mr. Wisker noted that the bill in fact was introduced today in the House.


Manager Loftus presented the report of the Operations and Programs Committee. The Committee just met prior to this meeting and received updates from staff. The agenda as distributed was covered and all managers attended.


President White noted upcoming meetings listed on the agenda. She advised that Manager Rogness will represent the Board at the March Citizens’ Advisory Committee meeting, while President White will attend the April meeting.


Resolution 18-015:  Authorization to Execute Agreement with NTH for Real Estate Brokerage Services for 325 Blake Road


Mr. Hayman presented the proposed resolution authorizing retention of NTH Real Estate and Project Management to assist the District in negotiating and developing transactional documents for the sale and redevelopment of the 325 Blake Road property. NTH would work with the District’s real estate counsel and property evaluation consultant. Mr. Hayman reviewed the request for qualifications process that is underway. He then noted the elements with which NTH would assist, including financial analysis, negotiations, implementation of transactional documents and documentation. Mr. Hayman reviewed NTH’s experience assisting both private and public entities in complex real estate transactions in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. He noted that NTH has advised the District on the RFQ process to date and the parties have developed a good working relationship.


Mr. Hayman than reviewed the proposed fee structure, which would include $45,000 over a five-month retainer and an additional $175,000 on closing. He reviewed the discussion that the Board has had in committee regarding the alternative compensation frameworks and its ultimate support for a fixed fee arrangement.


Manager Shekleton moved, Manager Miller seconded adoption of Resolution 18-015 as follows:


NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers hereby authorizes the District Administrator, on advice of counsel, to execute a contract with NTH for real estate brokerage and associated services for the sale of the 325 Blake Road property for the amount of $220,000, with $175,000 of that amount payable at the time of closing on the 325 Blake Road property.


Upon vote, the motion carried 7-0.


Resolution 18-019:  Approval of Respondents for Advancement into Phase Two of the 325 Blake Road Request for Qualifications Process


Mr. Hayman presented the proposed resolution. He reviewed the RFQ process to date, which has followed the “Master Developer Selection Process” previously reviewed with the managers. Most notably, the process has involved review and evaluation by a staff committee including District, City of Hopkins and Hennepin County staff and NTH; a joint working group including representatives from the District Board and the City Council; and the Southwest Community Works Blake Road Station Subcommittee. Mr. Hayman reviewed the RFQ framework and noted that responses were received from six development teams:  Anderson Companies, Doran, Kraus-Anderson, Lennar Multifamily Communities, PLACE and Sherman Associates.  The responses were evaluated against four criteria: experience, financial, site vision and overall quality. The evaluation was qualitative and conducted by each staff reviewer and then by the joint working group. The joint working group agreed with staff that five responders should move on to an additional informational request stage. This was presented to and discussed with the Subcommittee, which provided good input and concurred. Staff will continue to develop a means   to retain the Subcommittee’s involvement through the interview stage.


Mr. Hayman than reviewed the intended scope of the additional information request, generally addressing assumptions that will underlie responders’ judgments of value and development schedule, contingencies and acquisition process. 


Mr. Hayman then noted that the recommendations would remove PLACE from the group that will proceed in the process. Mr. Hayman described the vision and engagement process proposed by PLACE, but noted the general conclusion that the proposer appears to lack the experience to deliver a site of this size and there are questions about its financial capacity and its ability to maintain the required timeline.  This conclusion received concurrence from the joint working group and the Subcommittee.


Finally, Mr. Hayman noted that the additional information request would cause the schedule to be modified slightly but that it would continue to function with other related timelines. Ultimately, the recommendation to the Board may be to interview all five remaining proposers, or a subset thereof.


Manager Miller moved, Manager Rogness seconded adoption of the proposed resolution as follows:


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the MCWD will proceed at this time with five master developer candidates: Anderson Companies, Doran, Kraus-Anderson, LMC (Lennar Multifamily Communities) and Sherman Associates;


THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that MCWD staff, in consultation with other members of the staff working group and MCWD consultants, will draft supplemental information requests, which staff will review with the joint working group and the Subcommittee and, in its judgment, modify accordingly, before transmittal to respondents.


Manager Miller offered that the response quality has been superb. He believes that the District is conducting a good process with the right partners, is being properly cautious, and is heading towards a good outcome. He commended staff for its professionalism.


Upon vote, the motion carried 7-0.


Resolution 18-020:  Authorization to Execute Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Shorewood to Coordinate Planning of Water Resources and City Capital Improvement Planning


Ms. Quinn presented the proposed resolution and reviewed past Board discussions on the concept of partnering with the City of Shorewood to review solutions to drainage issues in a portion of the City. The matter previously was discussed by the Policy and Planning Committee on December 21, 2017 and then by the full Board on January 25, 2018, when the draft memorandum of understanding was reviewed. Ms. Quinn reviewed the purposes and scope of the coordinated work as described in the packet materials and the next steps for which the process would provide.


Manager Miller asked if this framework would parallel that which the District and the City of Victoria have pursued. Mr. Wisker replied that in the present case, the District and City are aligning to focus on a known targeted set of road and drainage issues. The Victoria effort is broader and more about relationships as they approach planning and implementation over a broader area and a longer period of time.  Mr. Wisker added that the present proposal follows the District’s approach in its newly adopted watershed plan to respond to cities in non-priority areas with early involvement rather than waiting until private development or public infrastructure planning is nearly completed. In this case, the District participates in a technical assistance and problem solving role while the City will retain the responsibility to fund and implement its own work.


Manager Olson moved, Manager Becker seconded adoption of the proposed resolution, as follows: 


NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Board of Managers authorizes the District Administrator to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the City of Shorewood to coordinate the planning and programming of water resource, road, infrastructure and park investments.


Manager Loftus urged that the District engineer’s work under this effort be tracked separately so that the District is able to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of its participation in this type of engagement. Mr. Wisker replied that staff does track such spending separately and will continue to do so in this case. Upon vote, the motion carried 7-0.


Resolution 18-021:  Approval of Design Scope for Six Mile Creek-Halsted Bay Habitat Restoration Program


Mr. Fieldseth presented the proposed resolution to retain the District engineer on a specific design scope related to the habitat restoration program. He reviewed the program and the grant from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council for its multi-year implementation. The grant dollars are focused on implementation, whereas the District’s local share is focused on soft cost including design. Staff is aiming at receiving initial grant funds on or around July 1, with installation of the barriers in 2018, except for the South Lundsten barrier which is programmed for January 2019. Mr. Fieldseth then reviewed the design schedule and the proposed fee of $74,865, payable on a fixed-fee task basis.


Manager Olson moved, Manager Rogness seconded adoption of the proposed resolution as follows:


NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers authorizes the District administrator, with any final non-substantial scope adjustments and on advice of counsel, to execute a scope of services contract with Wenck Associates for an amount not to exceed $74,865.


Manager Olson noted that over the past six months he has spoken with City of Victoria, Carver County and lake association representatives and they have been very positive toward and supportive of the District’s work under this program. Upon vote, the motion carried 7-0.


Resolution 18-022 Approval of Acquisition Financing, TRPD Farmhill Circle Parcel


Mr. Wisker reviewed the background of the agreement with the Three Rivers Park District (TRPD) for subdivision of property on Six Mile Marsh, and subdivision and sale of one parcel to the District for the potential siting of an alum treatment facility. The TRPD has worked through all title issues and is proceeding to closing. The District would look forward to closing on its acquisition from the TRPD in April. Mr. Wisker noted that in its prior action, the Board authorized the Administrator to take all steps to complete the conveyance in accordance with the agreement terms, but requested that staff return to the Board for approval of the method of financing the acquisition. Mr. Wisker is recommending that the acquisition be financed from the District’s capital finance account.


Manager Olson moved, Manager Shekleton seconded adoption of the proposed resolution as follows: 


NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the District Board of Managers approves the use of the Land Conservation Fund, fund 200-2004, for the acquisition of the Farmhill Circle property.


Manager Miller noted that he, as well as other managers, received an email today from a set of resident interests urging a means of addressing certain local flood management issues through channel dredging and other means. Mr. Wisker replied that these interests historically have maintained communications with the District; staff has been coordinating with them lately, and if the communication is forwarded, staff will respond.


Upon vote, the motion carried 7-0.




Mr. Wisker reported that staff is assessing the spring melt status. The National Oceanic and Aeronautic Administration has issued a statewide forecast and a local forecast will be distributed within the month. Lake Minnetonka is at 929.7 elevation and there is an estimated 2 inches of water in the snow. At this time, staff believes there is adequate capacity.


Staff expects to present a Metropolitan Council permit application for forcemain replacement along County Road 44 to the Board at its March 22 meeting. The forcemain would cross Lake Minnetonka at Halsted Bay.


Mr. Wisker also reported on an effort of Minnesota Waters regarding carp tracking. It is seeking $10,000 from each of several cities and District staff also is looking at the possibility of a small contribution from the District. He expects Mr. Fieldseth to appear shortly to review the matter with the Board.


Mr. Wisker also reported that he, Mr. Hayman and Manager Miller recently attended a St. Louis Park City Council meeting at which the council approved work on the Minnehaha Creek bridge crossing at Louisiana Avenue. This work would elevate the bridge chord, which is something in which the District has been interested.   


In February, Mr. Wisker met with Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) representatives and he will meet again with MPRB staff tomorrow regarding the Meadowbrook project that did not go forward previously, but is being again considered.


Mr. Wisker noted that he and Manager Miller met last week with Edina Mayor Hovland, at which time the Mayor expressed the City’s interest in the Meadowbrook project and the important park connections that it could facilitate. The mayor also has heard good reports about Arden Park project progress.


Manager Olson and Mr. Wisker are looking to schedule a meeting with Carver County Commissioner Maluchnik to provide an update on the Six Mile habitat restoration project, discuss the bonding agreement and probably speak about Zumbra Lake issues. On that last matter, there is still much communication, perhaps weekly, regarding spring conditions. Commissioner Workman also is engaged in that subject. Mr. Wisker added that presently there is a much better relationship with homeowners, and there is some consideration of potential TRPD dredging in identified spots.


Mr. Wisker reported that Renae Clark has met with Mayor Willcox of Wayzata regarding the Lake Effect environmental assessment worksheet soon to be published. Ms. Clark is bringing regulatory agencies together to streamline the environmental review process and the work of those agencies.


Mr. Wisker reminded the Board of the strategic action plan discussed at its recent retreat. That plan is now in front of staff, which is developing concepts to move it forward. Staff is contemplating four or five community meetings over the next 12-18 months for engagement in the District’s programs.


Staff also is working on operationalizing District engagement in the capital programming and land use review of its cities; the CAC also will take up this issue and it will come to the Policy and Planning Committee in April or May.


Mr. Wisker reported that Ms. Clark has been appointed to the Metropolitan Council’s Land Use Advisory Committee and will provide advice on land use and regional planning.


Finally, Mr. Wisker thanked departing Administrator Lars Erdahl for his work and the way that he has led the District’s positioning for the future. Mr. Wisker also eloquently thanked the Board for the honor and privilege of his continuing service in his new capacity as Administrator.  Mr. Wisker expressed his conviction that the District is positioned for greatness, with a Board providing sound leadership and driven, energetic and capable staff.   




There being no further business, the regular meeting of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers was adjourned at 8:02 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Kurt Rogness, Secretary

Minutes Type: 
Board of Managers