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Agendas and Minutes

Transportation Commission (View All)

Joint TC/PC 2/23/12 Minutes

Thursday, February 23, 2012


February 23, 2012

Chair Steve Ryan called the meeting to order at 6:07 p.m.
Transportation Commissioners Present: Tom Burnham, Mike Gardiner, Shawn Kampmann, Steve Ryan, Brent Thompson, Corinne Vièville and David Young
Planning Commissioners Present:  Michael Dawkins, Eric Heesacker, Richard Kaplan, Debbie Miller, Melanie Mindlin and Pam Marsh
Staff Present:  Mike Faught, Dan Gunter, Steve MacLennan and Jodi Vizzini
Ex Officio:  Maria Harris
Absent:  Colin Swales, Councilor David Chapman
Commissioner Kaplan requested the minutes of January 26, 2011 be amended to reflect his attendance.  Commissioners Marsh/Dawkins m/s to approve minutes.  Voice vote:  all AYES.  Motion passed:  13–0.
Commissioner Ryan placed Public Forum at the top of the agenda, prior to Roadway Projects and Safe Routes to School.
Will Rodden/233 Normal Ave/ Voiced three primary concerns: 1) increased traffic flow would affect park and schools; 2) connecting the Clay Street subdivision to Normal Avenue would cause a primary traffic flow creating traffic difficulty at Ashland and Clay Streets; 3) seemingly there would be less impact if a new street were to be implemented at the cemetery/Lumpy’s connection.  Mr. Rodden elaborated on why he is not in support of the Clay/Normal extension by stating it would change the pattern of traffic from the Clay development causing Normal to be the primary route of travel.
Chair Ryan clarified that roadway projects R19 and R20 were the focus of Mr. Rodden’s discussion. 
William Barry/367 Normal Ave/ Voiced he currently lives on a quiet country lane. He fears this project will result in a freeway between E. Main and Ashland Ave. as it will create a shorter route f or travelers. He is in opposition of the roadway.
Wendy Hood/144 Normal Ave/Voiced she is personally in opposition of the proposed roadway as it places a road directly through her garage. She stated residents bought their homes in this area because of the beauty and peacefulness and this roadway would rob them of the value and peace. She described the area as having open green spaces, wetlands, and a creek rich in wildlife. She shared how children use this area for nature studies and expressed that it should remain untouched.  She understands the need to build, create homes, jobs and a stronger infrastructure. She suggested Shamrock Lane as an option that would be more efficient to move traffic in and out of this area and would be less impacting to residents.
Carol Block/355 Normal Ave/Voiced opposition of R19 and R20 for the same reasons other neighbors spoke to and added widening Normal Ave. would ruin the enjoyment value and reduce property value of homes. She expressed her concern for children traveling to and from Hunter Park with the additional traffic the projects would cause. She stated that everyone she has talked to living in this part of the community are in opposition and aghast at the proposal.
Sue DeMarinis/145 Normal Ave/Stated she has lived on Normal Ave. for 2 ½ years. One of her concerns is the designated wetlands area behind her fence and how developing an asphalt road and sidewalks will create run-off heading directly into her house. She suggested an alternative route of E. Main and Ashland Street instead of cutting into an existing neighborhood. She described her neighborhood as one with grazing horses, sustainable agriculture, and a variety of wildlife. She is concerned that increased public thoroughfares will create a sense of insecurity. She stressed the need to preserve Ashland and not turn it into a cement jungle.
Beau Sheppard/340 Normal Ave/ Stated he and his family have resided at this address for 6 ½ years. They enjoy a life of farming on this wetlands protected area where his children appreciate the open space. His plan for the future includes organic farming. He referred to this area as a magical place with open sunlight, and quality soil. He strongly recommends this area be preserved. He added he does not currently own the property but rents the 5 ½ acres from a landlord who lives out of the county, but is in the process of buying it.
Commissioner Marsh reassured residents the Planning Commission is gearing up to do a study of Normal Avenue neighborhood and reassured them they will have opportunities to attend other public meetings which will include broader issues than just access.
Mr. Faught added the Transportation Commission looks at all property within the City Urban Growth Boundary (UGB), including the County in the event of development, the appropriate infrastructure is constructed. If it requires water and sewer there will be an annexation process.
Roadway Projects:
Commissioners Dawkins/Thompson m/s to set aside R19 and R20 for the remainder of the meeting.
Commissioner Marsh shared R19 should be wrapped into the bigger Normal Ave. neighborhood study.  Commissioner Young disagreed with the motion. Commissioner Mindlin asked staff and/or consultants to address the grant received to study this area.
Maria Harris, Planning Manager, explained the grant process.  Mr. Faught asked if the Commissioners were to remove the two roads suggested, would the finished product of the study amend the Transportation System Plan (TSP).  Ms.  Harris replied not typically. She explained the difficulty of street dedication maps and how they are not actually specific locations, but more generic. She added as actual development happens, the streets get fine-tuned. Commissioner Miller asked for more clarification of the process if the proposed roads were adopted in the TSP. Ms. Harris explained that neighborhood plans are refinement plans of the comprehensive plans and are more area specific. Planning adopts a zoning district that is specific to that location and part of the land use ordinance. At the time of development, the location shown on the TSP might not make sense, so an alternative connection could be reevaluated. 
Commissioner Mindlin questioned if the railroad crossing at Normal Ave. is privately owned.  Ms. Harris confirmed it is.  Erin Ferguson, Kittelson & Associates, stated if R19 remains in the plan it will require upgrading the railroad crossing from private to public property. She added the Normal Ave. extension has been in the TSP since 1988 and was carried over to the current plan.
Commissioner Thompson withdrew his second to Commissioner Dawkins’ motion.
Mike Gardiner reiterated the TSP is a place holder process and these proposed roadways should remain for further discussion and can be refined to assure connectivity in the future. He stated he was against the motion.
Commissioner Heesacker questioned if the roads are pulled from the current consideration would it require a comprehensive plan amendment to take the lines off the comprehensive plan.  Ms. Harris stated it would happen at the end of the process, but it would not require a separate comprehensive plan amendment.  She added the area has had current development interest and has factors in place that potential annexation could happen in the near future.
Commissioner Dawkins stated his motion was misunderstood. He was not taking the streets off per se, but putting it off for further discussion at a future meeting.  He withdrew his motion.
Mr. Faught proposed sample motions based on the Commissioner’s group activity and combined results of prior meetings. The sample motions were as follows:
Motion 1:  Recommend approved Roadway Projects R18, R24, R27, R28, R29, R32 and R34 based on groups’ prior activity.
Motion 2: Recommend approval of remaining Roadway Projects R17, R19, R20, R26, R30 and R31 based on majority of groups’ recommended approval.
Commissioners Burnham/Dawkins m/s to approve Motion 1: Recommend approved Roadway Projects R18, R24, R27, R28, R29, R32 and R34 based on groups’ prior activity.
Commissioners discussed pulling R18 from the motion. Commissioner Marsh offered the idea of a pedestrian/bicycle tunnel as an alternative solution to the roadway. Commissioner Miller stressed her concern of making decisions that will have an impact on the future of the community.  Commissioners asked if voting in favor of the motion puts R18 on the map as a road.  Mr. Faught replied voting in favor will move the roadway forward to the final plan. 
Chair Ryan asked for a show of hands. All in favor:  Burnham, Dawkins, Gardiner, Heesacker, Kampmann, Thompson and Young.  All oppose:  Kaplan, Marsh, Miller, Mindlin, Ryan and Vièville.  Motion passed:  7 – 6.
Commissioners Burnham/Young m/s to approve Motion 2:  Recommend approval of remaining Roadway Projects R17, R19, R20, R26, R30 and R31 based on majority of groups recommended approval.
Commissioner Miller stressed the need to discuss the proposed roadways further as the approved documents become part of the comprehensive plan. She stated the concerns of the people who attended the meeting need to be respected. Commissioner Mindlin stated she was not in favor of the motion and felt railroaded with the short amount of time spent in discussion. She feels the conclusions are a gross misinterpretation as her group was not in agreement on many of the projects.
Commissioners Burnham, Young, Heesacker and Kampmann replied these roadway projects are placeholders for future development, not fixed in stone.  Commissioner Gardiner stated the plan moves forward to assist the planning process.
Commissioner Marsh added the Planning Commission will have an opportunity to trump the plan at the Planning level. Commissioner Kaplan stressed the need to discuss R19 further. Commissioner Vièville agreed with the concerns of the Planning Commissioners.
Mr. Faught answered questions from the Commissioners regarding lines on the map, development and connectivity.
Chair Ryan asked for a show of hands. All in favor:  Burnham, Dawkins, Gardiner, Heesacker, Kampmann, Marsh, Thompson and Young.  All oppose:  Kaplan, Miller, Mindlin, Ryan and Vièville. Motion passed:  8 – 5.
Safe Routes to School/ Existing Sidewalks / Sidewalk Projects
The Commissioner’s divided into groups and worked on sidewalk projects. The groups were divided as follows:
Group A:  Heesacker. Miller, Thompson
Group B:  Burnham, Marsh, Ryan
Group C:  Dawkins, Kaplin, Mindlin, Young
Group D:  Gardiner, Kampmann, Vièville
Mr. Faught shared that adjustments were made to the sidewalk maps based on Public Works staff recommendations.  Dan Gunter, Streets Department, explained his strategy for sidewalk recommendations. Mr. Faught added the goal for the remainder of the meeting was to discuss the sidewalk projects within their groups and develop a list of priorities. He shared the data will be compiled for discussion at a future meeting.  The group was given 30 minutes to work on this project.
Mr. Faught thanked Dan Gunter and the Street Division staff for their effort in putting together the information for the revised sidewalk map.
Mr. Faught announced the internal promotion of Scott Fleury who will take Jim Olson’s position when he retires.  Mr. Fleury will attend the next Transportation Commission meeting.
Mr. Faught suggested March 15, 2012 as the next Joint TC/PC meeting. An e-mail poll will be sent to the Commissioners to confirm the date.
Meeting was adjourned at 8:50 p.m.
Respectfully submitted,
Jodi Vizzini, Office Assistant II

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