Responses to Community Comment
Each regular meeting of the Edina City Council includes “Community Comment,” a time on the agenda for the public to raise issues or make comments. Individuals have three minutes to speak and are asked to provide their name and address. Community Comments cannot be related to:
- an item on the current meeting agenda
- a topic planned for a future public hearing
- a topic for which a public hearing was held in the previous 30 days
Sometimes, questions are asked or a comment is made that requires a response. City staff will use this page to provide more information on those matters. The City Manager will give a summary of the responses at the next regularly scheduled City Council meeting.
- Why didn't the City share details of last week's home invasion? Why didn't the Police Department use a text notification or other communication methods to notify neighbors? (Feb. 6, 2024)
The incident referred to in the Community Comment was an attempted burglary on Golf Terrace. (A “home invasion” involves an act of violence against a person.) To ensure the integrity of the investigation, the Police Department cannot release many details of the incident at this time. However, on Feb. 2, the City issued a press release to update the community about the recent burglary trend and to offer crime prevention tips.
The Police Department is currently working on solutions to provide more consistent and timely alerts to our community. More details will be shared soon.
- Why doesn’t the Edina Police Department engage in community policing? (Feb. 6, 2024)
The Edina Police Department does engage in community policing. With patrol units including bicycle patrol, motorcycle patrol, foot patrol and K-9 units, community policing has been a long-standing practice. Several new initiatives, including the establishment of a Community Engagement Officer and the Joint Community Police Partnership, have been launched within the last two years. Learn more on the Police Community Programs webpage.
- Will you reconsider the shared-use path planned for Concord Avenue as part of the Concord B&C street reconstruction project? Will you call a special neighborhood meeting to discuss it? (Feb. 6, 2024)
The City Council conducted a public hearing on the project from Dec. 11 to 13, 2023. Resident comments were collected in-person and online. Staff presented a recommendation to change the five-foot sidewalk along Concord Avenue to an eight-foot sidewalk/shared-use-path. Changing the width from five to eight feet was related to space constraints on Wooddale Avenue.
The eight-foot-wide facility continues the commitment in the Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan to develop a Twin Loops network designed for all ages and abilities that connects to key assets in the community, like schools and parks. Tree removals are minimal and hard surface areas are being reduced because most of the new streets are being narrowed.
The City Council approved staff recommendations on Dec. 19, 2023.
Staff have received signatures from residents of the neighborhood that may be considered petitions, so staff and the City Council may have a discussion at a future Council meeting.
- Will you reconsider or amend the City’s tree protection ordinance? Why isn’t the City accepting a letter of credit (which appears to be permissible in the ordinance)? (Feb. 6, 2024)
The City has had a Tree Protection Ordinance since 2015 to preserve Edina’s highly valued trees, while allowing reasonable development to take place. Amendments went into effect Jan. 1, 2023, after the Energy & Environment Commission reviewed deficiencies of the original ordinance and recommended to the City Council many improvements, including a fee schedule that requires solutions for preserving and protecting trees.
Staff has observed that the new Tree Protection Ordinance has resulted in the preservation of large trees with some projects choosing to alter their design or move large existing trees. The current ordinance accomplishes the stated goals identified by the Energy & Environment Commission.
According to the ordinance, “The City shall, at its option, require cash escrow or a letter of credit satisfactory to the City in the amount of 110 percent of the value of the tree replacement identified in the tree protection plan, securing the full performance of tree protection plan.” Staff have consistently preferred the cash escrow because the letter of credit involves a third person who may or may not cooperate with us and follow through on the obligation. With a cash bond, staff can directly cause the bonded improvements to be done because we have the cash in our hands. We don’t have to depend on a bank or insurance company to agree to help us, like we do with letters of credit.
To remove any confusion and make our practice more clear, the City Council could amend the ordinance to remove the reference to a letter of credit.
Other changes to the ordinance or fees would require an evaluation of the intended purpose of the ordinance and impact to tree preservation. A City Council work session will likely be scheduled for this topic later this year.
(Response updated Feb. 20, 2024)
- Can the City proactively rezone 6016 Vernon Ave. (former Kevin Kee’s Auto Service) to be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan? (Feb. 6, 2024)
The City has not made a practice of proactively rezoning a property against the will of a property owner. The property owner is actively trying to develop the property and is considering a variety of options, including residential.