Neighborhood notebook: Opposition to Lake of the Isles plans building

NEW BOARD MEMBER: Beth Turnbull was elected Area 5 co-representative to the Bryn Mawr Neighborhood Association Board. Robert Lindquist also represents Area 5.

PLANT SALE PROCEEDS: The Fulton Neighborhood Association discussed tapping money raised by the plant sale during the Edina Art Fair to plant trees in the neighborhood. More than $2,500 was raised by the plant sale in the last two years, and board members said they will seek matching funds in the form of a grant to add to the money already raised.

NATIONAL NIGHT OUT: The association discussed National Night Out, the community anticrime event held nationwide on Aug. 7, and noted that permits to close down a street to host the event are free if residents register before July 24.

MCMANSION ORDINANCE: City Council Member Betsy Hodges (13th Ward) informed the association that the ordinance banning oversized infill housing, or “McMansions,” passed the council unanimously with a one-time exception for a 500-square-foot addition to existing homes and another that allows variances for houses already surrounded by large homes.

REMODELED HOME TOUR: Fulton is participating in the Remodeled Home Tour on Aug. 12. The tour will open doors to 14 homes in Southwest neighborhoods that have been remodeled before Aug. 1, 2006. For more information, and to buy advance tickets, visit

LAKE RESTORATION: The Kenwood Isles Area Association Board voted to support a citizen petition requesting changes to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s restoration project on Lake of the Isles.

Vice Chair Pat Scott said the deadline for public comment on the project had already passed, but a number of neighborhood residents remained unsatisfied with the restoration plan. The plan calls for additional plantings around the lake, which some residents argue would be historically inaccurate.

NPR MONEY: At the July 10 meeting, members of the Linden Hills Neighborhood Council discussed possible uses of Phase II Neighborhood Revitalization Program money. Some of the possibilities include environmental education, urban forestry, youth grants, home improvement loans and senior development funds.

CORNFEED: On Aug. 9 from 6–8 p.m., residents are invited to attend the Linden Hills Park Cornfeed. The event features a dunk tank, moonwalk, arts and crafts, live music, refreshments and, of course, corn on the cob.

OUTDOOR MOVIE: Linden Hills will show “Hook,” its second outdoor movie of the season on Aug. 14 from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. The film is free to watch, and popcorn, candy and refreshments will be for sale.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Linden Hills has partnered with photographer Richard Wong, as part of What’s New?, a program from OverExposure, a nonprofit photography organization. He’s been assigned to document the changing demographics in the areas and will join almost a dozen other photographers across the city in a 2008 exhibition. Check out Wong’s work at

REMODELED HOME TOUR: Linden Hills is participating in the Remodeled Home Tour on Aug. 12. The tour will open doors to 14 homes in Southwest neighborhoods that have been remodeled before Aug. 1, 2006. For more information, and to buy advance tickets, visit

NEIGHBORHOOD ENTRANCE: The council’s environment committee updated the group about a plan to partner with Morningside Business Association and make the 44th and France neighborhood entrance more welcoming. The committee is in talks with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board about landscaping possibilities.

LHRI TO BEGIN STRATEGIC PLANNING: The Lowry Hill Residents Inc. board has agreed to begin a strategic planning initiative to be lead by the board’s executive officers. The initiative will define LHRI’s goals for the next several years and identify strategies for achieving those goals.

LAKE OF THE ISLES: Pat Scott, the vice chair of the Kenwood Isles Area Association, asked the board to consider joining her organization in opposing some aspects of the Park Board’s plan for Lake of the Isles. The board agreed to consider the matter.

PARADE STADIUM PROJECT: Citing the potential negative impact on the neighborhood from the planned development at Parade Stadium, the board decided to pursue an environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). According to the MPCA website, the agency conducts assessments to disclose potential negative environmental effects of a proposed development and suggest ways to avoid or minimize them before the project is permitted and built. An EAW would halt any further development on the site until after the assessment is completed, a process that can take months.

According to board member Bill Kell, the Parade Stadium plan includes several items that would automatically trigger an EAW. The board will ask the city of Minneapolis and the Park Board to submit to an EAW. If either refuses, the board will then send a petition requesting an EAW to the MPCA.

The board also agreed to form a task force with board members and other area stakeholders to address the process by which the Park Board is handling Parade Stadium. “It’s not whether the project is good or bad. It’s the process that’s flawed,” said board member David Graham. Board members feel that the Park Board should convene a Citizen’s Advisory Council to allow residents near the site to have input in Parade’s development.

TOWN HALL MEETINGS: The board supported the Communications Committee’s request to hold periodic public meetings focused on supplying more information about community issues. The committee was authorized to advertise the meetings in local papers with an annual budget not to exceed $1,000.

CREEKSIDE COMMONS: At the July 16 Tangletown Neighborhood Association meeting, Harry Kaiser, who lives on 53rd and Stevens, presented his side of an ongoing debate about a proposed affordable housing development that would go up in Mayflower Church’s overflow parking lot. Kaiser, who is against the development, believes that Mayflower should consider other options for their land. He doesn’t feel that the nonprofit developer, Plymouth Church Neighborhood Foundation, is trustworthy, because they have never worked on a project of this size in this type of neighborhood before. Kaiser also mentioned concerns about traffic, parking and crime. “If [the Plymouth Foundation] is wrong about anything, everybody loses,” he said, “even the people that live [in Creekside Commons].”

Lee Blons, executive director for the Plymouth Foundation, responded to the allegations in a letter to the Tangletown Board. She wrote that Kaiser’s accusations of crime in other Plymouth-owned buildings were unfounded; there will be enough parking for everybody, including the new tenants, at Creekside Commons; and that traffic is not expected to significantly impact the neighborhood. “The Foundation is a relatively new housing organization,” Blons wrote. “However, we have established a reputation as a strong housing organization in a short time.”

The Tangletown Board has yet to vote in favor of or against the project.

FESTIVAL: The board took in roughly $2,200 at the 4th of July Tangletown festival, the largest known amount for any celebration. The weather was pleasant, there were more than enough volunteers, and, due to an abundance of hot dogs, wieners were two-for-one for the last half hour.

FUNDRAISER ON BOARD: The Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association Board planned to ramp up grant-seeking efforts with the help of a professional grant writer. Board members reported the grant writer, a neighborhood resident, would at least provide direction in seeking grants.

WEDGE NEWSPAPER COMMITTEE: The board discussed the finances of The Wedge newspaper, which was at that time operating in deficit. The paper was budgeting to lose about $6,000 for the year, mainly due to a drop in funding from the city’s Community Planning and Economic Development department.

CITY LIMITS: At their July 12 meeting, members of the Windom Community Council discussed a new policy at City Limits, a large apartment complex on 59th Street East. “It’s always been a rule that tenants are responsible for their guests,” Kristen Kvalsten, manager of the building, said in a later phone interview. “But they weren’t necessarily held responsible as far as their lease was concerned.” Now, if tenants’ guests break rules or commit crimes, tenant can be unofficially evicted. It can end up working out for both City Limits and the renter, Kvalsten explained, because the complex will be free of that particular tenant, and the tenant won’t get an eviction on his or her record.

City Limits is also looking for part-time volunteers to staff a new children’s library located in one of its vacant 2-bedroom apartments. The library will open this fall, with after school hours. So far, management has collected 150-200 books, but welcomes donations, especially in the 12- 17 age group. Books can be dropped off in the main office.

BUSINESS ASSOCIATION: The council is in the process of creating a business association. Six local businesses have joined so far, and their first project is to create a business directory. The association is also looking into hiring a staff coordinator.