Before Golden Valley City Councilmembers allow Bottineau Transitway studies to move forward, they want to hear from the public.
On Nov. 13, after almost two hours of discussion, councilmembers agreed that Golden Valley should host a public hearing and learn more from residents about the perceived impacts of the transitway.
The purpose of the council/manager meeting this week, among other agenda items, was to get questions answered about the the D1 Alignment, which is the Locally Preferred Alternative that would bring the train through Golden Valley.
The Council Chambers were full of representatives from Hennepin County, the Metropolitan Council and Golden Valley's Human Rights Commission Task Force. Residents and local media also attended the event.
In introductory statements, Sixth District Hennepin County Commissioner Jan Callison sympathized with councilmembers. "I understand your pain in terms of making this decision," Callison said. "I was the mayor of Minnetonka and member of the City Council. I understand this is a big decision, and it's a decision that your looking carefully at."
City Planner Joe Hogeboom gave councilmembers a brief history of the Bottineau Transitway, and the strategic work that's already gone into the project. Hogeboom also outlined the issues that the council had originally, when they voted down the transitway plans last June.
Councilmember concerns include the impact to the environment, the station location, the impact to properties, ambient lighting, noise, vibration and parking.
Councilmember Joanie Clausen originally voted no on the transitway project, but on Tuesday night, she had a proposition to make to Hennepin County.
"I have put a lot of thought into this because there's such a big impact," Clausen said. "I would be willing to sign off on the study...but I will not do it until Hennepin County gives Golden Valley that 911 dispatch that we deserve."
Golden Valley's 911 dispatch provider switched from St. Louis Park to the City of Edina in 2011. The County Board voted to allow Hopkins to use the county dispatch center last June, leaving Golden Valley working with the City of Edina.
"I don't know that a trade of that nature is something that I've seen," Councilmember Paula Pentel said. "Trading for favors is something that strikes me as not the way that we’ve done politics in Golden Valley."
Clausen was quick to note that her proposal, to withhold a 'yes' vote until the city gets 911 dispatch support from the county, was only her idea.
"I’m doing this on my own. This was my idea," Clausen said. "I have expressed my feelings but I wasn’t pressured."
Callison said that giving Golden Valley a 911 dispatch isn't as easy as it seems, though Councilmember Mike Freiberg disagreed.
"I don't think it's that complex of an issue. If the city of Hopkins can get it, we should get it too," Freiberg said. "I wouldn't tie [Bottineau] explicitly to the dispatch issue."
After moving past the 911 dispatch discussions, and after revising the current resolution, members agreed that a public hearing would be the best next step.
City Manager Tom Burt said that there could be a possible special meeting called on Nov. 27, but that date would have to be confirmed.
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Letters To the Editor
Letter: Time to Move Forward on Bottineau Transitway
Letter: Courage Center Supports Bottineau Transitway
Light Rail Options Deserve a Full Study