The Burnsville City Council and Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) will move forward with surveying residents about a proposed I-35E sound wall, a decision approved by the council at a Feb. 14 work session. The project would reduce interstate noise for residents living on Plymouth Avenue between County Road 42 and Portland Avenue.

If the project proceeds, Burnsville would be responsible for 10 percent of the wall’s estimated $1 million cost. Construction wouldn’t happen for several years, according to a city memo.

MnDOT had been considering a sound wall at Hwy. 13 and Horizon Drive but abandoned the idea because it wouldn’t result in a significant noise reduction for residents.

Erin Adler

South St. Paul

New director for Neighbors Inc. announced

Charles Thompson has been named the new executive director of Neighbors Inc., a nonprofit social services provider in northern Dakota County. The agency runs a food shelf and a low-cost clothing store and offers emergency grants for housing, car repairs or medical bills, among other services.

Thompson was most recently the executive director of St. Vincent de Paul in Tacoma, Wash., and will replace longtime executive director John Kemp when he retires April 15.

Erin Adler

West St. Paul

City accepts Met Council grant to build trail

The West St. Paul City Council voted Feb. 13 to accept a $1.2 million Transportation Alternative Program grant from the Metropolitan Council.

The grant, which requires a 20 percent match from local governments, will fund the installation of an off-street trail along the south side of Marie Avenue, a sidewalk on the alternate side of Marie Avenue and a trail on segments of Oakdale Avenue’s east side.

Dakota County will chip in funds toward construction, engineering and right of way/easement acquisition because Oakdale Avenue is a county road. The county’s overall contribution is estimated at $500,000.

The city will put forth an estimated $641,000, with construction planned for 2019. The finance department is recommending using Legacy Grant Amendment money for engineering costs and will budget for the balance in 2018 and 2019.

This is the city’s third try at obtaining federal money for the targeted projects, which are listed in the city’s bike and pedestrian plan.

Erin Adler

Scott County

County gets ‘StormReady’ designation

Scott County on Monday became the third metro area to be recognized by the National Weather Service as a StormReady community.

Emergency Management Director Capt. Scott Haas accepted the award, which acknowledges the county for its emergency preparedness relating to severe weather. To be recognized, officials had to demonstrate how they continuously monitor weather and establish several ways of notifying the public of impending storms.

Liz Sawyer

South St. Paul

Lawsuit says city’s odor ordinance stinks

Sanimax, an animal rendering and waste oil processor in South St. Paul, filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday alleging that the city’s bad odor ordinance imposes an undue burden on the corporation.

The ordinance, passed in 2014, was meant to corral foul odors that may be hazardous to public health. Officials identify potential offenders through a public complaint system and a field device called a Nasal Ranger, according to a civil complaint filed Monday.

Sanimax, located in the heart of an area formerly dominated by stockyards, moved a facility to South St. Paul in the 1960s. The company contends that the odor ordinance violates the company’s constitutional right to due process by relying on “arbitrary” and “irrational” methods of targeting odor violations.

In June 2015, Sanimax began working with the city to mitigate odors. The company installed an ozone generation system and upgraded its odor abatement equipment. The changes reduced the number of odor complaints to six in 2015 from 38 two years prior, according to court documents.

Yet, despite the improvements, Sanimax was labeled a “significant odor generator” by the city, which then imposed further restrictions. The company alleges that the city failed to provide information about who made the complaints and when they were filed.

Sanimax asks the court to rule the ordinance unconstitutionally vague.

Liz Sawyer