We need you at the Public Hearing! Fill the seats and bring your voice.

When SAPCC filed an appeal to the conditional approval of the Rohn Industries site plan for 2495 Kasota, it triggered a public hearing. We need neighbors like you to fill the seats! Wear green and show up to stop this dangerous development. Sign the petition and donate to the Appeals Fund! Let us know you’re coming and share the Facebook event!

Written comments are still being accepted. Email Amanda Smith: amanda.smith@ci.stpaul.mn.us.

Read our comments for the public hearing here.

October 24, 2019 at 3:30PM

City Council Chambers

15 W Kellogg, Room 300

CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION

DONATE TO THE APPEALS FUND

St. Anthony Park Community Council has many serious concerns about the potential air/waterborne pollutants that could manifest at the Rohn Industries 2495 Kasota Ave. project because an old ash dump underlies this site. We are also concerned with the traffic congestion this project would add to our neighborhood and the safety issues it would cause.

City staff have ignored SAPCC and the neighborhood’s concerns related to safety as well as our site-specific technical knowledge and history about this complex site in the review process, granting Conditional Approval 9/16/19.  SAPCC filed an appeal of the conditional approval on September 25, 2019.

UPDATE 10/2/19: The planned public hearing date for the Site Plan with the Zoning Committee of the Planning Commission is October 24, 2019 followed by a Planning Commission vote on November 1, 2019.

Planning Commission decisions are appealable to the City Council. The City’s present deadline to act on the site plan review application is October 8, 2019. Because this deadline is prior to the November 1, 2019 Planning Commission meeting, the City elects to extend the deadline for the additional 60 days allowed under Minnesota Statute 15.99. The additional 60-day period takes effect immediately upon the expiration of the initial 60-day period.

Therefore, the deadline to make a final decision on the application is December 7, 2019.

Location of the Project

The half-mile area along Energy Park Drive/Kasota Ave. from Highway 280 west to 26th Street in Minneapolis was turned into the Elm Street Ash Dump between the 1930s and 1960s. At least 20 feet of debris—medical waste, contaminants and power plant incinerator ash from the city of Minneapolis, Hennepin County Medical Center, and the U of M—was piled up over time.

When Highway 280 was built in the 1960s, this stuff was covered with 6–12” of topsoil to stabilize it. Then, 20 years ago, BP Amoco wanted to build a gas station at 2495 Kasota Ave., and soil borings revealed a long list of buried hazardous materials, including lead, cadmium, barium, and mercury. The project was stopped after the St. Anthony Park Community Council and local residents objected and forced a special City Council hearing.

Now

Currently, a local company, Rohn Industries, wants to develop a semi-trailer parking facility on this same site at 2495 Kasota Avenue between Highway 280 and the railroad crossing near the NAPA Parts driveway. This will require excavation and the addition of several feet of ballast to support the weight of the semis and trailers on the driveways and parking pads.

SAPCC is very concerned this work will expose the polluted material in the ground to our air and water. Airborne toxics could reach into North and South SAP, and possibly Prospect Park and Southeast Como in Minneapolis.

Fragile Area  

The four Kasota Ponds that surround the site are a known resting point for migrating waterfowl on the Mississippi Flyway. The ponds host fish, aquatic vegetation, fairy shrimp, and three species of turtles. The smallest pond is on the southwest corner of the proposed site and has high diversity of aquatic insects. These ponds will clearly be threatened if the site is developed.

For over 25 years, our local community has invested in protecting and improving the Kasota Ponds ecosystem. SAPCC has received multiple grants from the DNR and Mississippi Watershed Management Organization for cleanups, buckthorn removal, habitat restoration, and wildlife inventories. Hundreds of local residents have volunteered at these events.

Any tax revenue the city would gain by approving this development is not worth the potential for other costs. Cleanups of contaminated sites frequently run into the millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars, not to mention the potential health costs borne by the public.

Preferred Options

At a minimum, the site should remain undisturbed.

Ideally, it should be remediated (the removal of all contaminated materials) and restored to its original wetland condition.

If you feel that approving the Rohn project is the proverbially “penny-wise and pound-foolish” situation, please add your name and contact information to the petition found on the Change.org website: http://chng.it/LbC2wBBr

SAPCC Actions Taken Thus Far

August 26, 2019 – Letter sent requesting more time to review site plan. View File

August 31, 2019 – Letter sent outlining concerns and urging project be tabled, a community engagement process be initiated, and public hearing be held. View File

September 5, 2019 – Letter sent further detailing concerns, requesting wetland delineation and wetland alteration documentation, and a traffic study be conducted. View File

September 25, 2019 – Appeal filed with Planning Commission. View File

Related documents and letters from other agencies: View Files