• 25Jun

    Edit: Per the request of some citizens the Traffic Report Can be found here.

    On Monday I will participate on a panel that will discuss the proposed Alatus Development in the Folwell Neighborhood. There is a great deal of fear about this project, which is to be expected with any project this large. I will be a little limited as to what I can say as I am in a quasi-judicial capacity with the project likely coming to the council.

    As a restricted development, any approval must meet the requirements in 62.708 of our land development manual. I will bold the sections that are likely of particular interest to neighbors as I have received questions. The first time that this comes to us will be as a Preliminary Development Plan as such take a look at Subdivision 2. Subdivision 3 is applicable to a Final Development Plan.

    On all of these criteria, staff will prepare a report making recommendations, the Planning & Zoning Commission will then review it, and finally the council will make a decision. This is the case for both the Preliminary & Final Plans.

    62.708 Criteria for Type III Developments: Subdivision 1. The Commission and Council shall approve a type III incentive development plan if it determines the plan satisfies all of the Preliminary Development Plan findings provided in subdivision 2 and all of the Final Development Plan findings provided in subdivision 3.
    Subd 2. The findings for the approval of a Preliminary Type III Development Plan are as follows:

    A. Capacity of Public Facilities: The existing or future planned utilities in the area are adequate to serve the proposed development.

    B. Geologic Hazards: The existence of areas of natural or geologic hazard, such as unstable slopes, sinkholes, floodplain, etc., have been identified and the development of these areas has been taken into account or will be addressed in the Phase II plans.

    C. Natural Features: For developments involving new construction, the arrangement of buildings, paved areas and open space has, to the extent practical, utilized the existing topography and existing desirable vegetation of the site.

    D. Residential Traffic Impact: When located in a residential area, the proposed development:

    (1) Will not cause traffic volumes to exceed planned capacities on local residential streets;

    (2) Will not generate frequent truck traffic on local residential streets; and

    (3) Will not create additional traffic during evening and nighttime hours on local residential streets.

    E. Traffic Generation Impact: : Anticipated traffic generated by the development will not cause the capacity of adjacent streets to be exceeded, and conceptual improvements to reduce the impact of access points on the traffic flow of adjacent streets have been identified where needed..

    F. Height Impacts: For developments involving new construction, the heights and placement of proposed structures are compatible with the surrounding development. Factors to consider include:

    (1) Will the structure block sunlight from reaching adjacent properties during a majority of the day for over four months out of the year; and;

    (2) Will siting of the structure substantially block vistas from the primary exposures of adjacent residential dwellings created due to differences in elevation.

    G. Setbacks: For developments involving new construction, proposed setbacks are related to building height and bulk in a manner consistent with that required for permitted uses in the underlying zoning district.

    H. Internal Site Design: For developments involving new construction, the preliminary site layout indicates adequate building separation and desirable orientation of the buildings to open spaces, street frontages or other focal points.

    I. Screening and Buffering: The conceptual screening and bufferyards proposed are adequate to protect the privacy of residents in the development or surrounding residential areas from the impact of interior traffic circulation and parking areas, utility areas such as refuse storage, noise or glare exceeding permissible standards, potential safety hazards, unwanted pedestrian/bicycle access, or to subdue differences in architecture and bulk between adjacent land uses.

    J. Ordinance Requirements: The proposed development includes adequate amounts of off-street parking and loading areas and, in the case of new construction, there is adequate landscaped area to meet ordinance requirements.

    K. General Compatibility: The relationship of the actual appearance, general density and overall site design of the proposed development should be compared to the established pattern of zoning, the character of the surrounding neighborhood and the existing land forms of the area to determine the general compatibility of the development with its surroundings.

    L. Non-Vehicular and Alternate Modes of Travel: The proposed development incorporates pedestrian oriented-space, provides direct and convenient pedestrian access to the building entrance(s) from public trails, public sidewalks, and on or off-site parking areas, incorporates appropriated pedestrian safety features, provides convenient pedestrian access for transit patrons, or, if appropriate, access for transit vehicles, and provides adequate bicycle access. Consideration shall also be given, to providing designated motorized scooter parking if appropriate to the context of the development (the use, location, type of individuals served).

    Subd. 3. The findings for the approval of a Final Type III Development Plan are as follows:
    A. Public Facility Design: The design of private and public utility facilities meet the requirements and specifications which the applicable utility has adopted.

    B. Geologic Hazard: Engineering means to deal with areas of geologic hazard have been incorporated into the development plan or such areas have been set aside from development.
    Page 258 September 1, 2011

    C. Access Effect: Ingress and egress points have been designed and located so as to:

    (1) Provide adequate separation from existing street intersections and adjacent private driveways so that traffic circulation problems in public right-of-ways are minimized; and

    (2) Not adversely impact adjacent residential properties with factors such as noise from accelerating or idling vehicles or the glare of headlights from vehicles entering or leaving the site.

    In addition, where the preliminary development plan identified potential problems in the operation of access points, plans for private improvements or evidence of planned public improvements which will alleviate the problems have been provided.

    D. Pedestrian Circulation: The plan includes elements to assure that pedestrians can move safely both within the site and across the site between properties and activities within the neighborhood area, and, where appropriate, accommodations for transit access are provided.

    E. Foundation and Site Plantings: A landscape plan for the site has been prepared which indicates the finished site will be consistent with the landscape character of the surrounding area.

    F. Site Status: Adequate measures have been taken to insure the future maintenance and ownership pattern of the project, including common areas, the completion of any platting activities, and the provision of adequate assurance to guarantee the installation of required public improvements, screening and landscaping.

    G. Screening and Bufferyards: The final screening and bufferyard design contains earth forms, structures and plant materials which are adequate to satisfy the needs identified in preliminary development plan for the project.

    H. Final Building Design: The final building design is consistent with the principles identified in preliminary development plan relative to Height Impact, Setbacks, and Internal Site Design.

    I. Internal Circulation Areas: Plans for off-street parking and loading areas and circulation aisles to serve these areas meet ordinance requirements in terms of design.

    J. Ordinance Requirements: The proposed development is consistent with the requirements of the underlying zoning district for similar uses in regards to signage and other appearance controls, and with general standards such as traffic visibility and emergency access.

    K. Non-Vehicular and Alternate Travel Modes: The proposed development incorporates pedestrian oriented-space, provides direct and convenient pedestrian access to the building entrance(s) from public trails, public sidewalks, and on or off-site parking areas, incorporates appropriated pedestrian safety features, provides convenient pedestrian access for transit patrons, or, if appropriate, access for transit vehicles, and provides adequate bicycle access. Consideration shall also be given, to providing designated motorized scooter parking if appropriate to the context of the development (the use, location, type of individuals served).

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  • 14Apr

    After years of trying we are about to make some process on cleaning up the South Branch of Cascade Creek.  The Interlachen neighborhood has paid a terrible environmental price for negligent management of Cascade Creek in the past.  Its time to start the process of healing this waterway.

    Please join me at a meeting to discuss upcoming work at 6 PM this Thursday, April 18 at Harriett Bishop Elementary School.

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  • 13Jan

    This project is called Tents Witness: Genocide and Conflict. The exhibit will be in Rochester at the Northrop Education Center April 30, 2013 – May 4, 2013.  This is important because we welcome many people from these parts of the world to Rochester.  I want to make sure that I am accessible to these new residents and that they understand that I work for them as well.

    For more information, to sign up for a field trip, or to sign up to volunteer at the exhibit, please contact Carolyn Franzone.

  • 03Dec

    From the city:

    Big picture is that everyone will be OK. Read more…

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  • 16Aug

    A number of cyclists will be leaving Rochester this Saturday from the Douglas Trail lot near Valleyhigh and West Circle Drive at 12:30.  We will ride out to Pine Island to greet Dr. Ring and ride with her back to Rochester at about 2 PM.  I will try to attend, and hope you can too.

    Doctor bicycles across United States to warn of health dangers from climate change.

    Tuesday July 2, 2012 BAYSIDE, CA- Doctor Wendy Ring, a 56 year old family physician, is riding a bicycle across the country this summer to talk to people about the health effects of climate change and the need to speed transition to renewable energy. Climate change is already affecting health in the United States; resulting in thousands of emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths from a variety of respiratory, cardiovascular, and infectious diseases. Medical professional organizations including the American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Practice have all issued warnings that climate change is harmful to the health of the American people and called for the rapid reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.

    Doctor Ring and her husband are riding a tandem bicycle with camping gear across the northern states, giving talks at venues ranging from hospitals to house parties. They started from Oregon in July and aim to reach Washington DC by the end of September. Doctor Ring states: “I’m deeply concerned that our government is not responding to the alarms being sounded by the medical and scientific community with policies that go far enough or take effect fast enough to avert a public health catastrophe. Our country has the resources and technology to rapidly lower CO2 emissions but lacks the political will.  In medicine there’s a time period called the Golden Hour, when care must be given to critically ill or injured patients if they are to survive. In the case of our planet, the Golden Hour is almost over and we still haven’t provided proper treatment. The International Panel on Climate Change and our own federal agencies such as NASA, the EPA, and the CDC predict that if we continue “business as usual”, global temperature will increase 7 to 11 degrees by the end of the century with drastic consequences for human health.”

    “I’m not a climate scientist, but twenty five years as a family doctor have taught me how to translate science into plain English and help people make changes to improve their health. In the absence of leadership from above, citizens must organize from the bottom up and build a movement to demand government action. So, in the tradition of Paul Revere, my husband and I are riding around the country to wake people up to the danger we face and move clean energy to the top of our national agenda.”

    Dr. Ring is a graduate of Yale and Columbia Universities and holds a Doctorate in Medicine and a Masters Degree in Public Health. Formerly the medical director of an innovative mobile clinic in rural northern California, she has been recognized by the California State Senate and Assembly, the House of Representatives, the US Senate, the California Medical Association, and the American Medical Association for her contributions to health care for the underserved. To learn if Dr. Ring will be in your area or invite her to speak in your community please contact Susan Brinton at above email address.

    Susan Brinton
    Cell: (707)845-9242
    Arcata, CA 95521


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  • 29Jun

    This looks like fun:


    On Wednesday evening, July 18, 2012, the Friends of Mayowood Residence & Historic Sites will
    host a festive evening of great theater with actors and staff from the Great River Shakespeare Festival
    of Winona. The event will feature a live performance excerpted from the Great River Shakespeare
    Festival’s ninth season.

    Guests will enjoy a buffet dinner and cash bar by the Canadian Honker, as well as the opportunity
    to mingle with Festival actors and staff. The historic and beautiful Plummer House, and its grounds,
    will be open for all to explore. Guests also will be among the first to view the Friends of Mayowood
    Residence & Historic Sites’ second purchase of original Plummer family furnishings, given to the
    City of Rochester for display at the Plummer House a few weeks ago.

    Tickets are $45 in advance, and additional donations are welcome. All proceeds from this event will
    support the purchase and conservation of original furnishings for the Plummer House.

    Tickets for this event are limited, and advance reservations are required. Please call Goldie
    Michael at (507) 289-1955.

    To celebrate the summer season and a recent acquisition of Plummer family furnishings with a performance by the Great River


    Live performance of a twenty-minute excerpt from the Great River Shakespeare
    Festival’s ninth season. Self-guided tours of the historic Plummer home and
    recent acquisitions of family furnishings, as well as information on the Great
    River Shakespeare Festival and plans for additional purchases of family artifacts
    and restoration projects at the Plummer House. Buffet dinner and cash bar by the
    Canadian Honker.


    $45 in advance. Proceeds benefit acquisition and restoration of original Plummer
    House furnishings from the Gertrude Plummer Kelley estate.

    Reservations and information: Goldie Michael (507) 289-1955


    The Friends of Mayowood Residence & Historic Sites is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation
    dedicated to supporting the preservation and enjoyment of Mayowood and other historic sites.
    Founded in 1981, this organization has funded the re-acquisition of family artifacts to furnish
    Mayowood and the Plummer House. As well, the organization has played a role in restoring
    Mayowood’s grounds, and continues to support ongoing maintenance and restoration projects at
    Mayowood, the Plummer House and other historic sites. It offers periodic community programs and
    events to promote awareness of local history and to support historic preservation. Membership is
    open to the public, with payment of annual dues beginning at $25.

    The Great River Shakespeare Festival is a non-profit, professional Equity theatre company in
    Winona, Minnesota, dedicated to dynamic productions of Shakespeare’s plays, extensive education
    and community outreach programs, and comprehensive theatre training. The Festival employs about
    100 theater professionals, provides training opportunities for interns and apprentices, and draws more
    than 10,000 attendees to Winona each summer. In addition to its theatrical productions, it offers
    education workshops, concerts, conversations and special events. Founded in 2004, the Great River
    Shakespeare Festival is now in its ninth season.

    The Plummer House of the Arts is a 49-room Medieval Revival home constructed for Dr. Henry S.
    Plummer and Daisy Berkman Plummer between 1917 and 1924. As a founding partner of the Mayo
    Clinic and developer of many of the Clinic’s early innovations, Henry Plummer was closely tied to
    the development of the Mayo Clinic during his thirty-five year career there. Daisy, a niece of Dr. Will
    and Charlie Mayo, was the Clinic’s first laboratory technician. After marriage, she devoted herself to
    her home and children, Gertrude and Robert, and worked tirelessly to support local charities, cultural
    institutions, and the appreciation of music. For almost fifty years, the house was home to Plummer
    children and grandchildren, as well as a focal point of Rochester’s cultural and intellectual life. Daisy
    Plummer bequeathed her residence to the Rochester community for the public’s continued enjoyment
    and enrichment – creating a unique, and popular, event venue and tourist attraction maintained by the
    Rochester Park and Recreation Department since 1976.

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  • 18May

    The Bicycle masterplan will receive a hearing in front of the Rochester Planning & Zoning Board on May 23rd at 7 PM (the meeting is at the government center and is typically in the council chambers).  If you care about these issues, plan on showing up and speaking.

    Meeting notice.

    They will be weighing in on whether the Bicycle Masterplan should be adopted.

    Bicycle Masterplan.

    Here are some facts you should know.

    Minnesota bike facts.

    • Minnesota has over 1500 jobs in the bike industry, 350 businesses, and 144 million in annual revenue.
    • Biking / Walking in MN receives biking receives 1.5% of Federal funding, represents 12% of all trips, and 9% of all fatalities.
    • The percentage of trips traveled by walking / biking is higher in cities and increasing.
    • The cost of the entire bike masterplan is less that the Elk Run intersection.
    • The cost of the entire bike masterplan is about 2.5% of total 2040 infrastructure spending. (per Phil Wheeler)
    • “Gas Tax” revenues fund less than 2% of transportation infrastructure in Minnesota.
    • The other 98+% comes from other sources.
    • 40% of Minnesotans do not drive.
    • Bike paths and bike lanes serve different users.

    I want more safe routes for recreational and commuting bikers and fewer memorial bike rides.

    Edit:  More data from Phil Wheeler:

    Michael – My estimate of 2.5% of cost is high. For the 25 year period covered in the Long Range Transportation Plan, the $31M for bike infrastructure would represent 2% of revenues and 1.3% of total transportation system needs.

    Citywide, bicycle and pedestrian commuting in the latest 5-year ACS data sums to 4% (3.3% for walking, 0.7% biking), about equal to transit’s 4.2%. If the 2,190 people now commuting by biking or walking were to each need a parking space in a ramp, we would need to spend $48,200,000 to accommodate them. Of course, not all of them work downtown and not all of them would park in a ramp, but it is still a large number. – Phil


    $ 3,953 raised.

    Election Campaign

    Choose donation amount:

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  • 12Jun

    Here is some info on what RNeignbors has been up to. Read more…

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  • 16May

    OK this sounds interesting…

    Video of the International Tree Climbing Championships

    http://www.davey.com/ask-the-expert/video-library/itcc.aspx Read more…

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  • 08May

    The weather was great, the volunteers were great, the food was great, and now the pain in my back is also great.  We had a tremendous time and I would like to personally thank all those involved.  Rene and Jacob showed outstanding leadership.  There were so many people involved, I don’t dare start to name them.  Rather that going on, I will just plagiarize what Citizen and Friend Bob Nowicki said. Read more…

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