Suburbs - General Topics

Twin Cities Suburbs
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VacantLuxuries
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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby VacantLuxuries » June 18th, 2015, 12:48 pm

There was a big push for Ham Lake and East Bethel to join the city sewer system a few years back. The town threw a tantrum, while the mayor was a proponent of it. Then this happened...

http://www.startribune.com/ham-lake-may ... /18675674/
At odds with council members who oppose a new sewer system, Meunier said at an April 16 City Council workshop meeting: "I feel like a black person in a room with 30 white people."
That's Ham Lake.

blobs
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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby blobs » June 18th, 2015, 3:37 pm

"If you don't like it move to Blaine." Love this.

Is Ham Lake that bad really? Seems like nice ideals..self sustenance, low property taxes, large lots, you can build a garage bigger than your house. I mean makes sense if you have a lot of boats, RVs, etc, and want to live that lifestyle...if there were a place that would work, it would be Ham Lake. I don't think we should take that option away from folks who desire that. The tree thing may seem crazy to city dwellers but it is a form of government intrusion, I'm sure residents may liken it to DNR agents walking your land. And the sprawling urban design we are trying to fix nowadays was caused by government mandated standards.

blobs
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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby blobs » June 18th, 2015, 3:44 pm

http://www.citypages.com/news/do-you-li ... ds-7406652

"The area by Knollwood Mall registers high in three categories — ozone levels, crap in the air, and harmful chemical releases — making it one of the Twin Cities' most polluted neighborhoods, according to newly-released data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)."

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Anondson
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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby Anondson » June 18th, 2015, 4:30 pm

Bizarre. I'd like some pros to speculate about why Knollwood stands out in this more than similar places.

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Anondson
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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby Anondson » June 18th, 2015, 4:40 pm

If I'm reading the interactive map right, the bright spot is not Knollwood, but a geography just south of Knollwood. The bright zone includes the current Cold Storage site, an area now filled by the Cargill campus but was a former food plant, a former Alliantech plant that is now homes and a ministorage, and the Edco campus of buildings. In the 50s this stretch boomed with factories.

Wedgeguy
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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby Wedgeguy » June 18th, 2015, 6:20 pm

There are also a few petroleum distributors in the area that would add to the ozone and crap in the air. I remember the benzene from the high test fuel that you could get from one of the distributors as well as the diesel fuel that they had available before most station started carrying it.

twincitizen
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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby twincitizen » June 23rd, 2015, 2:14 pm

This might be the finest thing ever written about a Twin Cities suburb: http://www.citypages.com/news/is-this-h ... ie-7418947

IS THIS HEAVEN? NO, IT'S EDEN PRAIRIE
Bloomington, Burnsville, and Richfield were the collective old country, and they had failed. The EP was the beacon on the prairie that came with a guarantee that all children would be flush with Hollister gift cards and destined for partial scholarships at St. Olaf.
Here's what a day is like when you have it all:

After a Saturday morning putting down turf builder and extinguishing the fire that is your teenager getting bullied again at Eden Prairie High, you hop in your Chrysler minivan with the 4.2 members of your Caucasian tribe.

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby FISHMANPET » June 23rd, 2015, 2:28 pm

Someone I know is from EP (and lives in Uptown now) and has taken great offence to this on Facebook.

acs
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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby acs » June 23rd, 2015, 2:35 pm

Back in the good 'ol days when we'd hear stuff like this the response was always "well, someone's mad they got beat in football"

But really that was awesome and too true.

min-chi-cbus
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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby min-chi-cbus » June 23rd, 2015, 7:44 pm

I liked it too, but unfortunately I don't think it applies to just Eden Prairie....but then again, not every suburb is hailed as the "best" suburb.

blobs
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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby blobs » June 23rd, 2015, 11:16 pm

"That neighbor from three doors down has bitched again about your snowmobile trailer parked on the street. Everything is no less than 20 minutes away."

This.

QuietBlue
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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby QuietBlue » June 24th, 2015, 7:05 am

I've spent very little time in EP and don't have much opinion of it one way or the other, but in fairness, I'll point out that they have numerous restaurants that are WAY better than Applebee's (and I know there's at least one of those left in Minneapolis).

Tenderfoot
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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby Tenderfoot » June 24th, 2015, 8:44 am

EP Costco >>>> SLP Costco insanity, I'll give them that.

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Anondson
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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby Anondson » July 13th, 2015, 10:13 pm

Alarmed by developers scraping lots of all trees down to bare earth, Edina passed an ordinance limiting the ability of developers buying a home, tearing it down and cutting down all the trees.

http://www.startribune.com/edina-implem ... 314794011/

I'm seeing mostly responsible tear downs in the neighborhood I grew up in in St. Louis Park, the Brookside neighborhood, but there was a recent iconic lot on Brookside Avenue where it is filled with ancient oak trees from before it was settled with farms. Where it curves around an Anglican church and crosses the railroad tracks to cross Minnehaha Creek is a very large lot with an old small cottage filled with the ancient oaks.

Well the large lot was too appealing, a developer offered enough money that was hard to refuse. The proposal is to rip them all out, but since the city doesn't prevent it and only requires new trees be replanted to compensate for trees cut down a large yard full of massive oaks will be lost.

I've always been skeptical about "changes to character" NIMBYism, but I've shifted that there is a place for cities to preserve mature tree canopy where reasonable efforts can be made to build around mature trees on the lot. Something like this Edina ordinance may not have been able to save the old oaks on Brookside, but maybe it could save one or two of them.

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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby David Greene » July 13th, 2015, 11:35 pm

Anondson wrote:I've always been skeptical about "changes to character" NIMBYism, but I've shifted that there is a place for cities to preserve mature tree canopy where reasonable efforts can be made to build around mature trees on the lot.
Not that I disagree, but what makes your "changes to character" concern more valid than anyone else's? I'm asking honestly - I'd like to have a discussion about what people think is important to preserve, why, and how best to respect the views of others.

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Anondson
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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby Anondson » July 14th, 2015, 12:29 am

I don't think I have an articulate answer yet. But I believe mature trees are something different. Maybe even unique.

People seem willing to pay more to buy homes in neighborhoods with grown trees, often real estate listings will call this out. Large enough trees not only shady your home and property, but usually a neighboring home and property as well. Large canopy trees have an environmental benefit for cooling the urban heat island, losing them affects this. Our urban forests are important enough we have city forestry departments to care and monitor them.

Beyond saving old neighborhood canopy trees from unnecessary scrapping, I don't have a "neighborhood character" issue I'd make a stand on.

UrsusUrbanicus
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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby UrsusUrbanicus » July 14th, 2015, 2:57 am

Perhaps the factual distinction underlying Anondson's exception is the physical irreplaceability (within current human lifetimes, anyway) of large, truly aged trees? If we mistakenly knock out beautiful and/or functional older buildings, their styles and functions can at least be imitated when we rebuild.

[Full disclosure: As an Ursus, I have a conflict of interest regarding sturdy trees. :D ]

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sdho
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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby sdho » July 14th, 2015, 8:39 am

Trees tend to be an awfully convenient excuse for other things we don't want. Somehow building wide streets and driveways like parking lots is a nonissue, but when an unwanted sidewalk comes into play, there's suddenly an abundant concern for the health of trees. I think teardown opponents may be using a similar tactic. Trees are, in fact, a renewable resource -- and a finite life. The most beautiful old trees may only have 20 years or less left.

However, this ordinance seems reasonably balanced. Sounds like developers are just scraping lots for convenience of being able to build the spec home without any thought to the landscape. These are expensive, high-quality homes, and they can afford to plan around trees.

mnmike
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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby mnmike » July 14th, 2015, 9:33 am

sdho wrote:Trees tend to be an awfully convenient excuse for other things we don't want. Somehow building wide streets and driveways like parking lots is a nonissue, but when an unwanted sidewalk comes into play, there's suddenly an abundant concern for the health of trees. I think teardown opponents may be using a similar tactic. Trees are, in fact, a renewable resource -- and a finite life. The most beautiful old trees may only have 20 years or less left.

However, this ordinance seems reasonably balanced. Sounds like developers are just scraping lots for convenience of being able to build the spec home without any thought to the landscape. These are expensive, high-quality homes, and they can afford to plan around trees.
Wow, I am really going to have to disagree with a lot here. I am from the Browndale area of SLP, right next to Brookside that was mentioned earlier. Clear cutting trees is absolutely an issue people take seriously, whether it is for homes or widening roads, driveways, or new homes at least from my experience in SLP. Also, high quality? Well I may be biased...but the 1.1 million dollar house that was put up within a couple months over the winter behind my parents house has already had a cracked foundation and roof problems. That same developer is building a house next door and cleared a few lovely 100 year old Burr Oaks. Burr oaks easily live to be 500. This guy has built at least 5 in the hood so far, and while the finishes may be nice, the quality of construction is nothing to brag about. It also doesn't help that the guy is an ass! I have actually been there one of the times he approached my mother and basically told her that her home and the other ones around her were "junky old houses that he would pay cash for to take off people's hands". Well we are talking about solid 1930s-late 40s homes worth 300-450k as it is.

You have assumed a lot in your post about the intentions of people in areas like this. I am not necessarily opposed to teardowns...though on a board like this I am surprised to see many come to their defense. In the case of Browndale, many of the tear down replacements are much more outer ring suburban in characteristics than neighboring homes, and are not adding any density. Still SFH. I think we just need better guidelines on how to handle the relatively new situation in the areas this is suddenly happening all over the place in addition to the vague rules that were already in place, and it looks like that is happening. I guess I am sort of a tree hugger, but I am almost offended, well I guess I am actually offended, to see someone say "they are just 100+ year old trees, they are renewable" and that people in the neighborhoods are using them as excuses to stop change. SMH

I have seen some nice, "responsible" teardowns, as mentioned earlier...it seems to me those are most often done by individuals coming into the neighborhood and hiring an architect. The problems seem to come when a developer comes in and thinks they can take over a whole area with their "bigger better homes"....that are pre-fab fiber board with a 3 car garage. The people that come in and actually love the neighborhood are the ones that take great care to make nice homes, and tend to not clear cut healthy trees or build giant garages in front. Not to ramble on, but an interesting example is the old Sidell property up the hill on morningside road. That was an old jumble of strange 7k sq foot house on a huge lot. The family knew any buyer would want to subdivide, but didn't want to act as the developer...so they put all kinds of stipulations in the contract on how many trees the new developer must save, and worked pretty closely with them on plans. The family has a great love for trees and gardening. Will be interested to see how that turns out.
Last edited by mnmike on July 14th, 2015, 10:03 am, edited 5 times in total.

mattaudio
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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby mattaudio » July 14th, 2015, 9:43 am

I'm reluctant to add a complex matrix of sticks in the interest of protecting trees (even though I find value in them, and certain species of certain maturity, with certain distance from the actual construction happening on a property, should be protected)... But how beneficial would it be to provide some sort of carrot for the protection of mature trees? I've seen lots of SFH construction in the city and on rural lots where the construction company seems to have no idea how to easily prevent damage to mature trees. Simple strategies to avoid soil compaction, not piling dirt onto the trunk of the tree, etc. Maybe we can point out how much value mature trees add, and have local arborists or other experts offer developers/contractors advice on how to maintain that value by protecting trees.


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