Light Rail Municipal Consent

Later this month the Crystal City Council will take up the topic of “Municipal Consent” for the Blue Line/Bottineau LRT project.  I’d like to discuss what Municipal Consent is, what it means, and what the possible outcomes may be.

Municipal Consent is a process that is required by MN State Law for any LRT projects.  The cities affected by the project are required to hold a public hearing on the plans.  Crystal will be holding our public hearing on February 2, at 7PM in the council chambers.

The city council is given 45 days from the date of the joint Met Council/Hennepin County/Hennepin County Regional Rail Authority public hearing to pass a resolution approving or disapproving the plans.  That meeting was in January, so the deadline for Crystal to act is March 4.

After the public hearing on February 2, the city council will begin debate on approving or disapproving the plans.  The council has three options:

  1. Approve the plans as presented.
  2. Disapprove the plans, and provide a list of “specific amendments to the plans that, if adopted, would cause [us] to withdraw our disapproval”.
  3. Take no formal action on the plan.  If no formal action is taken, the plans are then deemed approved.

The council is limited in what we can consider when approving or disapproving the plans.  We can only consider specific plans within the city of Crystal pertaining to the technical design of the LRT system.  For example, station locations, curb modifications, pedestrian facilities, park-and-ride facilities, and track placement.

Should we decide to disapprove the plans, we need to provide a detailed list of what it would take to withdraw our disapproval.  The Met Council would then hold a hearing and decide whether to accommodate our requests. They are not required by law to satisfy our objections.

Here’s the schedule of relevant council meetings for this process:

  • February 2 – Public Hearing, with option to continue to Feb 16.
  • February 16 – Consider municipal consent resolution, continued public hearing (if necessary).
  • February 29 – Consider municipal consent resolution, if no action taken on Feb 16.

If no action is taken to approve or disapprove during the February 29 meeting, the plans will be deemed approved.

If you have any feedback, questions or concerns about the technical plans for LRT, please consider attending the February 2 public hearing on the topic, and/or contacting me.

The plans are on display at City Hall or the Rockford Road library, if you want to check them out.