City Council delays vote on luxury car condos

A vote on a proposed luxury car condo building that would be the second of its kind in Minnesota was delayed until later this month if not longer.

The Medina City Council unanimously tabled the vote on Nov. 1 at a standing-room-only meeting after learning that the development could trigger a mandatory environmental assessment under state law, and asked the city attorney to review the requirement while staffers rewrite conditions for the site plan review.

AutoMotorPlex's proposal includes a 237,500-square-foot, 12-building complex of private garages on nearly 20 acres of farmland in the west metro suburb near Hwy. 55, east of Arrowhead Drive. The garage "condominiums" have been likened to a country club for fancy cars, with 160 to 170 units for car collectors to stash and show their prized autos.

If approved, the owner of the business said it could open next fall.

Several residents at the Nov. 1 meeting said the planned unit development would boost the tax base, draw visitors and be a family-friendly business. Others said they were opposed to the car condo's monthly events because they would bring traffic and noise and affect the rural residential feel of the area.



Council OKs bids for public parking ramp

Wayzata approved construction bids for the city's first public parking ramp, a nearly 400-stall ramp near Broadway Avenue and Mill Street that will replace a 182-stall surface lot.

On a 4-1 vote, the City Council approved a base bid of $8.5 million with Adolfson & Peterson Construction. Council Member Bridget Anderson was the lone opponent.

The ramp will be funded with bonds and tax-increment financing generated by the Promenade of Wayzata, the largest redevelopment project in the city's history.

While some residents have questioned the need for a ramp, city officials said it's needed to address a growing parking crunch in the popular Lake Minnetonka city. Downtown Wayzata has one privately owned ramp, and street parking is free.

A public hearing will be held Tuesday. The city is closing the surface lot on Wednesday, with construction starting this fall and ending by next August.



Council approves plans for power plant

The Chaska City Council voted Nov. 7 to approve concept plans for a 14,400-square-foot electric plant in the southeastern part of the city.

The plant has been controversial, with residents circulating an online petition protesting its bright lights as well as the noise and pollution they believe it will cause.

The Minnesota Municipal Power Agency plant will provide extra energy that the area can draw on during periods of peak energy use. City officials had tabled voting on the plans in September, citing concerns about its proximity to residences, the height of its smokestack and noise.

Council members visited a nearly-identical plant in Shakopee at an Oct. 24 work session to see it in person. Mayor Mark Windschitl said he was reassured by the visit; if a person didn't know what the power plant was, he said, they wouldn't guess what was happening there.

The concept plans were approved on condition that the council continue to study the plant's noise impact.

Erin Adler


Book on vintage boathouses to be discussed

A new book about vintage boathouses on Lake Minnetonka will be discussed Monday at a free event in Excelsior.

The event, held by the Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Historical Society, will begin at 7 p.m. at Excelsior Brewing Co., 421 3rd St. It will feature photographer Karen Melvin and author Melinda Nelson, who will discuss their new book "Boathouses of Lake Minnetonka."

It's part of the historical society's monthly history series "Tapping History: Pints & Reflections on Lake Minnetonka's Past."



Watershed district looks for citizen advisers

The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District is seeking applicants for its Citizens Advisory Committee, a group that advises the district's board of managers.

The watershed district, which covers 181 square miles from Minneapolis' Minnehaha Falls to Lake Minnetonka and is one of the largest financially in Minnesota, is governed by a seven-member board. They are advised by the Citizens Advisory Committee, which meets monthly to discuss clean water issues, review projects and policies and recommend actions.

Applications are due Nov. 22. For more details or to apply, go to