Q: Why does the tree in front of my property need to be removed and will the tree be replaced?
A: It is a goal of the project team to save as many healthy trees during the construction process as possible. In some cases, however, tree removals are necessary.
Trees in the boulevard area might be removed for one of the following reasons:
- Susceptible to disease or invasive species – Ash Trees
- Poor Condition – Dead, dying, leaning, etc.
- Conflict with utilities (Sewer and Water lines)
- Conflict with road construction or grading
Letters will be mailed in late winter/early spring 2023 to all homeowners that will have a tree removed in front of their property to identify which trees are to be removed and the reason why it is necessary. Preliminary tree removals are shown in the proposed improvement figures under Project Documents of the project website. Such trees will be removed in the spring of 2023. Trees that are removed will be replaced with a 2” diameter tree in the fall of 2023. Homeowners will have the opportunity to send in their preference for the species of tree to be planted in front of their property from a list provided by the City.
Please reach out to Nick Amatuccio at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-965-3926 if you have any questions or concerns about a tree on your property.
Q: Will curb & gutter be installed on the new streets within the neighborhood?
A: Yes, concrete curb & gutter will be installed on all the reconstructed streets in the project area.
- Concrete curb & gutter improves drainage along the roadway edge thereby reducing if not eliminating nuisance drainage issues. Streets in the neighborhood have varying topography, and some are relatively flat along their length. Concrete curb and gutter can be installed at relatively flat slopes, but still consistently draining in one direction. Roadways with bituminous asphalt or turf ditches cannot effectively be installed at flat slopes without also succumbing to nuisance drainage issues such as shallow ponding along the roadway edges and adjacent ditches.
- Concrete curb & gutter improves drainage along the roadway edge thereby keeping water out of the roadway pavement subgrade. Minnesota roadways are routinely subject to freeze/thaw cycles that greatly impact their lifespan. Eliminating water from the aggregate layers within the street pavement reduces the impact of the freeze/thaw cycle on pavement performance. The presence of concrete curb and gutter directs water more efficiently toward drainage inlets, not allowing that water time to soak into the pavement subgrade where it may become temporarily trapped and add to freeze/thaw impact, reduces maintenance costs, and improves efficiency in snow removal operations.
- Concrete curb & gutter provides a solid edge for the bituminous asphalt pavement. One of the keys to installing a long-lasting bituminous pavement is having it effectively compacted during installation. For this reason, heavy equipment such as a large steel drum roller is used on the pavement after it is placed. Where curb does not exist and the pavement is left unconfined at one edge, adequate density/compaction cannot be easily achieved. The steel drum roller can essentially squish the pavement outward at the unconfined edge, not achieving required densities and thereby decreasing the integrity and lifespan of that pavement. Having a concrete curbing along the roadway edge allows the bituminous pavement to be confined within the roadway and compressed against the curbing as it is rolled, improving pavement integrity through increased density/compaction.
It is a goal of the City to cost effectively manage its infrastructure by maximizing its lifespan at reasonable cost. For this reason and the reasons listed above, it is City policy to install curb & gutter on all reconstructed roadways.
Q: Will sidewalks be replaced throughout the neighborhood?
A: Yes, sidewalks within the neighborhood are proposed to be replaced as part of this project. In addition to replacing the existing sidewalks on 12th Ave N, 14th Ave N, 15th Ave N, and 16th Ave N, new sidewalk connections are also proposed in the following areas:
- East side of 14th Ave N from 1st St N to 2nd St N (along Maetzold Field)
- North side of 1st St N from 14th Ave N to the alley between 14th Ave N and 15th Ave N
- South side of 1st St N from 16th Ave N to the alley between 16th Ave N and 15th Ave N
Q: Are there any special assessments for the project? If so, how much are the assessments on my property and how are they determined?
A: Yes, preliminary estimated assessment amounts for each property can be found in the preliminary engineering report and under Project Documents on the project website once they are available in October.
This project will apply special assessments to the individual properties within the project area to fund a portion of the project per City policy. The following improvements are funded separately and do not impact assessments:
- City water mains (funded by the City’s water enterprise fund)
- City sanitary sewer mains (funded by the City’s sanitary sewer enterprise fund)
- City storm sewer mains (funded by the City’s storm sewer enterprise fund)
- Concrete curb & gutter (funded by the City’s storm sewer enterprise fund)
- Public Sidewalks (funded by the City’s general fund)
- Other improvements completed above/beyond the assessment cap and/or assessment policy
Total assessment amounts for each property are calculated as the sum of each property’s street assessment amount and utility service assessment amount.
The street assessment for each property is generally applied at a cost per foot of property frontage. For single family residential properties, the street assessment amount is calculated as the LESSER of 70% of the street improvement cost or the cap rate of $103.05/front foot of property length for residential properties in this project. In almost all cases, the cap rate of $103.05/front foot is used for calculating the street assessment amount. The length of property frontage is also capped at 125 feet for residential properties.
Street assessments for commercial, multi-family residential, and institutional properties are calculated similar to this method, but without the use of capped footages or rates. The City also works with a third party to obtain special benefit appraisals for commercial, multi-family residential, and institutional properties and then the lower of the benefit appraisal or City policy is used for the special assessment to each property. Special conditions encountered at cul-de-sacs / dead ends for single family properties and a calculation of front footage is made to uniformly apply the cap rate to such properties which have similar benefit as properties outside of cul-de-sacs / dead ends. Questions regarding calculation of assessment amounts for special properties referenced in this paragraph should be directed to Nick Amatuccio at email@example.com or 612-965-3926.
The utility service assessments are calculated as 50% of the as-bid, actual costs for replacement of the individual water and sewer service lines serving each property. These amounts will be determined in February/March 2023 once contractor bids are received.
Q: How do you pay the special assessment on your property?
A: There are several options to pay your assessment:
- Prepay in full or part without interest until July 28*, 2023
- Prepay in full or part with interest until Nov. 17*, 2023
- Do nothing — Remaining balance is placed on the Hennepin County tax rolls after Nov. 17* (Most common option chosen by residents)
- Paid annually over 15 years with the annual tax payment
- Assessment amount will show up as a separate line item on the bi-annual tax statement
- Will impact escrow payments included in mortgage
- Deferred Assessments – Pay at a later date (least common option). To qualify, the following conditions must be met:
- Homestead property,
- Property owner(s) income limit of approximately $40,000 – amount set annually and should be confirmed with the City
- Owner must be 65 years of age or more, on active military duty, or permanently disabled.
Deferring assessments allows a property owner to pay the assessment at a later date, however the interest is accrued during the deferment. If an assessment is deferred, it must be paid at the sale of the property, death of the owner, or once any of the requirements above are no longer met. Most commonly, deferred assessments and accrued interest end up being paid in full at the sale of property.
*The dates for payment and the interest rate have yet to be determined and won’t be known until spring 2023, prior to construction.
Q: Will my sewer and water service be replaced as part of the project?
A: The part of the sewer and water service that is located within the public right-of-way at your property will be replaced as part of the project. The right-of-way location varies from property to property, but often is found about 10’ – 15’ outside the roadway edge or just behind the public sidewalk.
The owner of each private property owns the entire length of their water and sewer service from the main in the street to the house, including the portion within the public right-of-way and under the street. In the event of a sewer or water service break, often the costliest location for a break is located under the street pavement as the cost of replacing the roadway can be substantial. Replacement of this portion of the service with the project therefore avoids those substantial costs from being incurred for some time.
If a property’s sewer service is made of orangeburg material or water service is made of lead material, State plumbing code also requires replacement of your service within one year of discovery. For these situations, the project team will provide an estimate to replace the remainder of the water or sewer service by the City’s Contractor. In this case, the property owner can choose to have this work completed by the City’s contractor and have the additional cost added to the original assessment. Owners can instead choose to use their own private plumber to have the work completed.
Regardless of material, property owners can also choose to replace the remainder of their service using a private contractor. Replacement of sewer and water service lines will at some point become necessary for each property outside the City’s reconstruction limits. A convenient time to do this is in conjunction with the City project, while the street and parts of yards are already disturbed, but before the City project is complete. The project team can help coordinate timing of this with property owners during construction if notified of a property owner’s intent to have this work completed.
Finally, the project team will also work with property owners that are interested in trenchless replacement of their services, for special situations such as the existing service line traversing underneath a healthy, quality tree. The trenchless replacement under the tree will need to be completed through a private contractor, but the project team can coordinate the work with the City’s contractor. This may also be of interest to residents who currently have services that run under retaining walls, steps, or driveways.
Q: Will landscaping and plantings near the street in the right-of-way be disturbed by construction?
A: Plants and landscaping located within the boulevard between the curb and sidewalk or within two feet of the edge of the sidewalk will likely be impacted by construction. Landscaping located within fifteen feet of the curb may be impacted, however it will depend on where they located with respect to planned grading or utility work.
Impacted hardscapes within the right-of-way that are critical to the function of the yard such as retaining walls, paver walkways, and fences will be salvaged and reinstalled as part of the project. Impacted decorative landscaping and plantings within the right-of-way will need to be salvaged and reinstalled by the homeowner if they are to be saved. These items can also be simply removed and disposed of by the project if the homeowner does not wish to salvage them. The project team will avoid impacts to landscaping when feasible but disturbances to landscaping within the right-of-way can often be difficult to avoid, especially if it’s near the street, driveway, or sewer/water service.
Landscaping impacts will be identified and coordinated when the project’s final design is complete in the winter of 2022-2023. Once landscaping impacts are identified, affected properties will be mailed letters in the late winter or early spring. Property owners can then meet with project team members to discuss the extent of the impacts and next steps.
Q: Will there be additional stop signs installed as part of the project?
A: There are no proposed changes in traffic control as part of the project. All existing regulatory signs (including stop signs), warning signs, and street name signs will be replaced with new signs in generally the same location.
Q: When will construction start on my street?
A: Construction will be completed over the construction season (April – November) in 2023. Within the construction season, individual streets will be further phased such that all identified streets will not be under construction for the entire construction season. Each street will undergo construction for about 12 weeks (5 weeks for utility construction, 4 weeks for street construction, and 3 weeks for yard restoration). Final cleanup and paving on all streets will follow towards the end of each construction season. This phased construction process will also help to keep access for residents to travel in and out of the neighborhood.
Q: Will I have access to my property during construction?
A: Access will be restored to each property most evenings and weekends during construction. Working hours are typically 7 AM to 7 PM Monday – Friday and 8 AM to 6 PM Saturday. Work is typically not undertaken on Sundays or Holidays, except under unique situations. At the end of each working day, excavations will be backfilled, and access will be temporarily restored to driveways.
During working hours, access may not be available if an excavation is occurring in front of or near your property. Workers will knock on doors or leave notices to ensure residents can get out of their driveways if needed prior to blocking off access.
The most significant direct property access restriction that residents will experience is when the concrete is poured in front of driveway accesses. Residents will need to be out of their driveway for about 7 days to let the concrete cure (harden). Notices will be delivered at least 24 hours in advance of this work with more detailed information.