Brooklyn Park talks Traffic around “Hotdish” Site
Even though the controversial Project Hotdish is on hold, Brooklyn Park is still setting the stage for a business development in the northwest part of the city. The Brooklyn Park City Council recently approved a routine environmental review of the property that covered topics like water quality and traffic.
Zoned for Business
In the height of the summer, when the Twin Cities Corn Maze as growing tall, the wheels of progress were turning. The maze is east of Highway 169, south of 109th Avenue, west of Winnetka Avenue and north of the Three Rivers Park District’s Rush Creek Regional Trail Corridor. Even though there’s only corn stalks and pumpkins there now, the city calls the land the NorthPark Business Center.
A development project with the code name “Hotdish” caused a community uproar. One of the main points of protest came back to traffic. Neighbors living nearby said a fulfillment center would clog roads more than they already were.
Project Hotdish is currently on hold, but since the land is zoned for a business development, the city continues to set the stage for a future project there.
An Environmental Review
The Brooklyn Park City Council approved an environmental review on Monday night. City Council members mentioned several times in the meeting that voting on the NorthPark Business Center Alternative Urban Area-Wide Review (AUAR) was not a vote for project Hotdish. Several members mentioned that citizens expressed concerns this vote was a secret vote for project Hotdish. It wasn’t.
“I want to make sure that this is out there. We are not secretly voting on that project tonight,” said Terry Parks, council member representing the East District.
Council member Susan Pha also clarified the reason for the vote.
“What I don’t want to do is approve this and make it seem I’m giving an approval to a fulfillment center or something like Hotdish,” said Pha.
The environmental review of the property is actually routine. The review must be revised every five years until all development in the study area has received final approval. The update analyzes how the property has changed since the previous review. It covers a range of topics from water quality to traffic.
“We have nothing before us now. We have an environmental review that has no project attached to it,” says Mayor Jeffrey Lunde. “As I’ve told many residents, until I get a chance to vote on something, I don’t believe anything. I don’t believe stuff we approve until I see the dirt moving.”
About that Traffic
Since the review included updated information on traffic impact of the area, it sparked quite a bit of discussion among council members. Many expressed a desire for improved traffic now, before a project is even approved.
“It needs to be four lanes, needs to have turn lanes and needs to have stop lights,” says Bob Mata, council member representing the West District in talking about Winnetka Avenue. “It can’t handle the traffic that’s there now without any development. I don’t care what their studies say. If you can’t handle the current traffic now, how are you going to handle it when you put a small warehouse building in there?”
Mayor Lunde says it’s normal for traffic improvements to come after developments are built, but there is a clear need for change.
“It is going to be developed. If it’s not Hotdish, it’s something else,” explained Lunde. He says he heard from many citizens expressing traffic concerns during the Hotdish debate. “You have to do something about traffic. No matter what, we have to do something about traffic.”