City Meeting Recap – June 2015 (First Half)

This recap covers the June 2 work sessions and Council Meeting, and the June 8 Planning Commission Meeting.

Work Session Highlights

  • Phase 15 Street Reconstruction – We discussed the Phase 15 street reconstruction project for the first of many times.  Crystal is currently in Phase 14 of a 16 phase project to reconstruct all of the streets in the city.  Phase 14 is in progress now, and 15 is scheduled for next year.  This was just a kick off of next year’s project including the preliminary project area.  The project will be located roughly around Twin Oaks Park in the North part of the city.
  • Electrical Permit Fees – We discussed making some adjustments to the process for electrical permit fees.  The fees have not been adjusted since 2010, and will raise by about 6% overall.  In addition, the permit process was simplified and the number of total permits required by residents was reduced.  New fees will go into effect on July 1 if approved at the next council meeting.
  • Security Measures for City Hall, the Community Center and the Council Chambers – Earlier this year, in response to the shooting at New Hope City Hall, the Police Chief reviewed the safety and security measures in place at city facilities.  Chief Revering came back to the council with the proposal of a few additional security measures including additional security cameras.
  • Liquor Law Changes – The council discussed changes necessary to our Liquor Laws to allow taprooms and to allow on-sale liquor at 8AM on Sundays (the Bloody Mary law).  These changes were recently approved by the legislature, but Crystal needs to change our laws to allow the activity in our city.  Proposed ordinance changes will be made at an upcoming council meeting.
  • Re-striping 81 – When Highway 81 was reconstructed it was made large enough to accommodate six lanes (three in each direction).  A previous iteration of the city council made Hennepin County agree to make the road only 4 lanes wide, and not expand to use all of the space until at least 2017, unless the current council overrode that decision.  To say it differently, the road was built for 6 lanes, but the Crystal city council only wanted to use 4 of them.  We instructed our staff to request that Hennepin County re-stripe the road to make use of all 6 lanes.  Re-striping could be in place this fall.

Council Meeting Highlights

  • Crystal Frolics – The consent agenda included many items for Crystal Frolics, including the fireworks permit, a permit to close off a small part of Bass Lake Road during the fireworks, and the liquor licenses for the event.
  • Code Review Task Force – The Council appointed 14 members to the Code Review Task Force.  The Task Force will be going through our thousands of pages of city code looking for items that can be removed, combined, or simplified.  The Task Force meets for the first time at the end of June.
  • Utilities Ordinance – We approved the first reading of a minor change to our utilities ordinance that would allow Century Link and Comcast to improve their services on existing poles without being required to bury the lines, provided that the project met a few conditions, including that the lines were all in back yards.  This change was requested by the utilities, and is currently in the process of being approved in neighboring suburbs.  New lines and lines in front yard would still need to be undergrounded if they were expanded.  We also required as part of the permit process that utilities communicate with homeowners if they are doing work in the right of way adjacent to their yards.

In The Community: Event Highlights

  • CBA Business Expo – I attended the Crystal Business Association’s first annual business expo at the Community Center on June 6.
  • Basset Creek Park Cleanup – The Crystal Fund for Community Progress sponsored a clean up of Bassett Creek Park on May 30.  Councilmember Olga Parsons and I took the area around the pond.  Overall the park was in really good shape, but we still found some trash in the long grass around the pond. (Picture above)
  • RiverTree School Shakespeare FestivalRiverTree School is a private school located in Ward 2 of Crystal, at 38th Ave and Vera Cruz.  The school put on a Shakespeare Festival on the last day of school, June 5.  It was a great time!  Councilmember Elizabeth Dahl has a daughter who attends the school.  I’ll make you click to see her in a slightly more formal getup than she usually wears at the council meetings.

In The Community:  Upcoming Events

  • 2015 Crystal Airport Open House – Father’s Day Weekend.  Great fun for the whole family.  Bring Dad!
  • Night to Unite – August 4. Download your application to host a party here.
  • Shred It At The Heathers – Shred your confidential documents for free with donations of food to the food shelf, Saturday June 20 at The Heathers.  Details here.

The next council meeting is June 16.

You can watch the video of the council meeting here and find the agendas and meeting notes here.  Audio recording of work sessions can be found here. Check the city calendar for updated meeting dates, locations and times.