Nov 19, 2012

Good Neighbor Award

Our neighbors, John and Sue Bibeau, recently sold their home (2666 Lake Shore) and moved to Brainerd. John and Sue have been some of the best neighbors and friends we've had in our lives. Not only will they be missed because of their kind and generous natures, but their contribution to the neighborhood has been immense.

John has lived in Little Canada and on Lake Shore for most of his life. He has seen the neighborhood in good times and bad. John and Sue were always involved in community events and a great source of insight into the city's history.

For the two years that Little Canada paid for our lake's lily spraying permits, John volunteered his time and energy to man the pumps for two days each year. Because of that, our lake has had a chance to make a come-back and it has been possible to enjoy boating on that precious resource and the view from our back yards was dramatically improved with a little water visible on the lake. "Fixing" the lake is a long way in the future, but that wasn't a bad start.

John was always quick to lend a hand at any project that might improve the neighborhood. We particularly appreciated his willingness to help with the "project" that our home turned out to be. Without their patience and assistance, I suspect we might not have managed to turn our place around and make it livable. We will miss John and Sue a lot and will try to welcome our new neighbors as generously as John and Sue did for us.

Nov 5, 2012

Variations on the Noise Wall

Apparently, the Little Canada City Council is doing an end run around the will of the property owners on Australia Avenue. The owner of Gopher Electronics convinced the council that his property will somehow be damaged if there isn't a line-of-sight from the freeway to his building and that his tiny building provides ample noise protection for the people who live on the streets "blocked" by his building. So, the council is looking at (or has already decided on) shrinking the length of the northwest side of the proposed noise wall for his benefit.

Obviously, this completely eliminates the value of the noise wall for 2/3 of the residents on the west side of the freeway. As the DOT's own literature states, effective noise barriers must:
  • must be tall and long with no openings;
  • are most effective within 61 meters (200 feet) of a highway (usually the first row of homes);
  • a barrier should be at least eight times as long as the distance from the home or receiver to the barrier;
There was no indication of this conversation in the currently posted 10/24/2012 meeting notes, but a resident who attended that meeting said there was quite a bit of off-line discussion about the "variation."
 Reducing the length of the barrier will effect the efficiency of the barrier for far more than just the citizens "protected" by the Gopher building. It will eliminate much of the barrier's effect for most of us on the west side.Since Gopher Electronics has been accused of being the cause of a lot of the lake's degradation over the years, it is hard to see why the city would be suddenly concerned about that business' input regarding the neighborhood.

There is still some time for public input before this project is turned over to the bureaucracy. "The Administrator reported that MN DOT is requesting that the City hold a public hearing on the MN PASS project, and staff is recommending the hearing be held on Wednesday, November 28th at 7:30 p.m. The Administrator pointed out that last evening MN DOT held an open house on the project at City Hall. The issue of sound walls was discussed with residents, and there are some areas abutting the project where property owners favor additional sound walls and some not. The Administrator noted that the Heather Oaks property owners abutting the project do not support the addition of a sound wall, but would like to have additional landscaping installed." Stay tuned, this "discussion" isn't over yet.

The fact that none of the council members or the mayor are opposed in the upcoming election is probably bad news for the city. It says we're either completely satisfied with city government, we're completely apathetic about our homes and community, or we're afraid to raise out heads up because they might get shot off.