Drawing plans for 27th and University Avenues NE

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A City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County plan to build a county household hazardous waste recycling center and replace the city’s South Side Transfer Station operations, all at 27th and University avenues NE, might be in for some changes.

Minneapolis City Engineer and Public Works Director Steve Kotke said the County is “going to engage the architect to produce some documents and drawings, and then [we’ll] go out to the community.”

That will probably happen in June, he said, which gives city people “some opportunity to make modifications to the proposal.”

“We’re taking a fresh look at our program,” he said. City officials plan to “work with the neighborhood and community…make sure we truly understand their concerns.”

After hearing from the community, he said, they will have an “opportunity for improvements on the site,” with the promise that “we’re not doing anything until we get back out” to the community.

At that point, he said, “we’ll revisit all the program elements and get more feedback.”

In June, he said, he expects to “have some graphics, some drawings, so people know what it’s going to look like.”

“Both the city and the county are very much interested in getting a recycling center in Minneapolis,” he said. “We do want to listen to the neighborhoods and communities.”

Craig Kruse, who lives next to the site and is active in the group Don’t Dump on Northeast (DDONE), said the group meets about once a month now and is “waiting to see what happens.

“We decided not to go any further with our lawsuit,” he said.

“One thing that’s good…they’re not going to start construction this spring.”

Earlier, city and county officials suggested spring 2012 as a start time for construction.

“We consider that a victory,” he said.

DDONE has challenged the city and county plans for about two years; in the neighborhoods, through neighborhood organizations, through the city’s zoning process and, late last year, with a lawsuit. The city’s Zoning Commission and the Minneapolis City Council determined that the property is properly zoned for the project, as it is designated a “recycling center,” allowable under the property’s I-2 (medium industrial) zoning. DDONE contended that the facility will actually be a waste transfer station, which requires a heavier zoning (I-3).

In Hennepin County District Court, city officials argued, and the judge agreed, that the case should not go forward because the city’s plans were not far enough along to constitute a project about which the court could make determinations.