Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway
Recent E-Group Postings
From: Jack G. Conrad [mailto:jackgconrad @ earthlink.net]
Sent: Sunday, March 14, 2004 09:33 PM
Cc: Ward, John
Subject: Tuesday's City Council Meeting -- Proposed Millerville Development between Lexington-Diffley Playing Fields & Caponi Art Park
Dear Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway,
Please take a moment and read the memo below. This Tuesday, March 16th, Eagan City Council will be making some final decisions on the Ray Miller Development proposed for just west of the Lexington Diffley Athletic fields and east of the Caponi Art Park. More specifically, they will be deciding on issues involving entrance access, density (via a prospective rezoning), and scope (no. of total town home units [Mr. Miller has proposed 16 in all] ). You can view the proposed 'plat' on our Web site, www.EaganCoreGreenway.org, under "E-Group Postings (Local Updates!)" (left-hand side).
I have attended several of these council meetings and have summarized my thoughts in the memo below. If you have any concerns, please email your local council member or attend the council meeting at 6:30 Tuesday night. The council members' email addresses can be found at www.EaganCoreGreenway.org under "What You Can Do" (left-hand side, bottom). Please email the Council members directly as the general City Council email address delivers messages on a delayed basis.
[The Millerville proposal will probably not be addressed at Tuesday's meeting until after 7:30 p.m., since it is scheduled towards the end of the "Old Business" section, and there will be one public hearing on the Lexington Road (north of Lone Oak) upgrade coming before it.]
I will be attending the meeting this Tuesday and welcome your assistance.
Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway
Ray Miller Property - Park Access Concerns
The City of Eagan is currently proposing to turn the park road at the Diffley entrance to the Lexington Diffley Athletic fields into a public road allowing access into the new development proposed by Ray Miller. The road would maintain the current route which provides access to several parking lots. I am keenly interested in this issue as I live adjacent to the park and spend numerous evenings there for various soccer, baseball and skateboarding events. Here are my thoughts:
Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway
- The park road is now used exclusively for sporting events. The road is scenically landscaped. It has numerous curves and a narrow format of 24 feet designed to naturally slow down drivers. As I learned from Tom Colbert, the city engineer, there are no speed limits in any park within the City of Eagan. Speed limits are set by the State of MN. Law Enforcement officers may ticket individuals based solely on their judgment. By changing the road to a public road, it must be widened to 28 ft, and possibly 32 ft, to allow for on-street parking which will immediately eliminate those "natural barriers" to speed. A new speed limit would be enforced at 25 mph. Speed bumps are not typically used in Eagan due to the difficulty of snow removal and emergency vehicle access. Normally the City of Eagan uses signage and crosswalks to slow vehicles down on a public road.
Based on the above facts, I believe there is great potential for injury. Many bikers, skateboarders and walkers use these roads. If the speed is increased to 25 mph and residents are using these roads daily on a more direct wide road, it is common sense to assume SPEED WILL INCREASE. When you are on familiar roads you travel faster.
The interest in skateboarding is skyrocketing. There are times when dozens of kids can be seen at the park skate boarding. On Sunday March 7th I was at the park looking at the roads. A mom dropped off her son who had a shovel and planned to shovel out the park so he could skateboard. These are the individuals most likely to be traversing the parking lots and have potential accidents. With on street parking, seeing the skateboarders can be particularly difficult as they dodge up and down.
- Conflict of law enforcement. City of Eagan Parks close at 11 pm but the homeowners need round the clock access. Therefore individuals would be able to come and go all night long in the park causing a further strain on law enforcement.
- Cost! Public roads must be maintained by the city. Currently only a short strip of the park road is plowed to allow access to the water reservoir. This area is usually plowed 2-3 days after a snow as it is not a priority. A public road would require regular plowing of the entire road. In 20 years or so when the road must be repaved the city would now be responsible instead of the residents or the developer.
- The setting of precedence is also a major consideration. If we allow a developer to access property through a park at this time, what would the future hold? I realize Eagan is 95% developed but isn't it ironic that we have built this wonderful city without prior park access needs and now suddenly it is a necessity? There are numerous neighborhoods in Eagan that have difficult access issues. Dakota County has given approval for a road off Diffley. I understand there is a concern on behalf of the fire department and other public offices but divided road access is not a new issue. Turning a park road into a public road is a first!
- The Advisory Park commission is against the road through the park. Who knows the parks best?
- Future issues will be addressed from a residential use verses park use philosophy.
- Loss of vegetation along the road way to widen the roads.
- A public road will now provide nontraditional traffic like garbage trucks, delivery trucks as well as other nonresidential vehicles with access on a regular basis.
- It is reasonable to assume those who can afford expensive homes can also afford multiple cars. Where is the overflow parking for these cars? How about social events for these residents? I believe the homeowners will be using the park for their excess parking needs where parking is already tight during tournaments.
- The new Miller property residents will also be dealing with traffic issues. During sporting events, the traffic to enter and exit the park is extreme. You have large masses of cars, trucks, bikers, walkers, etc. waiting to exit onto Diffley.
- What is the benefit to the community?
Commentary: This is actually the single decision criteria the Council has, according to City Code, to justify the rezoning of the property from R1 (single family residential) to PD (higher density Planned Development).
Despite over a dozen citizens voicing their objection to the scale, scope, and park access route of the proposed development, Council is still contemplating approval of the full 16 units. Yet, as one Eagan resident put it, "I am concerned about the growing tackiness that is characteristic of developments like this in our community!" Please echo these sentiments and let your voice be heard on or before this Tuesday, March 16th. Thank you.