At Wednesday’s City Council hearing, President Russ Stark said the item would be back on the agenda June 22 with a possible vote. At stake is whether or not 40-year-old regulations will continue to strike a good balance between natural resource protections and development, or if the city will open the area up to development that has previously not been allowed. For example, allowing 65′ heights for buildings (and up, with a conditional use permit) in areas along the bluff that currently have height restrictions of 40′.
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is revising the rules. The exact same area is also a National Park, MNRRA.
You don’t need to be well-versed in the rules to give a comment. In fact, if you’ve been following this, even the folks who are “well-versed” say this is a complicated issue. You can, however, share your opinion as to why the river corridor is important and why it should be protected. The comment period closes July 6.
All kinds of folks benefit from the river: Canoeists, kayakers, paddle boarders, rowers, boaters, bikers, hikers, walkers, birders, tourists, property owners, artists, writers, nature-lovers, and more. Those voices are just as important as the voices of the “well-versed”.
There are three opportunities to address the administrative law judge at public hearings. The DNR website also has those details. They will take place June 14, 15, and 16.
You can also sign up for updates on the DNR website.
The National Park Service (NPS) submitted some excellent comments for Wednesday’s hearing. In fact, lots of folks did, including Friends of the Parks, and they can all be found at the city’s website. I’ve attached the link here. I suggest reading the NPS comments to get a sense of this broad topic. Go to the meeting details of 5/18/2016. You’re looking for Agenda item #27, RES PH 16-147. Click on that and you’ll see all the comments that were submitted. You can also link to the video from the hearing.
We are talking about development in a National Park. Please add your voice to the growing number of people who are asking our leaders to protect it for others, as it has been protected for us.