consultants are sandburs

Saturday, September 06, 2014

RAMSEY - Much of interest in the Sept. 9 HRA meeting agenda.

Here is the emailed link to the agenda.

Start with Jim Deal's proposed Town Center housing effort. Nothing but good news. An ill-advised parking ramp plan seems to have boogied out of Town Center planning, and will not be missed by most of real Ramsey. Density will - bonanza again, be less than it might have ended up. And the town shows flexibility, which is a good sign going forward.

No rigidities, unload as much vacant land as feasible, in exchange for money coming in vs going out, and get over the disastrous decision of Matt Look and others on council "back then" to buy the miserably failed Nedegaard adventure out of bank foreclosure and to then attach one really king-sized, long-lived sandbur [Landform].

Move on to being a regular town doing what regular towns do, roads, fire protection, cops, and - again, roads. Also, roads - without any sewer/water cramdown in the existing large lot areas, please.

Hiring Darren-types, sandburs, and competing with private sector developers elsewhere in the Twin Cities metro; may it go the way of the Dodo bird (extinction - eradication - excommunication - pick a word). But get Ramsey, the municipality, out of that competitive development crabgrass patch; the sooner the better.

Tim Gladhill's write up states in part:

As it relates to the nine (9) acre parcel, the proposed development would provide 180 units over two (2) phases for a net density of 20 units per acre. From the perspective of the minimum density for this Sub-District, this density is acceptable.

Please note that this parcel is subject to the Design Plan and Design Framework for The COR. The Development Plan lays out a preferred layout and development pattern as was used to illustrate a development pattern that would sustain transit for the Northstar Commuter Rail - Ramsey Station. The Development Plan forecasted [sic] 435 units within these nine (9) acres [i.e., 48 units per acre] and planned for a future, shared parking structure to address the parking needs of not only this parcel, but the overall block as well.

The proposed development would likely eliminate the ability for the future structured parking facility to be constructed as planned, which would have an effect on the development pattern for the remainder of the block. In the event a parking structure is constructed, Staff has verified with the HRA attorney that by proceeding forward with approval of this development and purchase agreement, the City does not obligate itself financially to a parking structure. In other words, the City has the flexibility to approve a development pattern that does not include a structured parking facility with appropriate amendments to the Development Plan.

The City is able to adjust the Development Plan to respond to the market. It is possible [...] to amend the Development Plan and make adjustments elsewhere within the development to account for the changes. [...]

Staff cannot give a full analysis of the project at this time as only information on this parcel, not the overall block is available. [...] The intent of this case is for PSD to present the overall concept of the proposed development and for the Planning Commission to provide early feedback in the design process.

[italics added] There is more at the agenda item link, for those wanting to learn more; including update detail [italicized in original:

Updated Friday, September 5, 2014

The Planning Commission reviewed the concept plan at the September 4, 2014 meeting. While no formal motion was made, there was some level of support to continue to review and consider this project as it is currently proposed. It is noted, however, that there was not full consensus amongst the Planning Commission in support of amending the Development Plan.

[...] multiple members expressed that it might be appropriate at this time to amend the Development Plan to support the proposed project, provided that it was supported by relevant market analysis. It was also noted that the Planning Commission desired to analyze how this relates to the City's retail goals to ensure that the planned development pattern for future residential would still support the level of retail planned in the area.

[red added for emphasis - those long-ago promised nice shoppes and restaurants].

So much for the glorified dreams of yesteryear. Good change blowing in the wind. But keep retail/restaurant goals, since that (and not dense shared-wall housing and consequent but previously absent traffic signals) would be what would attract real Ramsey folks to the area; should retail/restaurant ever actually happen.

Moving on to another incredibly positive change. The HRA is going to be retired after the extreme usages to which it was put during Darren times [aka "Wayne's World" from the coupled campaigning of the 2012 election cycle]. Gone but not forgotten.

Leading to the next HRA meeting agenda item - also unforgettable. Darren departure detail, (final nailing down of another "Wayne's World" aspect, the sooner the better being the sentiment that step merits).

This YouTube video link, to serve as the town's:

Darren Departure Memorial Video. 

Looking Better Landform.

Love you more in the rear view mirror.

(A nice keyboard segment and an ending trombone exclamation mark.)

__________FURTHER UPDATE__________
From here, just Look:

There are no alternatives. Per the City's Strategic Plan, the City Council is dissolving the City's HRA effective January 1, 2015, which removes the HRA budget and levy.

image added, not in original
The major criticism of the HRA levy has been that it is a separate levy that is outside of the City's tax capacity rate, and therefore is not a transparent indicator of all the City's expenses (i.e., a "hidden tax"). Operationally, the elimination of the HRA will focus economic development activity more upon the Economic Development Authority, as opposed to having two separate boards (outside of the Council) dealing with economic development.

That HRA hidden tax from the GOP insiders, gone by the new folks; just Look at that.

Back then, was it the city, was it the EDA, that took title to the disaster land? No. It was the HRA.

Front and center.

They passed an additional stipend for service on HRA. Republicans? Or RINO? I think it is less RINO than the same ol'GOP getting to essentials of being GOP. Friends help friends. Run in town as a ticket? Or not?

__________FURTHER UPDATE_________
Getting serious, looking for an image to close out a report of closing out the HRA?

This image. An image for Darren's departure too.

Dave was judgmental about that.

__________FURTHER UPDATE_________
With that agenda page saying, " Operationally, the elimination of the HRA will focus economic development activity more upon the Economic Development Authority, as opposed to having two separate boards (outside of the Council) dealing with economic development." That is only another way to say, "Televise the EDA meetings. Things happen there. Money gets committed."

Transparency is a goal of good government.

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