PASC – Part 2

My intent was to get some answers to the questions I posed prior to posting this information. Unfortunately the city administrator forwarded a draft to the county so at this point I am simply providing my list of questions. Below is a tremendous amount of detail, but I will give you a short summary. Based on reviewing 2016 documents it appears that neither PASC nor Olmsted County are living up to their obligations pertaining to planning. It also appears likely that there was a closed meeting held in violation to Minnesota’s open meeting law. Record of this meeting was withheld from the meeting minutes.


So this happened: Comments by the Council President

These kind of comments distract from the serious issues we have in Planning and with the PASC. I don’t think the public yet understands how much of a mess this is and how much it hurts the community, especially neighborhoods facing development without modern guidance. Here is the latest version of the agreement (2015). A subsequent PASC meeting occurred and there were no actions taken ahead of the City & County Budget cycles.

 photo Screen Shot 2016-12-05 at 11.34.53 AM_zpswloa01z3.png

I am concerned about the effectiveness of oversight by PASC. As such I am requesting that Ken Brown, chair of PASC and Richard Devlin, County Administrator provide answers to these questions. In reviewing the minutes there appear to be a number required actions by PASC missing. Additionally there appears to have been a closed meeting, which may have violated Minnesota’s open meeting requirements. Perhaps I am simply missing some information. I am committed to ensuring that the city of Rochester planning needs be met. Currently, as clearly indicated in the Stantec report, this is not happening. This appears to largely be the result of a lack of resources for the planning department.

Questions I have for staff:

  1. At which 2016 meeting did the PASC make a formal motion to provide general direction to the Department through the director of planning? If so what was the date of approved resolution?
  2. In 2016; did the PASC recommend an annual (2017) levy for operation of the Department to the County Board? If so what was the date of approved resolution?
  3. In 2016; did the PASC approve either the 2016 or 2017 annual budgets for the Department? If so what was the date of approved resolution?
  4. In 2016; did the PASC approve the annual work plan for either 2016 or 2017? If so what was the date of approved resolution?
  5. Do the city administrator, city attorney and other staff feel that criteria i-v (section 5 of PASC agreement) are being adequately met by the planning department? photo Screen Shot 2016-12-05 at 11.35.39 AM_zpspwju4upv.png
  6. Who directed Mitzi baker to release director comments & corrections on August 25, 2016? Was PASC involved? This is highly unusual since she previously released the report without commentary. Adding to the confusion was the immediate cancelation of a joint city / county meeting that had been scheduled to discuss the report.
  7. Did Olmsted County take any actions as a result of the release of the Stantec report? Was PASC involved in those decisions?
  8. How has stakeholder responses been evaluated / recorded in regards to the Stantec Report? Will there be a public hearing on the topic?
  9. Which recommendations in Section 6.0 of the Stantec report has PASC discussed, addressed, or decided not to address. What was the date of formal actions?
  10. At the September 2016 meeting, why did Ken Brown close the public meeting? Why is there no record?
  11. Why did the PASC Minutes from September 2016 fail to include rational and formal action allowing Jim Bier to participate in the meeting as he is not a member of that body. Was Jim Bier allowed to attend / participate in the closed meeting?
  12. Which of the 9 permitted reasons were used by Ken Brown to close the September 2016 meeting.
    1. to discuss labor negotiations strategy;
    2. to discuss data that would identify victims of criminal sexual conduct, domestic abuse, or maltreatment of minors of vulnerable adults;
    3. to discuss active criminal investigative data or internal affairs data relating to alleged law enforcement misconduct;
    4. to discuss non-public educational, health, medical, welfare or mental health data;
    5. to discuss an individual’s medical records;
    6. to conduct preliminary consideration of allegations or charges against an individual subject to the public body’s authority;
    7. to determine the asking price, review nonpublic appraisal data, or develop counteroffers on the purchase or sale of real or personal property;
    8. to receive security briefings, or to discuss security and emergency response issues, deficiencies, or procedures if disclosure would harm the public’s interests;
    9. when permitted by the attorney-client privilege (Supreme Court has narrowly construed this exception to the point where there must be pending litigation, or a definite and unequivocal threat of litigation before a meeting can be closed).


  1. As I drove along West Circle Drive today, I saw yet another new big building construction project. The cacophony of styles and the heights of the building are unappealing to say the least. Further south, there were trees and it was beautiful. As I drove around I really felt despair at the lack of any aesthetic efforts to provide relief from the multi-story strip mall effect.

    Many things could be done to make our town an attractive, green spaces, and other features to make it less ugly. For example, grassy berms to block the view of parking lots with lovely bands of green with possible shrubs and/or flowers and trees as well.

    Pocket parks are a brilliant and lovely way to break up the hundreds of banks and redundant shops and other commercial development. The meridians between street sides are welcome relief but I have noticed that especially at the 11th Avenue and 12th Street intersection the beige tonality of the curb makes it very difficult to see at night. The first time I tried to make a left turn there, I nearly went down the wrong side because I could not see that it was not the street side curb. Reflective paint might be helpful for night drivers on that and similar locations.

    There are so many ways to beautify the city, but is there any planning to do something about the ugliness that has overtaken so much of the sprawl with more and more “development” that does not seem to have any grasp of what a livable city includes besides unsustainable, ugly, retail and other businesses on every square inch of road?

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