Watershed Discussions (the following is an excerpt from Janice’s North End News Column)

On April 6, the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) is hosting a public hearing on the request for the formation of a watershed district for the area now included in the Central Ramsey and Southwest Ramsey Water Management Organizations. The genesis of the request came from the District 10 Como Community Council Environmental Committee. The individuals on the Committee are concerned about the water quality in Como Lake and associated environmental issues. The decision to create a formal watershed district is up to BWSR according to State Statute. People and governmental entities such as the City of Falcon Heights and the City of St. Paul have an opportunity to comment on the petition as does Ramsey County. If created, the Watershed District managers would be appointed by BWSR for the first year only and the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners appoint managers thereafter. The issues of concern in the area, besides Lake Como, include Trout Brook Interceptor, Lake McCarrons, and the Gottfried Pit. The creation of a Watershed District does include a taxing authority which is not under the auspices of the County, City, or School Board. An adjacent watershed district of Ramsey Washington charges roughly $35.00 a year on a $100,000 house. The Rice Creek Watersheds equal cost is $10.00 for a $100,000 house yearly. The money generated is targeted to addressing specific watershed issues only. If you would like further information on this matter, please call BWSR at 296-3767 or me. BWSR can continue the comment time at their discretion.

The recommendation of the City of Falcon Heights, the District 10 Planning Council and the Ramsey County Board (3/24/98) is for the formation of a new watershed district combining Southwest Ramsey and Central Ramsey. However, those recommendations are only advisory to BWSR. Janice made the motion and Commissioner Reinhardt seconded it with an amendment requested by Maplewood. The County Board recommendation has been forwarded to BWSR with thanks to staff, District 10 and all of the environmental committee, Dr. Downing of Falcon Heights and Marylyn Deneen of St. Paul.

Jail Site: A public hearing discussing the I-94 and 35E proposed jail site was the first point of business at the March 24, Board Meeting. Wayne Wangstad of the Pioneer Press reported that a dozen or so people who spoke at the hearing all were against that site. Presenters were Employers, Business Leaders, Community Groups, and City Council Members. One presenter stated that this site selection has brought together just about every group on the East Side in opposition to the site. Loss of jobs, dislocation of businesses, removal of property from tax rolls and harm to future development were among the reasons cited during the brief hearing. These are the exact same reasons that Commissioners Rettman and Guerin stated back in February when they were the two votes against pursuing the site further (see Jan/Feb 1998 newsletter). The Board will meet April 14 or 21 to discuss the site again. Commissioner Rettman stands firm in opposing the I-94 and 35E and still recommends the Public Safety site.

We wish you a happy spring and a great growing season.

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