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City of Columbia Heights Comprehensive Plan

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					COMPREHENSIVE PLAN
  City of Columbia Heights




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                                              TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                                                                                      Page

1.   COMMUNITY BACKGROUND .........................................................................                                    1
     Introduction ..............................................................................................................       1
     Housing .....................................................................................................................     3
     Physical and Environmental Features ......................................................................                        3
     Schools ......................................................................................................................    3
     Local Transportation ................................................................................................             4
     Municipal Utilities ....................................................................................................          4
     Population, Households and Employment Projections ............................................                                    5
            Population .....................................................................................................           5
            Households ...................................................................................................             6
            Employment .................................................................................................               7
     Planning Framework ................................................................................................               8
            Community Image Goals ..............................................................................                       8
            Land Use Goals ............................................................................................                8
            Housing Goals ..............................................................................................               9
            Surface Water Management Goals ...............................................................                             9
            Historic Preservation Goal ...........................................................................                     9
            Energy Conservation Goals ..........................................................................                       9
            Transportation Goals ....................................................................................                  9
            Aviation and Airports Goal ...........................................................................                    10
            Water Supply and Wastewater Goals ...........................................................                             10
            Park and Open Space Goals .........................................................................                       10
            Economic Development Goals .....................................................................                          10
            Intergovernmental Cooperation Goal ...........................................................                            10

2.   LAND USE PLAN ..................................................................................................                 11
     Introduction ..............................................................................................................      11
     Existing Land Use ....................................................................................................           11
     Community Image ....................................................................................................             13
     Future Land Use .......................................................................................................          14
     Land Use Goals, Policies, and Implementation Strategies .......................................                                  16
     Future Land Use Designations ................................................................................                    19
             Low Density Residential ..............................................................................                   19
             Medium and High Density Residential ........................................................                             19
             Commercial/Retail Development .................................................................                          20
             Industrial Development ................................................................................                  20
             Mixed-Use Development ..............................................................................                     20
                     Transit Oriented Mixed-Use District ................................................                             22
                     Community Center Mixed-Use District ...........................................                                  22
                     Transitional Mixed-Use District .......................................................                          22
                     Design Alternatives ..........................................................................                   23
                     Town Square .....................................................................................                25
                     Urban Green .....................................................................................                25
                                                                  2
                                    TABLE OF CONTENTS (continued)

3.   HOUSING PLAN                                                                                                       Page
     Introduction ..............................................................................................................   28
     Life Cycle Housing Study ........................................................................................             28
            Housing Supply ............................................................................................            28
            Population Forecasts .....................................................................................             30
            Housing Needs ..............................................................................................           31
     Housing Analysis and Inventory Summary ..............................................................                         34
            Median Income .............................................................................................            34
            Income Levels ..............................................................................................           35
            Poverty ..........................................................................................................     36
            Labor Force ..................................................................................................         37
            Population and Household Composition ......................................................                            38
            Housing Value ..............................................................................................           39
            Age of Housing .............................................................................................           41
            Residential Building Permits ........................................................................                  42
            Life Cycle Housing .......................................................................................             43
            Housing Quality Inventory ...........................................................................                  43
            Rental Inspection Process .............................................................................                47
     Housing Goals, Policies, and Implementation Strategies .........................................                              48

4.   SURFACE WATER MANAGEMENT PLAN ....................................................                                            53
     Introduction ..............................................................................................................   53
             Climate .........................................................................................................     53
             Topography ...................................................................................................        53
             Geology ........................................................................................................      53
             Land Use .......................................................................................................      54
     Six Cities Watershed Management Organization Plan ............................................                                54
     Rice Creek Watershed District Plan .........................................................................                  54
     Columbia Heights Water Resource Management Plan ............................................                                  55
             Watersheds ...................................................................................................        55
             Surface Water Resources ..............................................................................                55
             Storm Water Storage and Conveyance Facilities .........................................                               57
             Water Quantity Analysis ..............................................................................                57
             Water Quantity Results and Problem Areas .................................................                            63
             Recommended Water Quantity Improvements ............................................                                  70
             Water Quality Analysis ................................................................................               73
             Water Quality Results and Problem Areas ...................................................                           74
     Surface Water Management Goals, Policies, and Implementation Strategies .........                                             76

5.   HISTORIC PRESERVATION PLAN ................................................................. 84
     Introduction .............................................................................................................. 84
     Historic Preservation Goals, Policies and Implementation Strategies ..................... 85

6.   ENERGY CONSERVATION PLAN ................................................................... 86
     Introduction ............................................................................................................... 86
     Energy Conservation Goal, Policies and Implementation Strategies ....................... 86
                                                                 3
                                     TABLE OF CONTENTS (continued)
                                                                                                                                  Page

7.    TRANSPORTATION PLAN ................................................................................ 88
      Introduction .............................................................................................................. 88
      Existing Transportation Systems .............................................................................. 89
             Highways and Streets ................................................................................... 89
             Transit ........................................................................................................... 89
             Bicycle and Pedestrian System ..................................................................... 91
      Future Transportation System .................................................................................. 93
             Highway and Streets ..................................................................................... 93
                      Functional Class ............................................................................... 93
                      Roadway and Intersection Improvements ........................................ 95
                      Jurisdictional Transfers .................................................................... 96
             Transit ........................................................................................................... 97
             Bicycle and Pedestrian System ..................................................................... 100
      Transportation Goals, Policies and Implementation Strategies................................. 100
      Funding Sources ........................................................................................................ 103

8.    AVIATION AND AIRPORTS PLAN .................................................................. 105
      Introduction ............................................................................................................... 105
      Aviation and Airports Goal, Policies and Implementation Strategies ...................... 105

9.    WATER SUPPLY AND WASTEWATER PLAN .............................................. 106
      Introduction .............................................................................................................. 106
      Water Supply System ............................................................................................... 106
             Water Supply ................................................................................................ 106
             Water Distribution ........................................................................................ 106
             Private Wells ................................................................................................. 107
      Wastewater (Sanitary Sewer) System ...................................................................... 107
             Sewer Main ................................................................................................... 107
             Lift Stations .................................................................................................. 108
             Private Wastewater Treatment Systems ....................................................... 110
      Water Supply and Wastewater Goals, Policies, and Implementation Strategies ..... 110
      Funding Sources ....................................................................................................... 112

10.   PARK AND OPEN SPACE PLAN ....................................................................... 113
      Introduction .............................................................................................................. 113
      Historical Context ..................................................................................................... 113
      Community Characteristics and Demographics ....................................................... 114
      Inventory and Regional Significance ....................................................................... 114
      Classification and Standards ..................................................................................... 117
              Mini-Parks .................................................................................................... 117
              Neighborhood Parks ..................................................................................... 117
              Community Parks ......................................................................................... 117
              Regional Parks .............................................................................................. 117
              Historic Parks ............................................................................................... 118


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                                     TABLE OF CONTENTS (continued)
                                                                                                                                  Page

             Special Use ................................................................................................... 118
             School Parks ................................................................................................. 118
             Other: Churches and Colleges ..................................................................... 118
      National Facility Standards ...................................................................................... 118
      Needs Assessment Examination ............................................................................... 119
      Recreation Demand Trends ...................................................................................... 120
      Conclusions and Major Findings .............................................................................. 122
             Demographics ............................................................................................... 122
             Land Developments ...................................................................................... 122
             Recreation and Facility Trends ..................................................................... 122
             Trails and Pathways ...................................................................................... 122
             Athletic Fields .............................................................................................. 123
             Tennis Courts ................................................................................................ 123
             Picnic Facilities ............................................................................................ 123
             Wading Pools ................................................................................................ 123
             Other Outdoor Facilities ............................................................................... 123
             Indoor Facilities ............................................................................................ 123
             Trail System .................................................................................................. 123
      Park and Open Space Goals, Policies, and Implementation Strategies .................... 124
      Funding Sources ....................................................................................................... 128

11.   ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN ............................................................... 130
      Introduction .............................................................................................................. 130
      Strategic Planning Process ....................................................................................... 130
      Economic Development Authority ........................................................................... 131
      Business Base ........................................................................................................... 131
      Funding Sources and Programs ................................................................................ 132
              Tax Increment Financing .............................................................................. 132
              Business Revolving Loan Fund .................................................................... 132
              First Time Homebuyers Program ................................................................. 132
              Anoka County Community Block Program ................................................. 133
              Minnesota Housing Finance Agency Loan Program .................................... 133
              Transit-Related Development Tax Incentives .............................................. 133
      Economic Development Goals, Policies and Implementation Strategies ................ 133

12.   INTERGOVERNMENTAL COOPERATION PLAN ....................................... 137
      Introduction ............................................................................................................... 137
      Intergovernmental Cooperation Goal, Policies and Implementation Strategies ...... 137

13.   IMPLEMENTATION PLAN ................................................................................ 139
      Introduction .............................................................................................................. 139
      Office Controls ......................................................................................................... 139
             Zoning Ordinance .......................................................................................... 139
             Subdivision Ordinance ................................................................................. 141
             Official Mapping .......................................................................................... 141
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                               TABLE OF CONTENTS (continued)

                                                                                                                            Page

Housing Action Plan ................................................................................................. 141
Project-Specific Implementation Strategies ............................................................. 143
Capital Improvement Program ................................................................................. 144
Fiscal Tools ............................................................................................................... 145
        Property Taxes .............................................................................................. 145
        Special Assessments ..................................................................................... 145
        User Fees ...................................................................................................... 145
        Tax Increme nt Financing .............................................................................. 145
Action Plan ............................................................................................................... 145
Appendix A (Housing Goals Agreement)
Appendix B (Consistency Information; Six Cities Watershed, Rice Creek Watershed)
Appendix C (Capital Improvements Program 2000-2004)




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                                              LIST OF TABLES



                                                                                                                      Page

Table 1-1    –   Population, Household and Employment Projections ...............................                       5
Table 1-2    –   Population by Race and Hispanic Origin, 1980 to 1990 ..........................                        6
Table 1-3    –   Households and Families, 1980 to 1990 ....................................................             6
Table 1-4    –   Employment by Sector, 1990 (Columbia Heights and Hilltop) ................                             7
Table 2-1    –   Existing Land Use (In Acres) .................................................................... 11
Table 2-2    –   Future Land Use (In Acres) ....................................................................... 14
Table 3-1    –   Housing Inventory by Housing Type, 1990 ..............................................               29
Table 3-2    –   Affordable Housing Supply, 1990 .............................................................        30
Table 3-3    –   Population by Age Group, 1980-2020 .......................................................           31
Table 3-4    –   Estimated Housing Needs by Population Group, 2020 .............................                      32
Table 3-5    –   Estimated Housing Needs by Housing Type, 2020 ...................................                    33
Table 3-6    –   2020 Housing Needs, as Compared to 1990 Housing Supply ...................                           33
Table 3-7    –   Median Annual Income, 1990 ...................................................................       34
Table 3-8    –   Household Annual Income Level Percentages, 1990 ................................                     35
Table 3-9    –   Percent Below Poverty Level, 1990 ..........................................................         36
Table 3-10   –   Labor Force Conditions, 1990 ...................................................................     37
Table 3-11   –   Median Owner-Occupied Housing Values, 1990 ......................................                    39
Table 3-12   –   Owner-Occupied Housing Values,1990 ....................................................              40
Table 3-13   –   Age of Owner-Occupied Housing, 1990 ...................................................              41
Table 3-14   –   Residential Building Permits, 1990-1994 ..................................................           42
Table 3-15   –   Windshield Survey Results by Section, 1996 ............................................              44
Table 3-16   –   Age and Type of Dwelling Units, 1990 .....................................................           46
Table 4-1    –   Wetlands Inventory Summary.................................................................... 58
Table 4-2    –   Hydrological Analysis Summary ............................................................. 61
Table 4-3    –   Comments of Hydrological/Hydraulic Data .............................................. 62
Table 7-1    –   Demographic Assumptions by TAZ .......................................................... 88
Table 7-2    –   Transit Service Frequency ......................................................................... 91
Table 7-3    –   Intersection Operations .............................................................................. 96
Table 9-1    –   Population and Wastewater Flow Data, 2000-2020 .................................. 108
Table 10-1 –     Existing Park Facilities Inventory ............................................................. 116
Table 10-2 –     National Standards in Relation to Existing Facilities ................................. 119




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                                           LIST OF FIGURES


                                                                                                                          Page

Figure 1-1   –   Location of Columbia Heights ...............................................................              2

Figure 2-1   –   Existing Land Use ..................................................................................     12
Figure 2-2   –   Future Land Use .....................................................................................    15
Figure 2-3   –   Existing Commercial Areas ....................................................................           21
Figure 2-4   –   Livable Community Redevelopment Area ..............................................                      24
Figure 2-5   –   Town Square Redevelopment Concept ..................................................                     26
Figure 2-6   –   Urban Green Redeve lopment Concept ...................................................                   27

Figure 3-1   –   Housing Rental/Ownership Percentages, 1990 ...................................... 29
Figure 3-2       Housing Survey Districts ........................................................................ 45

Figure 4-1   –   Major and Minor Subwatersheds ............................................................ 56
Figure 4-2   –   Wetland Inventory Map .......................................................................... 59
Figure 4-3   –   Storm Water Storage and Conve yance Facilities ................................... 60

Figure 7-1   –   Traffic Volumes ......................................................................................   90
Figure 7-2   –   Existing Transit Routes ..........................................................................       92
Figure 7-3   –   Functional Classification ........................................................................       94
Figure 7-4   –   Proposed Transit Hub .............................................................................       98
Figure 7-5   –   Proposed Transit Routes with Transit Hub ............................................                    99

Figure 9-1   –   Sanitary Sewer System ........................................................................... 109

Figure 10-1 –    Existing Park Locations .......................................................................... 115




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1.     COMMUNITY BACKGROUND

INTRODUCTION

The City of Columbia Heights is located directly north of Minneapolis in southern Anoka
County (Figure 1-1). The area was first homesteaded in 1863 by John and Margaret Sullivan.
By the 1870s the area had a brick factory and stone quarry, although it remained primarily an
agricultural area. When railroad tracks were laid from the Iron Range in Northern Minnesota
and steel roller mills were built in the area in the early 1890s, developers speculated that
Columbia Heights would become the “Pittsburgh of the West.” The steel industry was short-
lived, with the mill burning down in 1898. Although other industries came to the area,
Columbia Heights was to develop primarily as a streetcar commuter community.

Significant growth and development in the area can be attributed to Thomas Lowry, who platted
95 acres of land for residential development in 1893. Throughout this early period, Lowry
promoted the community as a streetcar suburb of Minneapolis to be served by his Central
Avenue Electric Car Line and Electric Street Railroad. By 1895, Lowry was soliciting retailers
to the area to create a commercial area. Columbia Heights formally separated from Fridley
Township and incorporated as a Village on March 4, 1898. The name of the new community
was decided by a contest. The first City Charter was adopted in July 1921 and the Council-
Manager form of government was established at that time.

Columbia Heights grew slowly through the 1930s and 1940s. During the post-World War II
growth spurt of the 1950s, the population more than doubled and additional land was annexed to
accommodate the growth. The population of Columbia Heights continued to grow steadily
during the 1960s, reaching a population of 23,999 by 1970. Like many first-ring suburbs, this
growth trend reversed and Columbia Heights experienced population declines in the 1970s and
1980s. The population of Anoka County increased by 57 percent between 1970 and
1990; however, during this same time period, the population of Columbia Heights decreased by
21 percent. This geographic shift in population from the central cities and inner-ring suburbs to
outer-ring suburbs has been demonstrated across the country and is expected to be the dominant
trend into the near future. The 1998 estimated population of Columbia Heights was 18,699 and
the estimated number of households was 7,806.

Three transit lines and direct access to the regional highway system provide good mobility for
both people and goods and establish Columbia Heights as an important link between the City of
Minneapolis and greater Anoka County. While the majority of the community is made up of
single family housing, an increasing number of affordable and market rate rental housing units
in multiple- family structures are increasing the diversity of housing opportunities. Commercial
activity is concentrated along Central and University Avenues, with Central Avenue
representing the City’s most active commercial area.




                                               9
Figure 1-1 – Location of Columbia Heights




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The current image of Columbia Heights is strongly influenced by its proximity to Minneapolis.
Accessibility, convenient and adequate public services, good schools and diversified housing all
contribute positively to the image of Columbia Heights. An aging housing stock, migration of
younger families to the outer suburbs and the need for redevelopment of residential, commercial
and industrial areas negatively affect the image of Columbia Heights. Through the development
and implementation of this Comprehensive Plan, Columbia Heights will establish a proactive
strategy to maintain and enhance the positive elements of the City while working to strengthen
other aspects of the community. This requires an aggressive redevelopment strategy, further
diversification of housing opportunities and the continued encouragement of public involvement
in initiatives to move the City forward.


HOUSING

The current housing stock within Columbia Heights is dominated by single-family residential
structures. Of the 7,975 total housing units in 1990, approximately 64 percent (5,133 units)
were single- family detached structures. The median value for owner-occupied units in
1990 was $73,600 and the median contract rent was $465. Less than three percent of all
residential units were vacant in 1990. Approximately 20 percent of the owner-occupied housing
stock was built before 1940 and 65 percent of the stock was built before 1960. In comparison to
Columbia Heights, the housing stock in the majority of the surrounding communities is much
newer. The age of the current housing stock raises some concern with regard to maintenance
and lifecycle functionality, although residential structures are in good condition overall. The
City will strive to maintain the strength of its housing stock by increasing the supply and
diversity of residential opportunities, including life-cycle housing, move-up housing and safe
and affordable rental housing.


PHYSICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL FEATURES

The City of Columbia Heights is a relatively compact community of 3.5 square miles
(2,256 acres). Due to the level of urban scale development within the City, environmental
features are limited to isolated wetlands, surface waters and adjoining vegetation. Five
significant surface water bodies are present within the City: Sullivan Lake, Hart Lake, Labelle
Pond, Highland Lake and Silver Lake. While each of the five lakes is surrounded by residential
development, all have public access, parkland and/or City-owned property along a portion of
their shoreline. Existing parkland within the City is closely tied to environmental features, and
the community maintains a significant system of parks and public spaces to accommodate the
needs of its citizens.


SCHOOLS

Columbia Heights is located within Independent School District 13, which includes Columbia
Heights, Hilltop and the southern portion of Fridley. The district is about six miles square and
contains three elementary schools (K-5), a middle school (6-8) and a high school (9-12). These
schools include Highland Elementary School (1500 49th Avenue NE), North Park
Elementary School (5575 Fillmore Street NE), Valley View Elementary School (800 –
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49th Avenue NE), Central Middle School (900 – 49th Avenue NE), and Columbia Heights High
School (1400 – 49th Avenue NE). The administration offices are located in the high school,
and approximately 350 persons are employed by the School District. Enrollment has remained
relatively constant for the past few years, with an enrollment of 2,975 students for the
1999-2000 academic year.

There is one K-8 private school located within the community (Immaculate Conception School,
4053 Quincy Street NE). NEI College of Technology (825 – 41st Street NE), a private non-
profit technical school, is also located within the community.


LOCAL TRANSPORTATION

Two major State Highways (TH 65 - Central Avenue and TH 47 - University Avenue) run north
and south through the community. During rush hour and other peak period travel times both
University and Central Avenues have considerable congestion. In addition to the 4.74 miles of
State highways, the City maintains one mile of County roadway, 10.41 miles of Municipal State
Aid (MSA) streets, 68.3 miles of municipal streets and 18.56 miles of alleyways throughout the
community. The local street pattern breaks from the traditional grid pattern in the northeastern
portion of the City where a more suburban street pattern of winding streets and cul-de-sacs has
been introduced. The unique alignment of Reservoir Boulevard, resulting from the underlying
streetcar lines, also changes the character of the local transportation system within the southeast
and central portions of the City. Columbia Heights maintains easy access to Minneapolis and
the surrounding metropolitan area with three transit lines providing express and general service
to downtown as well as access to I-694.


MUNICIPAL UTILITIES

The City of Columbia Heights operates its own municipal water system. All of its treated water
is purchased by contract from the City of Minneapolis, whose present source of supply is the
Mississippi River. Water quality meets all requirements of the federal Clean Water Act and is
considered very soft. A major water improvement project in 1970 stabilized water pressure and
provided excellent fire flow. In 1984, new water system controls were installed which provided
for the continual monitoring of all system facilities and equipment.

The City also operates and maintains sanitary and storm sewer collection systems. Storm water
is collected throughout the community and eventually discharges to the Mississippi River.
Sanitary sewer is collected through the City- maintained system and treated by the Metropolitan
system.




                                                12
POPULATION, HOUSEHOLDS AND EMPLOYMENT PROJECTIONS

The Twin Cities Metropolitan Area is expected to add 320,000 households by the year
2020, which represent a 25 percent growth rate over the 25-year period from 1995 to
2020. According to the Metropolitan Council, the population of Columbia Heights is projected
to grow slightly over the next 20 years, reaching a population 19,500 with 8,200 households by
2020. Employment is also projected to increase to 6,300 jobs by 2020. The Metropolitan
Council’s projections for population, households, and employment through 2020 are located in
Table 1-1.


TABLE 1-1
POPULATION, HOUSEHOLD AND EMPLOYMENT PROJECTIONS

                                 1990        1998          2000           2010           2020
                               (census)   (estimate)   (projection)   (projection)   (projection)
 Population                     18,910      18,699        18,900         18,900         19,500
 Households                      7,766       7,806         7,850          8,000          8,200
 Employment                      4,536       5,640         6,000          6,100          6,300
Source: Metropolitan Council

Since Columbia Heights is a fully developed community, this projected increase in population
and households will need to be accommodated through redevelopment efforts and the possible
re-subdivision of oversized residential lots.   Further discussion of housing and the
accommodation of future population will be discussed in greater detail in the land use and
housing sections of this document.


POPULATION

Recent Census data indicates that older residents are returning to inner ring suburbs in order to
gain access to convenient public services, affordable housing and cultural amenities that are
only available in an urban environment. In Columbia Heights, the number of individuals over
the age of 65 increased 46 percent between 1980 and 1990. If this trend continues or increases,
inner-ring communities like Columbia Heights may find greater demand for residential living
arrangements appropriate for empty nesters and older households with few children.

While the population of Columbia Heights is predominantly white, the community has
experienced increases in the number of residents from non-white groups over the last ten years.
Table 1-2 demonstrates the racial composition and change of Columbia Heights' residents from
1980 to 1990.




                                                13
TABLE 1-2
POPULATION BY RACE AND HISPANIC ORIGIN, 1980 TO 1990

                                        Percent of                    Percent of      Percent
                                           Total                         Total        Growth
                            1980        Population        1990        Population    1980 -1990
 White                     19,588         97.8%          18,086         95.6%           -8%
 African American             30           .15%            227           1.2%          657%
 American Indian             116           .58%            210           1.1%           81%
 Asian                       212           1.1%            270           1.4%           27%
 Other Races                  83           .44%            162           .62%           95%
 Hispanic Origin             141            .7%            273           1.4%           93%
Source: 1990 U.S. Census


HOUSEHOLDS
In the last two decades, across the country and within the Twin Cities metropolitan area,
household composition has been changing. A comparison of 1980 and 1990 Census data on
households in Columbia Heights is shown in Table 1-3.

TABLE 1-3
HOUSEHOLDS AND FAMILIES, 1980 TO 1990

                                                          1980          1990          Change
 Families                                                5,433          5,215           -4%
 Family Size                                              3.24           2.94           -9%
 Households                                              7,343          7,766            6%
 Household size                                           2.71           2.42          -11%
 Households, 1 person.                                   1,606          2,131           33%
 Households, Married Couples – No Children               2,395          2,492            4%
 Households, Married Couples - With Children             2,293          1,577          -31%
 Single Male Head, with Own Children                       65            148           128%
 Single Female Head, with Own Children                    363            892           146%
Source: 1990 U.S. Census


While the numbers of families decreased by four percent, the number of households increased
by six percent. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, this change is due to the increased
growth in non-traditional households, single-parent and single- individual households and empty
nesters. This increase in non-tradition households is apparent in Columbia Heights. From
1980 to 1990, the number of one-person households, married couple households with no
children, and single parent households have increased, while the number of married couple
households with children have decreased. The number of families and the size of families also
decreased in this ten- year period.

These trends raise two issues for Columbia Heights that need to be addressed by the City. First,
the aging population will increase the demand for housing that is conveniently located, well
                                             14
served by public services, has minimum maintenance requirements and is affordable. Secondly,
the City must strive to attract and maintain traditional families by providing move-up housing
opportunities and by strengthening the image and availability of single- family detached housing
throughout the community.


EMPLOYMENT

The 1990 Census indicates that the majority of jobs in Columbia Heights are within the retail
trade and services industries (Table 1-4). The Metropolitan Council’s employment projections,
which project a 12 percent increase in employment in Columbia Heights by 2020, are based on
the assumptions of a slower overall growth rate and a greater diversification of the metropolitan
area job market. These factors will lead to a greater concentration of employment opportunities
in low-paying industries and outlying areas. Other key assumptions in employment trends that
could affect Columbia Heights include the following:

•           ew
    Fewer n workers will enter the labor force each year, causing labor shortages in some
    occupations.

•   The work force will become more diverse, with fewer white males and more women and
    minorities.

•   Employment will grow fastest in low-paying service and retail trade industries.

•   Growth occupations will include the high-paying professional/technical and the low-paying
    service categories.

•   Household incomes will continue to increase; however, the income differential between
    higher and lower- income families will also increase.


TABLE 1-4
EMPLOYMENT BY SECTOR, 1990 (COLUMBIA HEIGHTS AND HILLTOP)

 Sector                                                 Jobs                     Percent
 Manufacturing                                           631                       12%
 Construction                                            391                        7%
 Transportation & Utilities                               32                        1%
 Wholesale Trade                                         193                        4%
 Retail Trade                                           1,592                      30%
 Finance, Insurance & Real Estate                        217                        4%
 Services                                               1,500                      29%
 Government                                              685                       13%
 Total                                                  5,241                     100%
Source: Metropolitan Council




                                               15
PLANNING FRAMEWORK

The Metropolitan Council is the regional planning agency for the seven-county metropolitan
region. In order to coordinate development within the region through the year 2040, the
Council has developed the Regional Blueprint. This Blueprint includes goals, policies and
action steps that are to be used as a framework for communities in the development of
individual comprehensive plans. All communities within the region, including the City of
Columbia Heights, are required to develop comprehensive plans that conform to the regional
goals found in the Regional Blueprint.

The Comprehensive Plan for Columbia Heights sets a baseline for development and
redevelopment, and serves as a guide document for decision- makers for the next 20 years. The
Plan includes Goals, Policies and Implementation Strategies for each plan element.

•    The Goal statements are designed to focus on the major issues that have been raised during
     the work with the Planning Advisory Committee and public participation components of the
     planning process. Goal statements are broadly worded, highlighting the primary value or
     establishing the vision.

•    Policy statements help to define the goals in “real world” terms and are typically stated as
     official positions on particular issues.

•    Implementation Strategies will commonly direct a specific course of action that responds to
     and works to support the official position stated by policy. The Strategies define activities
     that the City may initiate or continue to achieve the Goal statements.

The following goals outline the vision for Columbia Heights through 2020 and will be
elaborated upon with corresponding policies and implementation strategies within each element
of this plan.


COMMUNITY IMAGE GOALS

1.      Establish and maintain a strong sense of community.

2.      Strengthen the image of the community as a desirable place to live and work.


LAND USE GOALS

1.      Preserve and enhance the existing viable commercial areas within the community.

2.      Provide opportunities and mechanisms for successful redevelopment of targeted areas
        within the community.

3.      Advocate high quality development and redevelopment within the community.


                                                16
HOUSING GOALS

1.   Provide a variety of life-cycle housing opportunities within the community.

2.   Advocate housing efforts that attract and retain residents, especially young families.

3.   Promote and preserve the single- family housing stock as the community’s strongest
     asset.

4.   Strengthen areas of commercial and civic activity by introducing complementary
     housing development.

5.   Support high quality housing development and redevelopment projects.


SURFACE WATER MANAGEMENT GOALS

1.   Control flooding and minimize public capital expenditures.

2.   Achieve water quality standards consistent with the intended use and classification.

3.   Protect and enhance water recreational facilities, fish and wildlife habitat.

4.   Promote ground water recharge and prevent contamination of aquifers.

5.   Maintain the amount of wetland acreage and try to increase the wetland values.

6.   Prevent soil erosion.

7.   Recognize the regulatory authority of other local, state, and federal entities.

8.   Equitably finance water resources.


HISTORIC PRESERVATION GOAL

1.   Preserve and maintain the community’s unique historical and cultural elements.


ENERGY CONSERVATION GOALS

1.   Guarantee access to direct sunlight for solar energy systems.

2.   Promote energy conservation throughout the community.


TRANSPORTATION GOALS

1.   Increase pedestrian and bicyc le safety in residential neighborhoods.

2.   Manage and maintain the investment in the existing roadway system.

3.   Embrace transit as a means to improve the livability and diversity of Columbia Heights.
                                           17
4.   Provide for safe and efficient alternative modes of transportation.


AVIATION AND AIRPORTS GOAL

1.   Ensure local land uses do not conflict with the operation of aviation facilities.


WATER SUPPLY AND WASTEWATER GOALS

1.   Maintain a high quality and reliable water supply and distribution system.

2.   Maintain a high quality and reliable sanitary sewer system.


PARK AND OPEN SPACE GOALS

1.   Promote parks and trails as essential elements of a broader strategy to provide fiscal
     strength, encourage private economic growth, improve community image and enhance
     the quality of life in Columbia Heights.

2.   Encourage the development and maintenance of a unified park system and cooperative
     recreational programs.

3.   Provide for a safe, flexible and attractive park and open space system based on
     community characteristics, changing demographics and overall needs.

4.   Fund park and recreation facilities in an effective and equitable manner.


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT GOALS

1.   Enhance the economic viability of the community.

2.   Promote reinvestment in properties by the commercial and industrial sectors.

3.   Provide a wide variety of employment opportunities within the community.


INTERGOVERNMENTAL COOPERATION GOAL

1.   Support intergovernmental efforts that benefit the community.




                                              18
2.       LAND USE PLAN
INTRODUCTION

The Land Use Plan is a general guide to physical development and redevelopment within the
City of Columbia Heights. Since Columbia Heights is a fully developed urban community with
a limited amount of vacant land, growth and development will consist primarily of
redevelopment and reuse of existing parcels. Redevelopment will provide significant
opportunities to the residents of Columbia Heights to improve and strengthen the community by
increasing the tax base, enhancing the community’s image and creating a coherent physical
pattern. There are many areas within the City that demonstrate strong redevelopment potential.
Deciding how developed areas within the community should evolve and prioritizing potential
areas of redevelopment are the primary objectives of the land use plan. The future land use in
Columbia Heights should be guided in a manner that addresses issues of declining young
populations, increasing elderly populations, ongoing maintenance and upgrades to
infrastructure, providing adequate and diverse housing opportunities, and encouraging
economic growth and redevelopment initiatives.

EXISTING LAND USE

The existing pattern of land use is illustrated in Figure 2-1 and demonstrates a typical first-ring
mature urban community. Areas of single-family housing are the dominant land use in the
community and create many identifiable residential neighborhoods. Pockets of medium-density
and high-density residential development are also present throughout the community and add
diversity to the City’s residential pattern. Commercial development is located primarily along
the Central Avenue and University Avenue corridors, and industrial development is
concentrated in the southwest corner of the City. Table 2-1 provides a breakdown of land uses
within the City and provides acreage for each category for 1970, 1980, 1990 and 1999.

TABLE 2-1
EXISTING LAND USE (IN ACRES)
                                                1970                1980                1990        1999
 RESIDENTIAL                                    1,528               1,537               1,526       1,182
  Single -Family                                                    1,451               1,422       1,016
  Multifamily                                                         86                 104         165
 COMMERCIAL                                      141                 152                 168         126
 INDUSTRIAL                                       77                 120                 109          91
 PUB LIC & RECREATION                            325                 326                 322         271
  Public and semipublic                                              188                 188         155
  Recreation/Parks                                                   138                 134         116
 HIGHWAYS                                         31                  31                  31         518*
 LAKES & STREAMS                                  57                  57                  57          57
 VACANT/NONURBANIZED                             112                  48                  35           9
 TOTAL                                          2,271               2,271               2,248      2,256**
Source: Metropolitan Council; SRF Consulting Group, Inc.
*As a result of limitations to the GIS database, highways include all City Right-of-Way
**Disparities in total acres result from improvements in technology (GIS) and measuring accuracy



                                                            19
Figure 2-1: Existing Land Use




                                20
COMMUNITY IMAGE

A positive community image is derived from a number of elements including the physical
features of the community, available services and overall economic stability. Efforts to enhance
the image of Columbia Heights need to build on the positive aspects of the community - good
schools, strong residential neighborhoods and equal accessibility to public services - while
minimizing and improving upon the negative aspects - perceived levels of crime, an aging
housing stock and declining population. With the appropriate land use designations,
redevelopment strategies, and public relations efforts, the physical environment as well as the
image of the community can be improved.

The following community image goals reflect public comments received during meetings held
in preparation of the Comprehensive Plan. Each goal includes numbered policies and bulleted
implementation strategies that correspond to each of the policies.

Goal: Establish and maintain a strong sense of community.

1.     Increase public awareness of the strengths and unique qualities of Columbia Heights.

       •   The City will establish a public relations campaign to promote the high quality
           public schools, available residential opportunities, transit connections, community
           pride and other strengths of the community.

2.     Encourage public involvement in all aspects of community life.

       •   The City will actively pursue the input of local residents in proposed development
           and redevelopment projects.

3.     Enhance the physical and social fabric of the community.

       •   The City will identify significant entrances into the community and develop
           appropriate entry signage for these areas.

       •   The City will identify appropriate areas throughout the community for the display of
           public art.

       •   The City will support and participate in activities that enhance community pride and
           spirit.

4.     The City will support the development of a mixed-use downtown/civic core, including
       the Community Center and core downtown, that provides a focal point for the
       community.

Goal: Strengthen the image of the community as a desirable place to live and work.

1.     Undertake efforts to attract and retain young families and couples.

       •   The City will publicize the affordability of single family residences within the
           community.


                                               21
2.      Improve the image of commercial areas as friendly and safe environments for residents
        and visitors.

        •   The City will support redevelopment and enhancement efforts that strengthen
            commercial areas, create a unified image, and provide pedestrian linkages to
            neighborhoods.

3.      Enhance the physical appearance of the community.

        •   The City will support streetscaping efforts throughout the community, especially
            along primary corridors.

        •   The City will work cooperatively with the City of Hilltop to address issues of
            physical appearance for shared elements of the two communities.

FUTURE LAND USE

The plan for future land use will guide development and redevelopment in the community
through 2020, while retaining those aspects that make Columbia Heights a diverse and livable
community. By designating specific land uses throughout the community, the plan will
enhances the image of the community and provides a comprehensive redevelopment strategy.
The plan provides for an appropriate mix of residential, commercial, industrial and recreational
uses within the community; minimizes land use conflicts; provides for the juxtaposition of
complementary uses; and designates specific areas for redevelopment. Figure 2-2 illustrates the
future land use designations for the City of Columbia Heights through 2020. Table 2-2 provides
a breakdown of future land uses within the City based on these land use designations.

TABLE 2-2
FUTURE LAND USE (IN ACRES)

                                                      2020
 RESIDENTIAL
   Low Density                                        1,028
   Medium Density                                       62
   High Density                                         64
 COMMERCIAL                                            114
 MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT                                  59
 INDUSTRIAL                                             89
 PUBLIC & RECREATION                                   265
   Public and semipublic                               146
   Recreation/Parks                                    119
 HIGHWAYS                                              518
 LAKES & STREAMS                                        57
 VACANT/NONURBANIZED                                    0
 TOTAL                                                2,256
*Source: City of Columbia Heights GIS Database




                                                 22
Figure 2-2 - Future Land Use




                               23
LAND USE GOALS, POLICIES AND IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES

The following land use goals reflect public comments received during meetings held in
preparation of the Comprehensive Plan. Each goal includes numbered policies and bulleted
implementation strategies that correspond to each of the policies.

Goal: Preserve and enhance the existing viable commercial areas within the community.

1.    Encourage the continuation and enhancement of existing commercial development
      within the community.

      •   The City will facilitate the enhancement and partial redevelopment of the University
          Avenue and Central Avenue corridors in a manner that is compatible with and
          supportive of transit and transit-related land use patterns.

      •   The City will support efforts to revitalize 40th Avenue between University and
          Central to ensure its lasting success as part of a mixed-use downtown/civic core.

      •   The City will support efforts to sustain and enhance the commercial district at
          37th Avenue and Stinson Boulevard.

      •   The City will support efforts to strengt hen the economic viability of the downtown
          core (40th and Central Avenue).

      •   The City will explore the feasibility of creating additional commercial retail areas
          based on land use specialization, including “big box” and pedestrian oriented
          development types.

2.    Promote non- motorized linkages between neighborhoods and commercial areas, as well
      as within commercial areas.

      •   The City will develop a detailed pedestrian and bicycle circulation plan that provides
          connections between commercial areas, neighborhoods and community parks
          throughout the community.

      •   The City will study the possibility of creating a bicycle route along the Central
          Avenue corridor, the University Avenue corridor, and the 40th Avenue corridor.

      •   The City will enhance pedestrian walkways along the Central Avenue corridor, the
          University Avenue corridor, and the 40th Avenue corridor to increase safety and
          improve pedestrian circulation and access.

      •   The City will develop a uniform, pedestrian-oriented signage plan for the
          Community Center area.

      •   The City will identify funding sources for the development of non- motorized
          linkages in the City’s capital improvement program (CIP).




                                              24
Goal: Provide opportunities and mechanisms for successful redevelopment of targeted areas
      within the community.

1.    Enhance the image and viability of the Central Avenue corridor, while protecting and
      enhancing adjacent residential uses.

      •   The City will develop a district plan to facilitate the redevelopment of the Central
          Avenue corridor, especially the downtown area located at the 40th Avenue/Central
          Avenue commercial node.

      •   The City will support redevelopment and streetscaping efforts that strengthen the
          Central Avenue commercial corridor by creating a unified image, pedestrian
          linkages, and improved physical appearance.

      •   The City will promote efforts to create a friendlier and safer downtown environment
          for both residents and visitors.

      •   The City will encourage the development of high-density residential near
          commercial nodes along the corridor in order to increase pedestrian and commercial
          activity.

2.    Improve the quality of the southwest industrial area.

      •   The City will proactively promote redevelopment efforts in this industrial area to
          enhance tax capacity.

      •   The City will promote the creation of higher wage jobs in this area.

      •   The City will identify a redevelopment strategy for this area as part of its economic
          development plan and program.

      •   The City will identify funding sources for redevelopment in this area, such as tax
          increment financing (TIF), Department of Trade and Economic Development
          (DTED) Redevelopment Grants, and Metropolitan Council Livable Communities
          Demonstration Account funds.

      •   The City will enhance the infrastructure in this area in order to encourage
          development and redevelopment.

      •   The City will identify potential brownfield sites within this area for mitigation and
          redevelopment.

      •   The City will encourage the elimination of land use conflicts on the edge of the
          industrial area.

      •   The City, through its economic development efforts, will attempt to attract new and
          innovative industrial uses to this area.



                                              25
3.   Create a unified downtown/civic core that provides a focal point for the City.

     •   The City will prepare a district plan for the Community Center complex that
         incorporates Huset Park, local government facilities, community facilities, and links
         the area with commercial and residential opportunities along the 40th Avenue and
         Central Avenue corridors.

     •   The City will provide opportunities for new commercial and retail establishments
         that support the community’s focal point, such as cafe and/or outdoor restaurant
         development.

     •   The City will identify funding sources for the City’s portion of the Community
         Center development in the City’s capital improvements program (CIP).

4.   Revitalize the 40th Avenue corridor between Central Avenue and University Avenue.

     •   The City will develop a district plan to facilitate the redevelopment of the
         40th Avenue corridor.

     •   The City will support the creation of a mixed-use development district with
         opportunities for small-scale retail, services and a diversity of housing types along
         this corridor.

5.   Enhance the image and viability of the University Avenue corridor, while providing
     opportunities for transit-related uses.

     •   The City will develop a district plan to facilitate the redevelopment of the University
         Avenue corridor.

     •   The City will formalize landscape screening along the corridor to provide enhanced
         visual appearance and noise mitigation.

     •   The City will support efforts to construct a light rail transit route along the
         University Avenue corridor and identify opportunities for high density residential
         development near transit stations.

6.   Remove regulatory barriers to redevelopment within the community.

     •   The City will identify problematic and/or inconsistent sections within the zoning
         ordinance and subdivision regulations.

     •   The City will update the zoning ordinance and subdivision regulations to create
         flexibility, encourage redevelopment, and bring zoning designation into compliance
         with the land use designations in the comprehensive plan.




                                             26
Goal: Advocate high quality development and redevelopment within the community.

1.     Utilize effective performance standards for all redevelopment and expansion projects.

       •   The City will amend the zoning ordinance to include performance standards that:
           require screening of parking lots and loading facilities with plantings and/or earthen
           berms; require a minimum area of landscape islands within parking lots; establish
           maximum impervious surface requirements; require design review for structural
           renovations; establish architectural design standards for new construction and
           renovation; and promote uniformity and creativity in sign design.

FUTURE LAND USE DESIGNATIONS

The majority of the City will remain as low density residential land uses, with areas of medium
and high density residential intermixed where these uses currently exist or where higher
densities are proposed in conjunction with transit oriented development. University and Central
Avenues will remain the retail/commercial focus of the community and industrial development
will continue to be located primarily in the southwest corner of the community. Redevelopment
strategies include promoting in- fill development on scattered vacant lots, creating mixed-use
development districts, strengthening the economic viability of the southwest industrial area and
creating a new Community Center. It is hoped that these strategies will strengthen and promote
the sense of community.


LOW DENSITY RESIDENTIAL

Low-density residential development, including single-family detached and single- family
attached (twin- homes), will remain the primary land use in Columbia Heights. The City will
remain dedicated to single- family residential development and provide targeted redevelopment
opportunities for private residents. Redevelopment of scattered vacant parcels into low density
residential development will continue where appropriate, and homeowners will have increased
opportunities to enhance and upgrade their properties through financial assistance and guidance
from the Cit y. These actions will strengthen existing neighborhoods and create new
neighborhood coalitions throughout the community.


MEDIUM AND HIGH DENSITY RESIDENTIAL

Opportunities to provide medium-density and high-density residential development projects
exist in many areas of the community. The best locations for these types of development are
those areas that can benefit from the additional pedestrian traffic generated by higher density
residential uses. The City has identified areas along the Central Avenue corridor, the University
Avenue corridor, and the 40th Avenue corridor as prime locations for future medium-density
and high-density residential development and redevelopment. These areas provide the best
opportunities for higher density living because they are near transit linkages and will have a
beneficial effect on new commercial/retail uses to be developed as part of the City’s overall
redevelopment strategy.


                                               27
COMMERCIAL/RETAIL DEVELOPMENT

The commercial/retail core of Columbia Heights will remain at the intersection of Central and
40th Avenues. This area is the historic downtown of the City, remains a viable commercial
node today and will continue to be the focus of Columbia Heights into the foreseeable future.
Metro Transit is constructing a transit hub near the intersection of Central and 41st Avenues,
which will enhance the viability of this area. Other issues that will need to be addressed to
ensure the long-term stability of this area include the infusion of new capital and commitment to
commercial/ retail development and redevelopment of the area. Specific strategies to enhance
the commercial/retail core and provide a coherent redevelopment strategy for the downtown
area will need to include the creation of a coalition of business leaders and local decision-
makers. The City will need to actively engage the business community to identify merchant
needs, aid in the recruitment of new businesses that will enhance the health and vitality of the
area and to develop a detailed strategy to address those needs. The improvement of both the
physical conditions of the downtown (i.e., streetscaping and improving signing and visibility)
and the economic vitality (i.e., marketing) will be required. Through the implementation of
                        a
these initiatives and t rgeted financial aid, the commercial/retail core of the City can be
enhanced, remain economically viable and continue to represent the center of the Columbia
Heights Business District. Figure 2-3 shows the location of other existing commercial areas
along University and Central Avenues that will remain primarily commercial/retail.


INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT

Industrial land use will continue to be concentrated in the southwest corner of the City, which
currently has a mix of light and heavy industrial development. Steel and scrap metal processing
represent the primary anchor, while recent redevelopment and growth in new technologies has
allowed the diversification of this area. New technologies representing light industrial
development have also created some incongruities and potential conflicts in the area. As a
result, future redevelopment and growth initiatives in the area will need to focus on creating a
coherent pattern of industrial development that minimizes the juxtaposition of light and heavy
industrial development while maximizing the diversity of the entire area. This will be achieved
by developing a detailed and comprehensive strategy for the area and prioritizing the industrial
needs and growth of the community. This comprehensive strategy will need to focus on the
following issues: optimization of current industrial uses; enhancement of City infrastructure;
mitigation and redevelopment of potential brownfield sites; elimination of land use conflicts on
the edge of the industrial area; and attraction of new and innovative industrial uses.


MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT

Several new mixed-use development districts will be created in order to facilitate
redevelopment and enhancement efforts in targeted areas of the community. These mixed-use
development districts include several areas oriented to transit, one area dedicated to the creation
of an expanded Community Center and one transitional area between the Community Center




                                                28
Figure 2-3 Location of Existing Commercial/Retail




                                            29
and the downtown commercial core (the 40th Avenue/Central Avenue commercial node). These
mixed-use development districts will provide increased pedestrian connections and
opportunities for alternative transportation modes, while also improving the physical
appearance of the City.

Transit Oriented Mixed-Use District

Transit-oriented development will occur in areas along existing transit routes. Three locations
are currently proposed along the University Avenue corridor and two areas are proposed along
the Central Avenue corridor. Each mixed- use area will focus on the commuting needs of
Columbia Heights residents.       As a result, a higher percentage of service-oriented
commercial/retail development will be necessary with high-density residential development
providing the balance of the development. Mixed-use pedestrian-oriented development near
transit nodes will provide new opportunities for high-density residential and neighborhood
commercial development. Redevelopment of these areas will also provide the opportunity for
pedestrian linkages to other parts of the community and improvement of the overall non-
motorized circulation system within the community that will help to improve the image of
Columbia Heights.

Community Center Mixed-Use District

The area surrounding the Community Center facility is located near the existing City Hall and
other City offices. The current land uses in the area are residential, institutional and
commercial/retail. The redevelopment strategy is to unify the area through the creation of
pedestrian-scaled mixed- use development. The area will focus commercial/retail services at the
neighborhood level that could potentially include barbershops, hardware stores, small eateries
and other service-oriented activities. The intent of this redevelopment area is to provide a
setting for medium-density to high-density residential development, a service-oriented
commercial/retail theme and a centralized neighborhood location. Successful redevelopment of
this area will provide an opportunity to strengthen the community focus by creating a
centralized public space, a gathering place adjacent to Huset Park, and a proposed Community
Center that will be a focal point for the community.

Transitional Mixed-Use District

A transitional district along 40th Avenue will connect the existing downtown central business
district (Central and 40th Avenue) with the proposed Community Center. Development of this
area will focus on strengthening the residential character of 40th Avenue and allow for
opportunities of neighborhood retail/commercial activity. Commercial/retail development will
consist of a mix of neighborhood service-oriented development and varying densities of
residential development will be the focus of this area. These uses will enhance the pedestrian
scale and connection between the two redevelopment areas. Streetscaping and amenities will be
used to provide a pedestrian focus and strengthen the linkages between City services at the
Community Center and the core retail district of the City at the 40th Avenue/Central Avenue
commercial node.

Design Alternatives


                                              30
Conceptual design schemes of the mixed-use areas were developed by the Minnesota Design
Team during a visit to Columbia Heights April 30 –May 3, 1998. These original efforts
provided a general range of alternatives as to how specific target areas within the community
could be redeveloped. These concept ideas were further refined during the City’s Livable
Community Demonstration Grant process. The Livable Community Grant process involved the
public, business leaders, City staff and consultants in an effort to strengthen and provide design
alternatives for the target area between Mill Street and Central Avenue along 40th Avenue, and
a core downtown area between 39th and 41st Avenues along Central Avenue, extending west to
Quincy Avenue (Figure 2-4). This process identified the following objectives:

•   Create a community center that serves as the City’s focal point, and connects civic facilities
    to the traditional downtown commercial center.

•   Encourage development that is compatible with the traditional downtown character in
    building scale, siting and materials.

•   Improve the vitality and appearance of key downtown streets, within the public right-of-
    way; especially Central Avenue, 40th Avenue and 41st Avenue.

•   Plan for the phasing in of mixed-use and small-site development that responds to the current
    development market and community needs.

•   Provide enhanced medium and high-density housing opportunities, which in turn will
    support downtown businesses.

•   Improve pedestrian and bicycle links between neighborhoods, parks, transit stops and
    downtown businesses.

•   Promote a vision for downtown that is cost-effective and realistic.

•   Build public/private partnerships that support positive revitalization efforts.

•   Cooperate with existing businesses and property owners to mitigate the impacts of
    relocations and construction.

•   Provide for improved visibility, accessibility and security in both new and existing parking
    facilities in pedestrian areas.

•   Enhance the quality of downtown streets and parks through improved maintenance practices
    and low- maintenance design strategies.




                                                 31
Figure 2-4: Livable Community Demonstration Grant Redevelopment Area




                                          32
From the list of objectives and public workshop input, three design alternatives were developed.
These alternatives included a Civic Center, Urban Green and Town Square. Through another
public open house process the three alternatives were further refined into two final alternatives
that will be presented to the public and City Council. The final two alternatives represent a
combination of the strongest elements of the initial alternatives as determined by the Task
Force, City Staff and the consultants.

The final concepts, called Town Square and Urban Green, both address the objectives
established for the project, and each represents a variation in emphasis for the image of the
downtown/civic core of Columbia Heights.

Town Square

The Town Square alternative provides a central park setting and forms a traditional civic
campus near the core downtown (Figure 2-5). The key design elements of the Town Square
include:

•   Civic and institutional facilities connected via parks and landscaped streets
•   Civic core linked to primary commercial core
•   Lower intensity land use along 40th Avenue
•   Special housing opportunities with civic / commercial proximity

Urban Green

The Urban Green provides a design concept of a community greenway and provides
connections from this green space along landscaped corridors to 40th and Central Avenue. The
Urban Green concept also sets civic facilities with additional green space on the Central Avenue
corridor (Figure 2-6).

The key design elements of the Urban Green concept include:

•   Urban Green connects parks to commercial center
•   Civic presence at Central Avenue Gateway
•   Civic facilities linked to commercial businesses on Central Avenue
•   Minimal impact on Huset Park facilities
•   Medium intensity development on 40th Avenue




                                                33
Figure 2-5: Town Square Redevelopment Concept




                                          34
Figure 2-6: Urban Green Redevelopment Concept




                                          35
3.     HOUSING PLAN

INTRODUCTION

Ensuring adequate housing opportunities are available for future residents of Columbia Heights
requires a complete inventory of existing housing stock and an understanding of future housing
demand. With these two elements understood, the community can develop goals, policies and
implementation strategies to guide future housing decisions. This Plan, which includes a
compilation of the information contained in Housing Analysis and Inventory Summary
(1996) and Life Cycle Housing Study for the Year 2010 (1998), provides the basic information
necessary to understand housing issues within Columbia Heights and establishes a framework
for guiding future housing decisions within the community. The City’s Housing Action Pla n,
prepared in accordance with the Livable Communities Act, was accepted by the Metropolitan
Council in 1996.


LIFE CYCLE HOUSING STUDY

The purpose of the Life Cycle Housing Study for the Year 2010 was to determine what changes
the City of Columbia Heights would need in order to have a housing supply that would meet the
needs of the population in the year 2010 and beyond. This study provides a snapshot of the
community based on the 1990 census and projects housing needs through the year 2010. With
this information, the community will be in a good position to plan for future housing and
redevelopment needs. This study also anticipates any shortages and/or oversupplies of various
housing types, which will provide the City with a valuable tool for developing housing policies.
Where appropriate, forecasts made in the study have been extended to 2020 in order to conform
with the current planning horizon and be consistent with the Metropolitan Council’s population
and household projections for 2010 and 2020.


HOUSING SUPPLY

The housing supply in Columbia Heights is similar to the average for the Twin Cities
metropolitan area in terms of the percentage of owner-occupied and renter-occupied housing.
In Columbia Heights, just over 70 percent of the housing units are owner-occupied, while the
figure for the metropolitan area is 68 percent owner-occupied. Rental housing makes up about
30 percent of the housing in Columbia Heights, as compared to 32 percent in the metropolitan
area (Figure 3-1).




                                              36
FIGURE 3-1
HOUSING RENTAL/OWNERSHIP PERCENTAGES, 1990


                          Metro Area
                          Columbia Heights



       70%
       60%
       50%
       40%
       30%
       20%
       10%
         0%
                Owner-occupied           Renter-occupied




    Source: 1990 Census

As a community becomes fully developed, it is important that its housing supply be adaptable to
the changing housing needs of a variety of age and income groups. Between 1980 and
1990, several hundred apartment units and numerous single-family units were constructed in
Columbia Heights, bringing the total number of housing units up to 7,914. Table 3-1 highlights
the variety of housing types within Columbia Heights including single family detached, single
family attached and multi- family units.

TABLE 3-1
HOUSING INVENTORY BY HOUSING TYPE, 1990

                                                                              Owner           Renter
                                             Percent of       Vacant         Occupied        Occupied
 Unit Type                 Total Units       Total Units      Units           Units           Units
 Single-Family               5,634               71            71             5,107            456
 Detached                    5,133               65            65             4,653            415
 Attached                     501                 6             6              454              41
 Multi-Family                2,280               29            77              358            1,845
 2 units                      546                 7            11              121             414
 3 or 4 units                 192                 3            10               14             168
 5 to 19 units                872                11            34               65             773
 20 to 50 Units               173                 2             6                4             163
 >50 Units                    497                 6            16              154             327

 Total                           7,914           100            148            5,465           2,301
Source: Life Cycle Housing Study; Housing Analysis and Inventory Summary; SRF Consulting Group, Inc.




                                                      37
The Livable Communities Act categories are used to determine the availability of affordable
and life cycle housing in Columbia Heights. According to the Metropolitan Council, 96 percent
of the community’s single- family housing is affordable to households at 80 percent of the areas
median income and 58 percent of the rental housing is affordable to households at 50 percent of
the median income.         Blending this information with basic housing type data in
Table 3-1 provides a more detailed look at the housing available in Columbia Heights
(Table 3-2).


TABLE 3-2
AFFORDABLE HOUSING SUPPLY, 1990

 Housing Type                                      Number of Units
 Total Housing Units                               7,914

 Vacant Units                                      148

 Total Owner-Occupied Units                        5,465
 Total Affordable Owner-Occupied Units             5,246   (96% of the Owner-Occupied Units)

 Total Rental Units                                2,301
 Total Affordable Rental Units                     1,335

 Total Attached Housing Units                      2,849   (36% of All Units)
 Total Detached Housing Units                      5,065   (64% of All Units)
Sources: 1990 Census; Metropolitan Council

It is noteworthy that almost every owner-occupied housing unit (96 percent) in Columbia
Heights meets the Metropolitan Council’s definition of affordability under the Livable
Communities Act. These are housing units were valued at $115,000 or less in 1995, affordable
to households with incomes of $40,000 or less, or 80 percent of the area median income. At the
same time, while rental housing is less than 30 percent of the Columbia Heights housing supply,
58 percent of the rental units were considered affordable to lower-income households, with
incomes of $25,000 per year or less. Columbia Heights also has an above-average supply of
single- family housing units, as compared to neighboring communities.


POPULATION FORECASTS

Between 1980 and 1990, the population of Columbia Heights decreased by 1,119 residents,
from a population of 20,029 to a population of 18,910 - a six percent decrease. The number of
households increased by 423 households, from 7,343 households to 7,766 households — a six
percent increase during the same time period. Between 1990 and 1998, the Metropolitan
Council estimates that the population declined slightly, from 18,910 to 18,699, while the




                                              38
number of households increased slightly, from 7,766 to 7,806. The Metropolitan Council
forecasts an increase in population to 18,900 by the year 2000, remaining at 18,900 through
2010, and increasing again to 19,500 by 2020. Total households are forecasted to increase to
7,850 by the year 2000, to 8,000 by 2010, and to 8,200 by 2020.

Table 3-3 shows the age groups of the Columbia Heights’ population, how they changed from
1980 to 1990, and how they are projected to change through 2020. While the younger
population groups are projected to decrease in number, the older population groups (35+) are
expected to increase slightly, going from 51.1 percent of the population in 1990 to 53.7 percent
in 2020. Move-up homebuyers, ages 35 to 54, are expected to hit a peak of 29.7 percent in the
year 2000 and remain high through 2020 at 26.9 percent. At the same time, the empty nesters,
ages 55 to 64, are projected to continue a steady rise, from 11.5 percent in 1990 to 14.5percent
by 2020. The older population group, ages 65 and over, peaked in 1990 at 15.4 percent, and is
expected to decrease to 12.3 percent by 2020.


TABLE 3-3
POPULATION BY AGE GROUP, 1980-2020

   Age
  Group            1980                1990               2000                 2010               2020
 0-5           1,322 (6.6%)        1,492 (7.9%)       1,375 (7.3%)         1,379 (7.3%)       1,396 (7.2%)
 6-17         3,864 (19.3%)       2,629 (13.9%)      3,297 (17.4%)        3,270 (17.3%)      3,342 (17.1%)
 18-24        2,861 (14.3%)        1,761 (9.3%)       1,526 (8.1%)         1,701 (9.0%)       1,933 (9.9%)
 25-34        3,003 (15.0%)       3,360 (17.8%)      2,405 (12.7%)        2,344 (12.4%)      2,362 (12.1%)
 35-54        4,834 (24.1%)       4,574 (24.2%)      5,619 (29.7%)        5,349 (28.3%)      5,243 (26.9%)
 55-64        2,158 (10.8%)       2,181 (11.5%)      2,277 (12.0%)        2,495 (13.2%)      2,824 (14.5%)
 65+           1,987 (9.9%)       2,909 (15.4%)      2,401 (12.7%)        2,362 (12.5%)      2,400 (12.3%)

 Totals           20,029              18,910              18,900              18,900              19,500
Sources: 1980 and 1990 Census; 2000, 2010 and 2020 Forecasts: Metropolitan Council; Nancy Reeves and Associates;
SRF Consulting Group, Inc.



HOUSING NEEDS

Between 1990 and 2020, the number of households in Columbia Heights will increase from
7,766 to 8,200, an increase of 434 households. Allowing for a standard vacancy rate of five
percent, the total number of housing units needed by 2020 to accommodate the increased
number of households is 8,630. This represents an increase of 716 units from the 1990 total of
7,914 units.

Information about the age groups of a population can be used to project the types of housing
that will be needed in the community. In general, housing needs can be roughly equated to age
categories as follows:



                                                     39
Age Group                                          Housing Needs
18-24           New Households                     Affordable Rental Housing

25-34           First Time Homebuyers              Starter Single-Family Homes, Attached               or
                                                   Detached, or Remain in Rental Housing.

35-54           Move-Up Homebuyers                 Move-Up Single-Family Homes

55-64           Empty Nesters                      Remain in Single-Family Homes or Move to
                                                   Attached Ownership or Rental Housing

65+             Older Residents                    Remain in Single-Family Homes, Move to
                                                   Attached Ownership or Rental Housing


The 2020 housing needs in Columbia Heights can best be forecasted by looking at the housing
types generally preferred by people of various age groups. For this forecast, only the population
groups 18 years of age and over will be used. It will be assumed that residents ages 0 to 17 will
be living in households headed by adults. Table 3-4 shows that approximate number of housing
units needed for each adult age group, as well as the housing types most often lived in by these
age groups.


TABLE 3-4
ESTIMATED HOUSING NEEDS BY POPULATION GROUP, 2020

                                     2020 Adult
 Population Group                    Population      Units Needed   Unit Types
 New Households (18-24)                 1,933            1,144      Affordable Rental, Attached
 First-Time Homebuyers (25-34)          2,362            1,295      Starter Homes, Rental, Attached
 Move-Up Buyers (35-54)                 5,243            2,766      Move-Up Homes
 Empty-Nesters (55-64)                  2,824            1,531      Rental, Attached, Single -Family
                                                                    Homes
 Older People (65+)                     2,400             1,464     Rental, Attached, Single -Family
                                                                    Homes
 Total Units                                              8,200
Source: Nancy Reeves and Associates; SRF Consulting Group, Inc.



Based on the current owner/renter percentages in Columbia Heights for each age group, as well
as the types of housing most commonly associated with various age groups, the projected
housing needs in Columbia Heights for 2020 are shown in Table 3-5.




                                                    40
TABLE 3-5
ESTIMATED HOUSING NEEDS BY HOUSING TYPE, 2020

 Housing Type                                                                      Number of Units
                                                                                     (Estimated)
 Owner-Occupied:
  Detached Single-Family Home- up to $115,000                                             2,355
  Detached Single-Family Home-over $115,000                                               2,602
 Renter Occupied:
  Affordable Rental Housing- up to $500/month                                             1,431
  Other Rental Housing- over $500/month                                                   1,226
 Other Attached Housing- Townhouses, condominiums, etc.                                    586

 Total Housing Units                                                                      8,200
Source: Nancy Reeves and Associates

Based on this information and the existing housing stock, the housing needs for 2020 can be
determined, as shown in Table 3-6.


TABLE 3-6
2020 HOUSING NEEDS, AS COMPARED TO 1990 HOUSING SUPPLY

                            Total Units       Units
 Housing Type               Needed by       Available in     Recommended Changes
                               2020            1990
 Owner-Occupied:
 Detached SF Home up           2,355            4,928        Remove 25 substandard units. Maintain
 to $115,000                                                 at least 2,355 existing units as affordable
                                                             units. No new affordable single -family
                                                             units are needed.
 Detached SF Home              2,602             205         Upgrade; modernize about 2,397 of the
 over $115,000                                               existing affordable units.
 Rental-Occupied:
 Affordable Rental up          1,431            1,335        Add 96 rent assistance certificates for
 to $500/month                                               existing rental units for families and older
                                                             people.
 Other Rental over             1,226             966         Add 356 additional market rate rental
 $500/month                                                  units, including 96 units to replace the 96
                                                             market rate units taken for rent assistance
                                                             certificates.
 Other Attached                 586              480         Add about 106 ownership townhouses or
 Housing                                                     condos, primarily for older people.

 Total Units                   8,200            7,914        Net increase of 286 units needed
Source: Nancy Reeves and Associates; SRF Consulting Group, Inc.




                                                    41
HOUSING ANALYSIS AND INVENTORY SUMMARY

The purpose of the Housing Analysis and Inventory Summary was to compare and evaluate
housing conditions in Columbia Heights with other communities in the metropolitan area. The
study included nine comparison cities to illustrate the housing conditions and needs of
Columbia Heights in relationship to similar communities in the metropolitan area. The
comparison cities included Anoka, Blaine, Brooklyn Center, Coon Rapids, Crystal, Fridley,
Richfield, Robbinsdale and Spring Lake Park. Since Columbia Heights is a firstring
community, four of the comparison cities were chosen due to their central geographic position -
Brooklyn Center, Crystal, Richfield and Robbinsdale. The remaining five cities are well-
established second and third-ring suburbs in Anoka County - Anoka, Blaine, Coon Rapids,
Fridley and Spring Lake Park. Comparisons of these ten cities illustrate the different growth
pattern of the outer ring suburbs to the inner core cities and first-ring communities, like
Columbia Heights. Comparisons to the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area as a whole were also
made where appropriate.


MEDIAN INCOME

Income comparisons for the ten communities help illustrate the affordable housing needs of
Columbia Heights in relationship to the other communities and the metropolitan area. The
1990 median income levels were compared in terms of both median family income and median
household income, as shown in Table 3-7. Columbia Heights was found to be the lowest of all
ten comparison cities in both categories. In addition, the income levels of Columbia Heights
were also substantially lower than the metropolitan area as a whole.


TABLE 3-7
MEDIAN ANNUAL INCOME, 1990

                                       Median Family               Median Household
 City                                   Income ($)                    Income ($)
 Anoka                                    38,241                        31,289
 Blaine                                   41,860                        40,404
 Brooklyn Center                          38,818                        34,168
 Columbia Heights                         36,688                        30,469
 Coon Rapids                              44,827                        42,069
 Crystal                                  40,764                        37,093
 Fridley                                  41,809                        36,855
 Richfield                                39,977                        32,405
 Robbinsdale                              40,536                        33,107
 Spring Lake Park                         43,763                        40,613
 Twin Cities Metropolitan Area            43,781                        36,678
Source: 1990 Census




                                              42
INCOME LEVELS

The percentage of households in various income categories was also taken into consideration.
For 1990, the US Census Bureau divided annual income into five categories: less than
$17,500; $17,500 to $29,999; $30,000 to $42,499, $42,500 to $59,999, and over
$60,000. Lower income is defined as an annual household income less than $17,500. Low
income is defined as an annual household income of $17,500 to $29,999. Wealthy households
are those households with annual incomes of $60,000 and above. The comparison of the ten
communities and the metropolitan area is found in Table 3-8.


TABLE 3-8
HOUSEHOLD ANNUAL INCOME LEVEL PERCENTAGES, 1990

                                     Lower           Low
 City                               Income         Income        <$30,000       >$60,000
 Anoka                                25.0           22.7          47.7           12.5
 Blaine                               10.8           17.8          28.6           17.7
 Brooklyn Center                      20.2           21.0          41.2           13.8
 Columbia Heights                     26.6           22.3          48.9           10.5
 Coon Rapids                          11.6           16.6          28.2           20.9
 Crystal                              14.9           21.0          35.9           16.0
 Fridley                              17.0           21.1          38.1           21.9
 Richfield                            20.6           25.2          45.8           12.0
 Robbinsdale                          23.1           21.8          44.9           13.0
 Spring Lake Park                     17.3           15.4          32.7           16.9
 Twin Cities Metropolitan Area        20.1           19.1          39.2           21.1
Source: 1990 Census



Since Columbia Heights had the lowest median household income of the ten cities, it is not
surprising that it also had the highest percentage of households with annual incomes less than
$30,000 with 48.9%. These statistics indicate that nearly half of the households in Columbia
Heights were deemed low income and a quarter were considered lower income. The
metropolitan area as a whole had 39.2% of its’ households deemed low income, almost ten
percent less than Columbia Heights’ figure.

Columbia Heights exhibited a small proportion of households that are comparatively wealthy.
Using the upper division of $60,000 and above to designate wealthy households, Columbia
Heights had a much smaller percentage of wealthy households than the metropolitan area as a
whole and the ten comparison cities. In the metropolitan area, one in five households were
considered wealthy; however, in Columbia Heights, only one in ten households was deemed
wealthy. Not only did Columbia Heights rank low in median income levels, the community
also had a low percentage of wealthy residents.




                                             43
POVERTY

The 1990 Census defined poverty by family size compared to the family’s income. These
definitions are as follows: for a family of four a yearly income of $12,674 or less; for a family
of three a yearly income of $9,885 or less; for a family of two a yearly income of $8,076 or less;
and for a single person a yearly income of $6,300 or less. Poverty statistics were also compared
for six categories: total persons, persons under 18, persons over 65, persons with income less
than 200 percent of poverty level, total families living below the poverty level and single parent
families living below the poverty level (Table 3-9). This information provides an overview of
any special n eeds a community may have in terms of children, senior citizens, single parent
households and overall conditions of poverty. The category of “persons with incomes at less
than 200 percent of poverty level” represents those residents living on an income twice the
poverty level or less. This level of income is classified as low income and illustrates the
percentage of residents, although not considered to be living in poverty, that have a low income
and may be living in substandard housing.


TABLE 3-9
PERCENT BELOW POVERTY LEVEL, 1990

                                                                                         Single
 City                              People      <18       >65      <200%      Families    Parent
 Anoka                               8.5       3.6       1.3       23.3        6.4        4.7
 Blaine                              5.2       2.4       0.2       15.4        4.1        2.5
 Brooklyn Center                     7.1       3.0       0.5       18.7        5.8        4.8
 Columbia Heights                    8.5       3.6       0.9       21.6        6.4        4.7
 Coon Rapids                         3.8       1.2       0.8       12.8        3.2        2.0
 Crystal                             4.8       2.2       0.4       13.5        3.8        2.8
 Fridley                             6.1       2.6       0.4       17.1        4.9        3.9
 Richfield                           5.5       1.8       0.6       16.6        3.9        2.7
 Robbinsdale                         5.0       1.5       1.0       16.7        3.3        2.5
 Spring Lake Park                    4.8       2.2       0.4       14.2        4.1        3.8
 Twin Cities Metropolitan            8.1       3.0       0.7       19.3        5.8        4.1
 Area
Source: 1990 Census



Columbia Heights exhibited a high level of poverty within the metropolitan area and in
comparison to the other communities. The poverty rate in the community rose sharply in the
1980s. The percentage of residents below the poverty level in 1980 was 5.3 percent, compared
to the metropolitan area-wide figure of 6.7 percent. The increase of poverty in Columbia
Heights during the 1980s was 51 percent, compared to the metropolitan area increase of
40 percent. As a result, the poverty rate in Columbia Heights surpassed the metropolitan area-
wide rate of residents living in poverty conditions by 1990.




                                               44
In reviewing the percentage for all categories, a consistently high rate of poverty was found in
Columbia Heights. Columbia Heights was tied with Anoka for the highest percentage of
residents in poverty in three categories (all persons, persons under 18, and families), was second
highest in two others (persons with incomes at less than 200 percent of the poverty level and
single parent families), and a close third in another (persons over 65).


LABOR FORCE

In order to illustrate the labor force conditions within the ten cities, the percentage of the
population in the labor force and the unemployment rate were also compared (Table 3-10).
Since these factors reflect the percentage of residents earning an income and seeking to earn an
income, they are important economic factors in a community. Labor force is defined as the sum
of those residents who are working and those who are able and actively looking for work. The
unemployment rate is the percentage of the labor force that is unable to find full- time work.


TABLE 3-10
LABOR FORCE CONDITIONS, 1990

 City                              Percent in the Labor Force         Unemployment Rate
 Anoka                                          70.1                            5.6
 Blaine                                         83.7                            4.5
 Brooklyn Center                                71.1                            5.4
 Columbia Heights                               69.7                            6.0
 Coon Rapids                                    81.5                            4.1
 Crystal                                        74.3                            4.8
 Fridley                                        77.5                            4.9
 Richfield                                      71.4                            3.6
 Robbinsdale                                    65.9                            4.6
 Spring Lake Park                               82.2                            4.7
 Twin Cities Metropolitan Area                  74.5                            4.6
Source: 1990 Census

Within the ten comparison cities, the percentage of labor force participation ranged from a high
of 83.7 percent in Blaine to a low of 65.9 percent in Robbinsdale. The metropolitan
participation rate was 74 percent. Columbia Heights had a low number of residents participating
in the labor force, with 69.7 percent. This small percentage, which was the second lowest of the
comparison cities, indicates that a relatively high percentage of the residents over 16 years of
age were either not looking for work or were unable to work.

The unemployment rates ranged from a low of 3.6 percent in Richfield to a high of 6.0 percent
in Columbia Heights. The metropolitan area-wide unemployment rate was 4.6 percent. Not
only did Columbia Heights have a lower percentage of participation in the labor force; it also
had a high amount of people looking for work. As a fully developed suburb, Columbia Heights
has little potential for greatly improving the number of jobs within the community without
significant redevelopment efforts.


                                               45
POPULATION AND HOUSEHOLD COMPOSITION

The 1990 population of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Areas was 2,288,721 – a 15 percent
increase over the 1980 population. Anoka County also experienced rapid growth in the 1980s,
with an increase of 24 percent to 243,641. Anoka County has been one of the fastest growing
counties in the region over the past 25 years and is expected to have strong population growth in
the near future. Contrary to metropolitan-wide and County trends, the population of Columbia
Heights fell 6 percent in the 1980s, from 20,029 to 18,910. Although the population of the
community has dropped over the past 25 years, the forecast for the year 2020 predicts a slight
increase in population to 19,500. The long-term future forecast is that the population will
stabilize near this figure and remain there indefinitely.

Due to the recent trend towards smaller family sizes, the rate of increase in the number of
households in the metropolitan area was even greater than the growth in population. During the
1980s, the number of households grew by 21 percent, which caused the average household size
to fall from 2.69 to 2.56. The number of households also increased in Columbia Heights in the
1980s, despite the fact that the population fell. The total number of households in Columbia
Heights increased by 5.8 percent during the decade, which caused the person per household
average to drop from 2.71 to 2.42.

The Census Bureau also compiles statistics on the composition of households. These statistics
show that the households numbers in the metropolitan area and Anoka County grew in all
categories during the 1980s (families with children, families without children, singles, and non-
families). The families with children category is increasing at the slowest rate within the
metropolitan area, compared to the other non-traditional household types. This reflects the
current trends of securing financial and social stability before getting married, as well as a high
divorce rate that has left a large number of single people seeking alternative households. These
trends promote a temporary living arrangement that consists of one to three persons, further
reducing the size of the average household. The growth of households in Columbia Heights,
although not as strong, is comparable to the metropolitan area and Anoka County, with one key
exception. In Columbia Heights, the number of households consisting of families with children
is rapidly declining. This household type generally has a stable income, can afford a larger
home, and typically desires a larger home to accommodate the size the family. There is a strong
correlation between the loss of this population and the lack of housing alternatives for this
household type.

The population is divided into seven age groups by the Census Bureau: 5 and younger,
6-17, 18-24, 25-34, 35-54, 55-64, and 65 and older. During the 1980s, Columbia Heights
experienced different age migration than either the metropolitan area or Anoka County.
Between 1980 and 1990, the community saw large losses in the 6-17 and 18-24 age groups
(32 percent and 38 percent, respectively). These groups are indicative of a family unit and
again illustrate a migration of families with children out of the community. The only large
increase during this time period was in the 65 and older age group, with 46 percent.




                                                46
HOUSING VALUE

The value of housing in the ten cities, which is an indicator of housing and economic conditions
within each community, was also compared (Table 3-11). The 1990 median value of owner-
occupied housing units in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area was $89,211, compared to a
median value of $88,880 in Anoka County and median value of $73,600 in Columbia Heights.

None of the ten comparison cities had a median value greater than either Anoka County or the
metropolitan area. In most cases, a community’s median value is low if there is an abundance
of mid- to low priced homes. While Fridley, Coon Rapids and Anoka had a high percentage of
homes valued above $150,000 (twice as many than the other seven cities), the values were not
high enough to raise the median value above the metropolitan area or county-wide median
values.


TABLE 3-11
MEDIAN OWNER-OCCUPIED HOUSING VALUES, 1990

 City                                                   Median Housing Values ($)
 Anoka                                                             80,000
 Blaine                                                            80,600
 Brooklyn Center                                                   79,400
 Columbia Heights                                                  73,600
 Coon Rapids                                                       82,500
 Crystal                                                           78,000
 Fridley                                                           86,000
 Richfield                                                         84,800
 Robbinsdale                                                       76,500
 Spring Lake Park                                                  82,100
 Twin Cities Metropolitan Area                                     89,211
Source: 1990 Census



The Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines affordable housing
as housing that costs no more than 30 percent of the household’s income. Using the
metropolitan area median household income level of $36,678, an affordable house in the Twin
Cities area is one that does not exceed $110,000 in value. Considering that the median value of
an owner-occupied home in the metropolitan area was $89,211 in 1990, it is apparent that there
are a substantial number of lower valued homes in the region. The median value of homes
within the ten comparison cities was far below the benchmark of $110,000, ranging from a high
of $86,000 in Fridley to a low of $73,600 in Columbia Heights – more than $35,000 below the
benchmark.




                                              47
The Census Bureau uses five categories of value for owner-occupied housing units (less than
$50,000, $50-99,999, $100-149,999, $150-199,999 and $200,000 and over). Table 3-12
outlines this information for the ten comparison cities, showing the percentage of higher valued
and lower valued homes in each community. These statistics have been compared to highlight
low valued homes and high valued homes within a community. The diversity of the housing
stock can also be evaluated using this information.


TABLE 3-12
OWNER-OCCUPIED HOUSING VALUES, 1990

 City                     <$50,000        $50,000-       $100,000-    $150,000+    Diversity
                            (%)          99,999 (%)     149,999 (%)      (%)      Assessment
 Anoka                       2.9            81.3            12.3          3.5        +0.6
 Blaine                      1.5            84.0            13.1          1.4        -0.1
 Brooklyn Center             1.2            93.1             5.1          0.6        -0.6
 Columbia Heights            4.4            84.8             9.1          1.7        -2.7
 Coon Rapids                 1.6            75.4            18.5          4.5        +2.9
 Crystal                     1.9            89.3             7.7          1.1        -0.8
 Fridley                     1.5            75.7            18.3          4.5        +3.0
 Richfield                   0.8            87.4            11.0          0.8          0
 Robbinsdale                 2.3            86.3             9.7          1.7        -0.6
 Spring Lake Park            1.7            86.9             9.9          1.5        -0.2
Source: 1990 Census; Nancy Reeves and Associates



With an affordable benchmark of $110,000 and the median values between $70,000 and
$90,000, the greatest concentration of homes is found in the $50,000 to $99,999 category and
ranges from a low of 75.4 percent in Coon Rapids to a high of 93.1 percent in Brooklyn Center
(Columbia Heights – 84.8 percent). The next most common category is the $100,000 to
$149,999 range, which includes the benchmark. If these two categories are combined to form a
median block of $50,000 to $149,999, every community had at least 93.6 percent of its homes
in this bracket. This leaves little room for diversity, yet some cities showed a much more
attractive level of diversity than others.

The diversity of the housing stock within each community can also be evaluated by comparing
the percentage of owner-occupied homes valued at less than $50,000 with the percentage of
homes valued at $150,000 and over. Homes valued less than $50,000 (the category below the
median blocks for all communities) are usually very small and often considered dilapidated.
Columbia Heights had the highest percent of homes in this category with 4.4 percent (the only
city above 3.0 percent), while Richfield had the lowest percentage with 0.8 percent. When the
homes valued above the median block are compared (homes valued at $150,000 and higher),
only three cities had more than 1.7 percent of their units included. Anoka (3.5 percent), Coon
Rapids (4.5 percent) and Fridley (4.5 percent) all had more than twice the percentage of homes
in this category as compared to the other seven cities. Brooklyn Center had the lowest
percentage with 0.6 percent while Columbia Heights had 1.7 percent.


                                                   48
The diversity of housing values can be evaluated, bad or good, by subtracting the percentage of
homes below the median block from the percentage of homes above the median block. This
will give each community a plus or minus diversity assessment value, with numbers above zero
being considered good diversity and numbers below zero considered bad diversity. A sum of
zero indicates an equal percent of homes above the median block level and an equal percentage
below, and diversity is neither good nor bad. This diversity assessment number is included as
the last column of Table 3-12. The best diversity of expensive homes to low valued homes was
located in Fridley and Coon Rapids, with 2.9 percent and 3 percent more high valued homes
than low-valued homes. The worst assessment was found in Columbia Heights, with an inverse
relation including 2.7 percent more low valued homes than expensive homes.

AGE OF HOUSING
Housing units greater than 30 years of age has become a benchmark factor in determining the
housing conditions of a community. This is a result of the necessary repairs and the
deteriorated conditions frequently exhibited by this housing. Table 3-13 illustrates the age of
housing in each of the ten communities by year built categories. The age of housing from
1990 Census data shows a clear break in the inner corridor cities from the peripheral suburbs.
The housing units greater than 30 years old in the five corridor cities comprised greater than
65 percent of the housing stock. In the northern suburbs no city had a figure higher than
45 percent. Due to the choice of established suburbs, the break between groups was not as great
when the homes built before 1970 were compared. This will be significant in the census of
2000, since it is this group that will comprise the older than 30 years category.

TABLE 3-13
AGE OF OWNER-OCCUPIED HOUSING, 1990

 City                   <1940      40-49     50-59     60-69      70-79     80-89       Total
                         (%)        (%)       (%)       (%)        (%)       (%)        Units
 Anoka                   15.3        9.7      19.8      22.5       18.6      14.1       3,597
 Blaine                   0.9        1.9      10.0      20.4       27.7      39.1      11,563
 Brooklyn Center          3.5        6.9      54.9      19.8        9.1       5.8       7,806
 Columbia Heights        17.7       11.2      36.7      20.1        5.5       8.8       5,465
 Coon Rapids              0.7        1.8      17.8      22.7       17.8      39.2      13,940
 Crystal                  5.7        7.8      58.7      18.2        6.2       3.4       7,170
 Fridley                  1.9        6.6      31.2      32.7       20.6       7.0       7,364
 Richfield                5.8       28.5      54.5       5.4        2.0       3.8      10,406
 Robbinsdale             24.8       29.2      29.0       7.5        3.8       5.7       4,386
 Spring Lake Park         1.1        5.5      25.6      34.6       18.7      14.5       1,783
Source: 1990 Census

Of the homes built before 1940, only three cities had a percentage of its homes exceeding
15 percent. These cities were Robbinsdale (24.8 percent), Columbia Heights (17.7 percent) and
Anoka (15.3 percent). The other seven cities had less than 6 percent of their homes in this
designation. This establishes these cities as having a significant portion of old homes compared
to the rest of the comparison cities.


                                              49
The inner cities had strong building periods in the years 1940-1969. This is evident in the
percent of homes in these cities that are more than 30 years old. The northern suburbs reveal a
later construction period, one that started in the 1950s and continues strong today. This later
peripheral construction wave can be illustrated by looking at the amount of homes built since
1970. No inner core city had a percentage of homes from this area comprise more than
15 percent of its’ housing stock. The suburbs, however, had at least 25 percent of their homes
built in this time frame.
In comparing the ten cities, the percent of housing units older than 30 years ranged from a high
of 88.8 percent in Richfield to a low of 12.8 percent in Blaine. The percent of housing units
built since 1970 ranged from a high of 57.0 percent in Coon Rapids to a low of 5.8 percent in
Richfield. In Columbia Heights, 65.6 percent of the housing stock was constructed prior to
1960, 85.7 percent was constructed before 1970, and 8.8 percent had been constructed since
1980.

RESIDENTIAL BUILDING PERMITS
The number of resident ial building permits issued by the comparison cities during the 1990s can
give an indication of the future renovation of the interior cities and growth of the suburbs
(Table 3-14). Since the building permit information does not differentiate between renovation
and new construction, trends within these cities need to be understood before the information
can be analyzed properly. Building permits issued between 1990 and 1994 show that Coon
Rapids and Blaine continue to grow strong and have issued a large amount of permits. The
other three suburbs had a much lower rate of construction in the 1980s and have issued far
fewer permits in the 1990s. Fridley and Spring Lake Park are interior suburbs compared to
Anoka, Blaine and Coon Rapids, and the trend is towards renovation rather than new
construction on undeveloped properties. The construction rates in these communities will be
very similar to the inner cities in the future. The amount of permits issued in the inner cities
show a fairly even amount of construction with a slightly higher number in Robbinsdale. In the
suburbs, the amount of building activity in Anoka is greater than Fridley and Spring Lake Park,
but far less than Blaine and Coon Rapids.

TABLE 3-14
RESIDENTIAL BUILDING PERMITS, 1990-1994

 City                                      Number of Permits
 Anoka                                             368
 Blaine                                           1,189
 Brooklyn Center                                    38
 Columbia Heights                                  43
 Coon Rapids                                      3,415
 Crystal                                            41
 Fridley                                           112
 Richfield                                          59
 Robbinsdale                                        85
 Spring Lake Park                                  149
Source: Individual City Building Permit Reports



                                                    50
LIFE CYCLE HOUSING
Life cycle housing issues address the need for different types of housing to accommodate all
people in a community. Varying age groups tend to live in different housing units; therefore,
the housing needs of a community can be estimated by tracking the changing age patterns of the
community. People in the 18-24 age group tend to live in apartments, while first-time home
buyers are usually in the 25-34 age group. As families get larger and a stable income is secured,
a larger move-up home is purchased to accommodate the size of the family. This usually occurs
when the head of the household is in the 35-54 age group. People in the 55-64 age group are
considered empty- nesters, since the children are moving out and leaving the parents with a
house too large for themselves. This creates a demand in this age group for well-kept smaller
finished homes. When people reach the 65 and older age group, they tend to move into
apartments, town homes and condominiums to free themselves of maintenance and yard
keeping responsibilities.
The most traditional housing type is the single- family detached home. It is still the most
common of all housing types, but recent trends have increased the demand for non-traditional
housing units. These trends are reflective of the increase in the divorce rate, the increase in the
number of senior citizens, the preference to wait before getting married, and families having
fewer or no children. These trends have increased the number of people seeking temporary
living arrangements. For this reason, it has become a necessity for a community to offer its
residents a good diversity in the housing stock. This diversity in housing stock has to be present
in the owner-occupied units as well as the rental units in a community. This is due to several
different reasons. First, the equity involved in owning a housing structure promotes buying.
The increased demand for non-traditional units has greatly increased the equity in these units;
therefore, more people opt to buy rather than rent. Secondly, younger people still prefer to rent,
as do people with jobs that require relocation. Finally, the high divorce rate has increased the
amount of people looking to rent.
In comparing the ten cities, the highest rate of non-traditional housing stock was found in
Anoka with 47.8 percent of the housing units being other than single family detached units. The
lowest rate was found in Crystal, which only had 23.6 percent of its housing units classified as
non-traditional. The highest proportion of rental units was also found in Anoka with
45.8 percent, while the lowest proportion was found in Crystal and Blaine with 12.1 percent. In
Columbia Heights, 35.9 percent of the housing units were other than single family detached and
32.3 percent of the housing units were rental. Anoka and Fridley were the only communities
that had a stronger diversity of housing types and rental properties when compared to Columbia
Heights.

HOUSING QUALITY INVENTORY
In 1996, a windshield survey of Columbia Heights’ housing stock was undertaken in
preparation of the Housing Analysis and Inventory Summary. Only exteriors were rated and
emphasis was placed on homesteaded properties. Since all rental housing is subject to the
City’s licensing and inspections process, it was excluded from the survey. A total of
5,779 dwellings were rated in the windshield survey, with 1,241 dwellings (21.5 percent)
receiving a “good” rating, 3,913 dwellings (67.7 percent) receiving a “fair” rating, and
625 dwellings (10.8 percent) receiving a “poor” rating.


                                                51
Homes rated “good” were in good condition with well-kept exteriors, including siding, paint,
windows, cement, foundation, roofing, window trim and landscaping. In general, these homes
were newer and not showing signs of age or disrepair.

Homes rated “fair” were primarily older homes in need of upgrades and repairs, as exterior wear
and tear was evident. These needed improvements included: repair or replacement of roofs;
repair or replacement of broken or cracked cement work (foundations, steps, sidewalks);
replacement of chipped or cracked siding; painting of siding, door frames, and window frames;
replacement of leaking windows; and general property maintenance. The needed improvements
would upgrade the property and would keep the home from being a greater concern in the
future. Although most of these repairs would be considered minor, many homeowners do not
have the financial means to make the necessary repairs.

Homes rated “poor” exhibited a definite need for upgrades and maintenance in one or more
areas. These homes have deteriorated to the extent that they have become an eyesore and are
negatively affecting the neighborhood. Many of the homes are beyond the need for basic
exterior improvements (painting, siding, and roofing) and could potentially be candidates for
demolition and replacement. These properties also exhibit problems beyond the structure itself,
with many properties having zoning and nuisance violations as well (accumulations of junk,
overgrown landscape, dilapidated accessory buildings, substandard lot areas, inadequate
setbacks). The needed improvements are major and would require substantial financial
resources to undertake. In addition, these homes are usually far below the average value of
other homes in the area and are considerably older.
The community was divided into eight sections or neighborhoods to analyze housing stock
densities, as shown in Figure 3-2. Odd numbered sections are located west of Central Avenue
and even numbered section are located east of Central Avenue, with 49th Avenue, 45th Avenue,
and 41st Avenue serving as north/south dividing points. The numbering starts left to right, top
to bottom with the northwest section of the community identified as Section 1, the northeast
section identified as Section 2, and so on. Table 3-15 summarizes the results of the windshield
survey for each of the eight neighborhoods or sections.

TABLE 3-15
WINDSHIELD SURVEY RESULTS BY SECTION (1996)

   Section           Homes              Rated Good          Rated Fair         Rated Poor
      1               615                24 (4.0%)         545 (88.5%)           46 (7.4%)
      2               651               453 (69.5%)        196 (30.1%)            2 (0.3%)
      3               579                40 (6.9%)         473 (81.7%)          66 (11.4%)
      4               582                12 (2.1%)         516 (88.7%)           54 (9.2%)
      5              1,135              204 (18.0%)        720 (63.4%)         211 (18.6%)
      6               755               352 (46.6%)        364 (48.2%)           39 (5.2%)
      7               664                50 (7.5%)         515 (77.6%)          99 (14.9%)
      8               798               106 (13.3%)        584 (73.2%)         108 (13.3%)
    Total            5,779             1,241 (21.5%)      3,913 (67.7%)        625 (10.8%)
Source: Housing Analysis and Inventory Summary




                                                 52
Figure 3-2: Housing Survey Districts




                                       53
In seven of the eight neighborhoods, the percentage of ho mes receiving a “fair” rating far
outweighed the percentage of homes that received a “good” rating. Although the “fair” rating
was applied to homes more liberally than the “poor” rating, it is obvious that the housing stock
in Columbia Heights is showing its age. The windshield survey data shows that the highest
percentage of “poor” housing conditions is located between 37th Avenue and 45th Avenue,
which is part of the oldest residential area in Columbia Heights. The percentage of “poor”
housing in this area is more than double the percentage of “good” housing.

The one neighborhood with a high percentage of homes with a “good” rating is located in the
northeastern portion of the community (Section 2), particularly around the Mathaire and
Innsbruck neighborhoods. This is not a surprise, since most of the homes in these two
subdivisions are newer, having been built in the 1970s and 1980s.

The age of housing is one cause for a home to enter into a deteriorated condition. Table
3-16 shows the age of the housing stock in Columbia Heights, both owner-occupied and rental
units. With 3,587 (65.6 percent) of the owner-occupied housing units built prior to 1960, the
majority of the housing stock is over 30 years of age.


TABLE 3-16
AGE AND OWNERSHIP OF DWELLING UNITS, 1990

    Year built        Owner occupied        Percent         Rental occupied          Percent
  1939 or earlier          966               17.7                160                   7.0
     1940-49               614               11.2                164                   7.1
     1950-59              2,007              36.7                458                  19.9
     1960-69              1,100              20.1                889                  38.6
     1970-79               299                5.5                357                  15.5
     1980-89               479                8.8                273                  11.9
      Total               5,465                                 2,301
Source: 1990 Census



Since the majority of “fair” and “poor” housing stock is located in the older portions of the
community, the relationship between housing age and housing condition is evident. In order to
encourage re- investment in properties rated “fair”, the City could sponsor a community- wide
program that would provide low interest loans to residents to upgrade these properties. If one or
two neighbors undertook some minor improvements and invested in their property through such
a program, it is likely that “fix up fever” will spread throughout the neighborhood. The
residents who fix up their homes will see an increase in their property values and will have a
vested interest in their property, neighborhood and community.

Since many of the homes rated “poor” are beyond the point of repair, replacement may be an
option. The City’s building inspections department has compiled a list of 110 properties that
are in a severely dilapidated and deteriorated state. Nearly 80 percent of the ho mes on this list
are more than 70 years old and all were rated as “poor” during the windshield survey. Many of
these homes are also non-conforming structures from a zoning standpoint, because of
substandard lot width, substandard lot area, and inadequate yard setbacks. The City has been
                                               54
successful in removing a few of the structures; however, more proactive work needs to be done
to see that these deteriorated homes are removed and new homes built in their place.


RENTAL INSPECTION PROCESS

The City of Columbia Heights Fire Department administers the Housing Maintenance Code and
Rental Licensing Inspection Program. The Housing Maintenance Code applies to all housing
within the community, including single family owner occupied and all types of rental hous ing;
however, only rental housing is inspected on a regular basis. Owner-occupied housing is not
inspected unless a complaint is received.

All rental housing units, including apartments within owner-occupied homes, require an
inspection by and license from the City. A license will be issued if the rental unit is found to be
in compliance and passes the inspection. If one or more violations are found, the unit will be re-
inspected until it passes. Each rental license is effective for one year with renewal required each
year; however, a rental license may be suspended or revoked upon a finding of noncompliance
with the Housing Maintenance Code.

As of April 1996, there were 162 licensed owner-occupied homes with one rental unit on the
property. The Fire Department thinks there are an additional 150-200 unlicensed units in
owner-occupied residential properties units throughout the community; however, the only way
of obtaining information on these properties is through police contact or through fire/emergency
responses. Many of these properties are also non-conforming from a zoning standpoint, as lot
area requirements for each unit have increased.

There were also 84 licensed single family structures where the entire home is rented, rather than
just a portion of the home. The Fire Department thinks there may also be an additional
100-150 unlicensed single- family homes throughout the community. Single family rentals are
identified through water billing, police contact, or through fire / emergency responses.

Two family rentals, otherwise known as duplexes, made up 228 of the licensed rental buildings
(456 rental units) in 1996. There are an additional 10-20 unlicensed two-family rental
dwellings throughout the City which are occupied by a family member which the Fire
Department believes should be licensed; however, the language of the code makes it
questionable whether or not this provision can be enforced.

The multiple family rental category includes all buildings with more than two rental units. In
April 1996, there were 136 units licensed in 3+ family rental properties and 150 units licensed
in two large apartment buildings. There are also 25 unlicensed structures in the community
(Labelle Park, University Heights, and Hidden Heights). These condominium buildings have a
total of 367 units, of which approximately 10 percent are rental units. The City has been
successful in licensing only three of these units.

As a rule, the number of code violations increase with the size of the building and the number of
rental units. Problem areas for multiple family rental dwellings deal with the overall structure
and maintenance of the building, both interior and exterior. Life-safety issues are also an on-
going issue, including problems with mice and insects, conversion of rooms into illegal sleeping
                                                55
rooms, combustible storage, blocked exitways, missing or disconnected smoke detectors (often
caused by the tenant), and missing fire protection (extinguishers, fire doors, etc). In general,
more effort is required to maintain compliance in the larger buildings and the property owners
are finding this to be a challenge.

The Fire Department also started inspecting the exterior condition of owner-occupied properties
within the community during the summer of 1995. This is an ongoing project that will
eventually cover approximately 35 blocks of the City. These inspections only address the
exterior of the principal structure, accessory structures on the property, and property
maintenance issues. Other inspections of single family owner-occupied homes are only
undertaken on a complaint basis.


HOUSING GOALS, POLICIES AND IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES

The following housing goals and corresponding policies have been developed for Columbia
Heights. Each goal includes numbered policies and bulleted implementation strategies that
correspond to each of the policies. These goals, policies and implementation strategies represent
a compilation of the housing plans developed in Housing Analysis and Inventory Summary
(1996) and Life Cycle Housing Study for the Year 2010 (1998), as well as the public comments
received during meetings held in preparation of the Comprehensive Plan.

Goal: Provide a variety of life cycle housing opportunities within the community.

1.     Provide sufficient housing opportunities so that residents who wish to live and work in
       Columbia Heights may do so.

       •   The City will implement its Housing Action Plan to provide a more flexible and
           balanced housing supply in accordance with the Liveable Communities Act goals
           agreement between Columbia Heights and the Metropolitan Council for the period
           1996 to 2010 (Appendix A).

       •   The City will continue to promote a diversity of housing opportunities in both
           publicly-assisted and private buildings.

       •   The City will encourage the development and redevelopment of a variety of housing
           types within the community.

       •   The City will support the development of housing options such as townhomes and
           condominiums.

       •   The City will support efforts to construct family-oriented multiple- family projects in
           the community.
       •   The City will support the upgrading of existing multi- family housing throughout the
           community.

       •   The City will target opportunities for the development of move- up housing types
           within the community.

                                               56
       •   The City will undertake efforts to maintain and improve the existing single family
           housing stock in the community.

       •   The City will foster partnerships with the private sector to help diversify housing in
           the community.

2.     Ensure that the community’s elderly residents and residents with special needs have
       safe, sanitary and affordable housing.

       •   The City will support attractive options to single- family detached housing for senior
           citizens.

       •   The City will promote the development of medium-density, owner-occupied and
           rental housing for empty nesters and other households seeking smaller more
           affordable housing options. Units vacated by these households will then provide
           new housing opportunities for larger households seeking move- up housing types.

3.     Protect the integrity of the existing housing stock.

       •   The City will explore the feasibility of implementing a point-of-sale housing code to
           ensure the structural and mechanical integrity of single-family homes.

       •   The City will continue to enforce the Uniform Building Code (UBC) as it applies to
           single family and multiple- family housing.

       •   The City will be proactive in the redevelopment of vacant and deteriorating
           residential structures.

       •   The City will identify non-conforming uses within residential districts and take
           actions to bring them into compliance.

Goal: Advocate housing efforts that attract and retain residents, especially young families.

1.     Increase the knowledge of residents regarding available housing programs.

       •   The City will publicize available housing programs to increase participation in the
           programs and disseminate information about housing issues and opportunities within
           the community.

       •   The City will continue to provide housing programs for first-time homebuyers.




                                                57
2.    Promote efforts to upgrade the single-family housing stock.

      •   The City will continue to distribute the housing rehabilitation plan book (Cape Cods
          and Ramblers: A Remodeling Handbook for Post WW II Houses), which provides
          guidance and design concepts for private individuals interested in rehabilitating
          single family residences.

Goal: Promote and preserve the single-family housing stock as the community’s strongest
asset.

1.    Enhance and maintain the quality and appearance of single- family neighborhoods and
      the housing stock.

      •   The City will acquire and demolish the most seriously deteriorated single- family
          homes and work with the private sector to develop appropriate replacement housing.

      •   The City will support the creation of infill single family housing on oversized lots in
          the southeast quadrant of the community.

      •   The City will acquire and assemble residential lots, as opportunities arise, for the
          purpose of developing infill housing.

      •   The City will support the upgrading and maintenance of older houses throughout the
          community.

2.    Reduce the potential adverse impacts of adjacent commercial or industrial land uses on
      single family residential areas.

      •   The City will develop regulations to require the installation of landscape buffers
          between single family residential areas and new or redeveloped
          commercial/industrial areas.

      •   The City will establish policies and identify potential financial resources for
          installing landscape buffers between single family residential areas and existing
          commercial/industrial areas.

      •   The City will develop a buffer plan to create buffer areas between dissimilar uses
          where possible, especially near Huset Park and along the Central Avenue and
          University Avenue corridors.

Goal: Strengthen areas of commercial and civic activity by introducing complementary
housing development.

1.    Support the inclusion of appropriate housing alternatives during redevelopment in
      mixed-use districts.

      •   The City will encourage the development of high-density housing adjacent to
          downtown (Central Avenue/40th Avenue commercial node) to bolster the
          downtown/civic core.


                                              58
      •   The City will study the potential development of medium- to high-density residential
          uses adjacent to Huset Park and within the Community Center area.

      •   The City will encourage the development of high-density housing adjacent to
          proposed light rail transit stations along University Avenue.

      •   The City will encourage the development and/or continuation multi- family housing
          near the Metro Transit hub at the intersection of Central Avenue and 41st Avenue.

Goal: Support high quality housing development and redevelopment projects.

1.    Require all multiple family housing development and redevelopment to meet the
      community’s high standards.

      •   The City shall amend the zoning ordinance to include design standards for high-
          density residential development that address building massing, parking location,
          access, traffic impact, landscaping, exterior architectural design, screening, trash
          handling, and parking ratios.

2.    Provide residential redevelopment opportunities where needed within established
      neighborhoods.

      •   The City will maintain an inventory of vacant and deteriorating housing stock within
          the community and make this list available to potential developers.

3.    Remove regulatory barriers to residential development and redevelopment within the
      community.

      •   The City will identify problematic and/or inconsistent housing-related sections
          within the zoning ordinance and subdivision regulations.

      •   The City will amend the zoning ordinance and subdivision regulations to create
          flexibility and encourage the development of a variety of housing types, such as the
          introduction of zero lot line development provisions for townhome development.

      •   The City will amend the zoning ordinance and official map to allow mixed-use
          planned developments that include medium and/or high density housing types along
          the Central Avenue corridor, within the Community Center area, along the
          40th Avenue corridor, and along the University Avenue corridor.

      •   The City will amend the zoning ordinance to allow renovation and upgrading of
          existing single family homes in order to increase home value, create the potential for
          life-cycle housing opportunities, and encourage families to stay in the community.




                                              59
4.   Financially support the improvement of housing within the community.

     •   The City will utilize tools such as revenue bonds, tax inc rements financing,
         Community Development Block Grant funds, and other public funding sources as
         may be available to assist in the development and redevelopment of housing.

     •   The City will pursue funding through the Livable Communities Demonstration
         Account to aid in the creation and enhancement of diverse housing opportunities.




                                          60
4.     SURFACE WATER MANAGEMENT PLAN
INTRODUCTION
The purpose of a surface water management plan is to set forth a framework to ensure the
conservation of water resources, prevention of flood damage, protection of surface water bodies
and natural watercourses, and maintenance and operation of storm water conveyance and
storage systems. The majority of the City of Columbia Heights is located within the Six Cities
Water Management Organization; however, the southeastern portion of the community is within
the Rice Creek Watershed District. This plan is consistent with the Columbia Heights Water
Resource Management Plan (1992), and responds to the second generation plans of the Six
Cities Watershed Management Organization Plan (1997, amended 2000) and the Rice Creek
Watershed District Plan (1997, amended 2000), as documented in Appendix B.

CLIMATE
The Twin Cities area, including Columbia Heights, has a continental-type climate because of its
proximity to the geographic center of North America. The area has moderate amounts of
precipitation, wide daily and seasonal temperature fluctuations, warm humid summers, and cold
winters.
Precipitation patterns are influenced by moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and occur as rain,
freezing rain, snow and hail. Annual normal precipitation is approximately 26.4 inches, of
which approximately two-thirds occurs during the summer months of May through September.
The annual snowfall in the Twin Cities area averages approximately 50 inches. On average,
snow depth is six inches for 40-45 days per year, and over 12 inches for 20 days per year.
Runoff from snowmelt can occur any time during the winter. The most severe snowmelt runoff
conditions usually occur in March and early April, especially when rain falls on top of the
snowpack.

TOPOGRAPHY
Most of Columbia Heights is rolling to hilly terrain with several small lakes and ponds.
Elevation of the City ranges from approximately 1,020 feet above mean sea level (1,020 msl)
near the Minneapolis Water Works property to approximately 850 feet above mean sea level
(850 msl) along the City’s southern border with Minneapolis.

GEOLOGY
The surficial geology of Columbia Heights consists of glacial and alluvial (outwash) deposits
which cover most of the community. The City of Columbia Heights is within the Grantsburg
Sublobe of the Des Moines Lobe. The Granstburg Sublobe deposited silty till that was
reworked by glacial meltwaters which converted much of the area within the community into a
sand plain, sandy lacustrine and valley train deposits. In the Columbia Heights’ portion of the
Sublobe, a till deposit is present as Hilltop Moraine. These glacial deposits, along with older
glacial deposits, range from 100 to 250 feet in thickness and are underlain by bedrock. These
glacial deposits were placed 12,500 to 14,000 years ago during the last period of glaciation in
the Twin Cities area.


                                              61
The texture and composition of the surficial materials are factors that affect permeability. Fine-
grained, densely packed till, for example, has low permeability and high water retention. In
these areas, high clay content increases the absorption properties and lessens the permeability.
In contrast, outwashes of relatively course- grained, well-sorted materials will have relatively
high permeability and low water retention ability. Changes in texture and composition of
materials may be gradual or abrupt. Local variations in surficial materials may not be apparent
within the City of Columbia Heights because urbanization and development have substantially
altered the surface soils; however, the Anoka County Soil Survey provides general guidance in
soil types throughout the City. According to the soil survey there are eight main soil classes
within the City: Zimmerman Complex; Hayden-Kingsley Complex; Dundas Complex; Lino
Complex; Hubbard Complex; Udorthents Wet Substratum; Urban Land; and Aquolls and
Histosols (ponded).

The bedrock underlying the surficial deposits is composed of sedimentary units that are part of
the Twin Cities Structural Basin. Several sandstone and limestone units are aquifers that are
separated by shale confining units.


LAND USE

The City of Columbia Heights is fully developed. The volume and rate of storm water runoff
from a watershed are affected by the land’s ability to absorb precipitation (perviousness), which
is directly related to land use. Because the greatest runoff volumes and rates will occur when
the community is fully developed, full development land use conditions were assumed in the
analysis of storm water quantity and quality.


SIX CITIES WATERSHED MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION PLAN

The Six Cities Watershed Management Organization Plan provides a plan for all watersheds
within the six cities, including the CFH South Subwatershed in Columbia Heights. Since this
watershed is completely developed with the exception of scattered lots, no significant changes
are anticipated to the existing storm water or drainage systems within Columbia Heights. The
applicable goals, policies, and implementation strategies found in the Six Cities WMO plan
have been incorporated into this plan.


RICE CREEK WATERSHED DISTRICT PLAN

The Rice Creek Watershed District Plan provides a plan for the Rice Creek Watershed District,
including that portion of the district in Columbia Heights. No significant changes to the
existing storm water or drainage systems are anticipated, since this portion of Columbia Heights
is fully developed with the exception of a few scattered residential lots. The applicable goals,
policies, and implementation strategies found in the RCWD plan have also been incorporated in
this plan.




                                               62
COLUMBIA HEIGHTS WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PLAN

The Columbia Heights Water Resources Management Plan is a guide for managing surface and
ground water resources within the community. The main purpose of the plan is to enable the
City to develop drainage facilities in a cost-effective manner while maintaining or improving
the quality of its water resources. The plan also includes an improvement program intended to
bring local water management into conformance with the Six Cities Watershed Management
Organization Plan and the Rice Creek Watershed District Plan.


WATERSHEDS

There are six major watersheds located within the corporate limits of Columbia Heights:

       Watershed      Drainage System                       WMO
       A              Labelle-Jackson Pond                  Six Cities WMO
       B              Clover Pond-Sullivan Lake             Six Cities WMO
       C              Highland Lake-Secondary Pond          Six Cities WMO
       D              Silver Lake                           Rice Creek Watershed District
       E-F-G          City of Minneapolis                   Six Cities WMO
       H              City of Fridley                       Six Cities WMO


Watershed D is located within the boundaries of the Rice Creek Watershed District, and the
other five are located within the boundaries of the Six Cities Watershed Management
Organization. Watershed C discharges ultimately into Tertiary Pond, which is located within
the City of Fridley. Tertiary Pond does not have an outlet and current plans are for it to remain
landlocked. Watershed E    -F-G is within the Six Cities WMO, but discharges into the City of
Minneapolis and the Middle Mississippi River WMO. Figure 4-1 illustrates the parameters of
the major and minor watersheds within the City of Columbia Heights.

The Columbia Heights Water Resources Management Plan also included a water quantity and
quality analysis, and current and projected water quantity and water quality problems were
identified based on these results. The analysis and problems are discussed by each of the six
major drainage systems within Columbia Heights.


SURFACE WATER RESOURCES

There are eight lakes and ponds within Columbia Heights, six of which are classified as
protected waters by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Many of the lakes
and ponds provide aesthetic and passive recreation for residents as well as storm water
management. There are also nine wetland areas within the community that perform critical
functions to preserve and improve the overall quality of surface water throughout Columbia
Heights. These functions include controlling nutrient transport, providing areas for stream
sedimentation, providing detention areas to reduce stream flow, providing recreational


                                               63
Figure 4-1: Watersheds (from Water Resource Management Plan)




                                         64
opportunities, and providing aesthetic and wildlife areas. Columbia Heights recognizes the
value of these wetland functions and will strive to protect wetland resources within the
community. As part of the Columbia Heights Water Resource Management Plan, a detailed
surface water inventory was conducted in 1992. At that time, the presence of Purple Loosestrife
was noted in both Silver Lake and Labelle Pond.
Table 4-1 provides an inventory of the lakes, ponds, and wetlands within Columbia Heights,
and includes the MnDNR classification/number, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
classification, the wetland classification, and whether or not there was a Purple Loosestrife
presence in 1992. Figure 4-2 shows the location of these surface water resources within the
community.

STORM WATER STORAGE AND CONVEYANCE FACILITIES
The storm water storage and conveyance patterns in Columbia Heights are shown in
Figure 4-3. This figure shows the areas draining into each storm water storage area and the
flow paths between them. Table 4-2 summarizes the following hydrological date for each
subwatershed: drainage area, curve number, and downstream subwatershed or receiving water.
Detention pond information in the table includes the following: normal water level; 5-, 10- and
100-year flood levels; storage volumes; and discharge rates. Comments specific to each
subwatershed listed in Table 4-2 are summarized in Table 4-3.

WATER QUANTITY ANALYSIS
Simulating the storm water system using a hydrologic model is important in determining the
adequacy of the existing system and to provide guidance in designing systems to handle surface
water runoff when the community is completely developed. A hydrologic model simulates the
rainfall-runoff process so that runoff rates and volumes from design storms can be estimated for
different storm water system configurations and land use conditions. The water quantity
analysis shown in Table IV was generated utilizing the Soil Conservation Service’s (SCS)
“TR-20” method and used the following criteria:

•   Drainage basin area
•   Runoff coefficient (curve number-CN) based on soil type and land use including cover type
•   Antecedent moisture condition (average condition II)
•   24-hour rainfall distribution (Type II)
•   24-hour precipitation amounts within Columbia Heights
    − 5-year eve nt:       3.52 inches
    − 10-year event        4.15 inches
    − 100-year event       5.88 inches
•   Travel time and/or time of concentration
•   Stage-storage-discharge curves for existing ponds/lakes



                                               65
Table 4-1: Wetlands Inventory Summary (from Water Resource Management Plan)




                                        66
Figure 4-2: Location of Wetlands (from Water Resource Management Plan)




                                          67
Figure 4-3: Storm water Storage and Conveyance Facilities (From Water Resource
Management Plan)




                                      68
Table 4-2: Hydrological Analysis Summary (from Water Resource Management Plan)




                                         69
Table 4-3: Comments of Hydrological/Hydraulic Data (From Water Resource Management
Plan)




                                       70
WATER QUANTITY RESULTS AND PROBLEM AREAS

This section provides a summary of the water quantity and any existing water quantity problems
for each of the six watersheds. Water quantity is defined as peak discharges for storm drain
flow, and as peak discharges and volume of storage required for ponds/lakes. Columbia
Heights is a fully developed city with the potential for future land use changes; therefore, the
water quantity analysis performed for present conditions is also considered applicable for future
conditions.

Watershed A - Labelle-Jackson Pond Drainage System (Six Cities WMO)

This watershed, located within the center one-third of the City along 44th Avenue, is the la rgest
watershed within the City with an area of approximately 1.76 square miles. The watershed is
drained by an extensive storm drain system that exits from the City at 45th Avenue and Main
Street and discharges storm water westerly to the Mississippi Rive r through a 78-inch pipe. The
three main storm sewer drains are as follows:

•   Forty-eighth Avenue/Monroe Street (Valley View Elementary and Middle Schools) west
    and south to 45th Avenue/Main Street;

•   Labelle Pond west along 44th Avenue through Jackson Pond to 45th Avenue/Main Street;
    and

•   Thirty-eighth Avenue/University north along University Avenue to 44th Avenue and north
    and west 45th Avenue/Main Street.

Labelle Pond and Jackson Pond serve as detention areas for storm water and reduce peak flows
in the storm water system. The following is a discussion of some of the drainage components in
this watershed, with an emphasis on those components with potential problems.

Labelle Pond, located at 41st Avenue east of Central Avenue, has a tributary drainage basin of
102 acres and a water surface area of approximately 7.4 acres at the normal water level of
923.3 msl. At the design high water level of 926.3 msl, the water surface area would be
approximately 9.2 acres. The water quantity analysis was performed assuming that the water
level was normal (923.3 msl). The calculated peak discharge from the pond for the 5-, 10- and
100-year storm events are 0.6 cfs, 3.8 cfs and 18.0 cfs, respectively. These flow rates can be
easily handled by the existing 24- inch discharge pipe. The pond water level would rise 1.8 feet,
2.1 feet and 2.7 feet for the 5-, 10- and 100-year storm events, respectively. The 100-year storm
event would create a water level of 926.0 msl, which is 0.3 feet below the design high water
level of 926.30 msl.

Jackson Pond, located southwest of the Jackson Street/44th Avenue intersection, has a tributary
drainage basin of 547 acres and a water surface area of approximately 1.6 acres at the normal
water level of 880.8 msl. At the berm level of 890.3 msl, the water surface area would be
approximately 2.3 acres. The water quantity analysis was performed assuming that the water
level is at 880.8 msl at the beginning of the storm, which means that the pond has 6.4 feet of
water from a recent storm. The analysis also assumed that the entire 547-acre drainage basin
would drain through the pond, and that discharge from the pond would be equal to the capacity
                                               71
of the 44th Avenue storm drain, which is approximately 176 cfs. Peak discharges from the
pond for the 5- year or greater storm event would be approximately 176 cfs. The pond level
would rise 6.9 feet, 10.0 feet and 14.1 feet for the 5-, 10- and 100- year storm events. The
respective water level elevations are 887.7, 890.8 and 894.9 msl. The computed water level
elevations indicated that the 5- and 10-year storm events will not create water levels higher than
either the Quincy Street or the 44th and 43rd Avenue low points. However, the 100- year storm
event will flood these streets and adjacent areas. The pond, constructed in the 1960s and
modified several times since, is located in the low point of a natural depression. The Columbia
Heights Flood Insurance Study establishes 896.2 msl as the 100-year flood level, which would
result in the flooding of approximately 30 structures. FEMA has recently reanalyzed Jackson
Pond and reestablished the 100- year flood level as the top of the berm around the pond.

The 44th Avenue Storm Drain begins at Labelle Pond, flows north to intersect 44th Avenue at
Tyler Place, flows west along 44th Avenue to Jackson Pond, flows west along 44th Avenue to
junction with a storm drain from the south along University Avenue, flows west along
44th Avenue to Main Street, flows north along Main Street to a storm drain junction at
45th Avenue and Main Street, and then flows west to the Mississippi River. The segment of the
storm drain from Jackson Pond to Main Street will carry approximately 176 cfs during the
5-, 10- and 100-year storm events. Some flows are decreased as pipe sizes are reduced along
the flow path and could result in some flooding at the Main Street intersections of 44th Avenue
and 45th Avenue. Flooding probably occurs for all storm events.

Watershed B - Clover Pond-Sullivan Lake Drainage System (Six Cities WMO)

This watershed, located along the northern boundary of the City, is the second largest watershed
in the City with an area of approximately 0.84 square miles. The watershed is drained by an
extensive storm drain system, which discharges at 53rd Avenue and University Avenue north to
the Mississippi River. The four main storm sewer drains are as follows:

•   Clover Pond west along the north City limit to Central Avenue and then west to Sullivan
    Pond;

•   Sullivan Lake at Sullivan           Drive/Washington      Street    west    and    north    to
    53rd Avenue/University Avenue;

•   49th Avenue/Jackson Street (Valley View Elementary and Central Middle Schools) north to
    Sullivan Pond at 51st Avenue/Jefferson Street; and

•   Innsbruck Parkway/Johnson Street west along 49th Avenue to Central Avenue and then
    north along Central Avenue to a junction with the Clover Pond storm sewer.

Clover Pond and Sullivan Lake serve as detention areas for storm water and reduce peak flows
in the storm sewer system. The following is a discussion of some of the drainage components in
this watershed, with an emphasis on those components with potential problems.

Clover Pond, located in the northeast corner of the City and to the northwest of Highland Lake,
has a contributory drainage basin of 18 acres and a water surface area of approximately
3.2 acres at the normal water level of 988.4 msl. The water quantity analysis was performed
                                               72
assuming that the water level is at discharge elevation or 988.4 msl. The peak discharges from
the pond for the 5-, 10- and 100-year storm eve nts are 3.7 cfs, 4.7 cfs and 7.1 cfs, respectively.
These flow rates can be easily handled by the existing discharge pipe. The pond level would
rise 2.1 feet, 2.7 feet and 4.7 feet for the 5-, 10- and 100- year storm events, respectively. The
100-year storm event would create a water level of 993.1 msl. A review of as-built plans
indicates that houses around this lake have been built above the computed 100-year water level
and flooding should not be a problem.

The Boundary Storm Drain (Clover Pond to Central Avenue) begins at Clover Pond, flows
north to the City boundary with the City of Fridley, and then flows west along the boundary line
to the junction with several storm drains at Central Avenue. The storm drain is located within a
drainage easement along the back line of properties within the City of Columbia Heights.
Several low spots exist in the terrain along the storm drain alignment. Storm water has
collected in these low spots in the past and this analysis indicates this will continue to be the
case. During all storm events analyzed, these low spots continued to collect water. Excess
water during the storm will overflow these low spots and flow west along the storm sewer
alignment to Central Avenue. The excess water will then collect at Central Avenue causing
flooding of the street and surrounding area. Several houses built within the City Fridley along
the north edge of these low spots have experienced flooding problems.

The Central Avenue to Sullivan Lake Storm Drain begins at the junction of several storm drains:
the Boundary storm drain from the east, the Central Avenue storm drain from the north and the
Central Avenue storm drain from the south. The outlet pipes at Central Avenue have a
combined capacity of approximately 335 cfs, which is less than the calculated 5-, 10- and
100-year peak runoffs. The calculated peak runoffs are 472 cfs, 616 cfs and 1,027 cfs,
respectively. The excess water should cause flooding at the storm drain junction on Central
Avenue.

                         ear
Sullivan Lake, located n the north City limits west of Central Avenue, has a contributory
drainage basin of 0.73 square miles and a water surface area of approximately 15.3 acres at
normal water level of 880.3 msl. At the design high water level of 884.3 msl, the water surface
area would be approximately 21.7 acres. The water quantity analysis was performed assuming
that the water level is normal (880.3msl) at the beginning of the storm event. The peak
discharges from the lake for the 5-, 10- and 100-year storm events are 29 cfs, 50 cfs and 130 cfs
respectively. The lake level would rise 2.6 feet, 3.2 feet and 4.6 feet for the 5-, 10- and
100-year storm events respectively. The 100-year storm event would create a water level of
884.9msl, which is 0.6 feet above the design high water level. Under full flow conditions, the
discharge pipe will handle 8.2 cfs, which is larger than the 5- and 10-year peak discharges. The
100-year peak discharge of 130 cfs would place the existing pipe systems under pressure flow.
This increased flow may cause minor flooding at downstream inlets. Furthermore, the 100- year
storm event would increase the lake level 0.6 feet above the design high water level and cause
the inundation of more land than anticipated by the original design.

The Sullivan Lake to 53rd Avenue/University Avenue Storm Drain begins at Sullivan Lake,
flows west along Sullivan Drive to 7th Street and 52nd Avenue, flows west along 52nd Avenue
to University Avenue, flows north along University Avenue to the north City boundary, and
then flows north to the Mississippi River. This storm drain, assuming full flow conditions, will
handle approximately 82 cfs. Calculated peak discharges at the 53rd Avenue/University
                                                73
Avenue intersection are 52 cfs, 84 cfs and 201 cfs for the 5-, 10- and 100-year storm events,
respectively. The existing storm drain system will handle the 5- and 10-year storm events while
the 100-year storm event will cause flooding of the street system.

Watershed C - Highland Lake-Secondary Pond Drainage System (Six Cities WMO)

This watershed, located in the northeast corner of the City, drains an area of approximately
0.50 square miles to a low spot that does not have an outlet. The watershed is drained by an
extensive storm drain system, which discharges into Highland Lake located in Kordiak Park.
Highland Lake and Secondary Pond serve as detention areas for storm water and reduce peak
flows in the storm sewer system. Tertiary Pond, located within the City of Fridley, functions as
a retention pond for this watershed because it is a low point in the drainage system and does not
have an outlet. The following is a discussion of some of the drainage components in this
watershed, with an emphasis on those components with potential problems.

Highland Lake, located in Kordiak County Park in the northeast corner of the City, has a
contributory drainage basin of 0.32 square miles and a surface water area of approximately
15.7 acres at normal water level of 996.1 msl. The water quantity analysis was performed
assuming that the water level is at 996.1 msl. The peak discharges from the lake for the
5-, 10- and 100-year storm events are 14 cfs, 16 cfs and 19 cfs, respectively. These flow rates
can be easily handled by the existing systems. The pond level would rise 1.1 feet, 1.5 feet and
2.7 feet for the 5-, 10- and 100-year storm events, respectively. The 100- year storm event
would create a water level of 998.8 msl. A review of the as-built plans indicates that the
100-year water level will encroach into the backyards of several houses located along the east
side of the lake and fronting onto West Upland Crest; however, the 100-year water level will
not result in flooding of any existing homes along the lake. The elevation of the lowest home
around the lake is approximately 1004.4 msl.

Secondary Pond is located north of Highland Lake on the boundary of Columbia Heights and
Fridley, and has a contributory drainage basin of 0.33 square miles and a water surface area of
approximately 2.0 acres at normal water level. The water quantity analysis was performed
assuming that the water level is at the invert of the discharge pipe, which is 991.8 msl. The
peak discharges from the lake for the 5-, 10- and 100-year storm events are 14 cfs, 15 cfs and
19 cfs, respectively. These flo w rates can be easily handled by the existing outlet structure.
The pond level would rise 2.1 feet, 2.3 feet and 2.9 feet for the 5-, 10- and 100-year storm
event, respectively. The 100-year storm event would create a water level of 994.7 msl.




                                               74
Tertiary Pond, located northeast of Secondary Pond and within the City of Fridley, has a
contributory basin of 0.50 square miles ands a water surface area of 1.1 acres at normal water
level (area was measured from May 1989 aerial maps of the City). This pond, which is located
at the low point of the drainage basin and has no outlet, serves as the final retention area for the
watershed. The water quantity analysis was performed assuming that the water level is
940.0msl. The peak inflow to the lake including overland and storm drain flow is estimated to
be 151 cfs, 206 cfs and 369 cfs for the 5-, 10- and 100-year storm events, respectively. The
pond level would rise 15.8 feet, 18.1 feet and 23.3 feet for the 5, 10- and 100-year storm events,
respectively. The 100- year storm event would create a water level of 963.3 msl. The large
contributory drainage area and the small storage volume will produce large fluctuations in water
levels for this pond. It is expected that flooding of homes adjacent to Tertiary Pond could occur
for the 10- year storm event and probably will occur for the 100- year storm event. The elevation
of the lowest home around the pond is approximately 957.3 msl.

Watershed D - Silver Lake Drainage System (Rice Creek Watershed District)

This watershed, located in the southeast corner of Columbia Heights, drains approximately
0.45 square miles of the City to Silver Lake. This watershed also drains a portion of the City of
St. Anthony, which is located to the east of Columbia Heights. The watershed is drained by an
extensive storm drain system that runs along the City’s east boundary with the City of
St. Anthony. The four main storm sewers drain as follows:

•   45th Avenue/Stinson Boulevard south along Stinson Boulevard to Silver Lake;

•   45th Avenue/Tyler Street south and east to Silver Lake;

•   Hart Lake east and north to Silver Lake; and

•   39th Avenue/Alley located east of Polk Street, northeast and east along 40th Avenue to a
    junction with the Hart Lake storm sewer near 40th Avenue/McKinley Street.

Hart Lake serves as a detention area for storm water in this watershed. The following is a
discussion of some of the drainage components in this watershed, with an emphasis on those
components with potential problems.

There are two major Storm Sewers Draining the Area North of Silver Lake. These two
storm sewers enter the lake with a combined capacity of 40 cfs. This is less than the calculated
5-, 10- and 100- year peak runoffs of 108 cfs, 147 cfs and 263 cfs. Some of the excess water
may be temporarily stored in low spots not accounted for in the analysis, with the remainder
flowing to Silver Lake as overland flow and street flow.

Hart Lake, located east of Hayes Street between 37th and 39th Avenues, has a contributory
drainage basin of 0.04 square miles and a surface water area of 8.2 acres at the normal water
level (area was measures from May 1989 aerial maps of the City). The water quantity analysis
was performed assuming that the water level is at the invert elevation or 950.0 msl. The peak
discharges from the lake for the 5-, 10- and 100-year storm events are 1 cfs, 2 cfs and 3 cfs.
The lake level would rise 0.4 feet, 0.5 feet and 0.8 feet for the 5-, 10- and 100-year storm
events, respectively. The 100-year storm event would create a water level of 950.8 msl. As
                                                75
shown by the calculations, flooding around this lake should not be a problem due to its large
size in comparison to the small area of the drainage basin. Thirty-one percent of the
contributory drainage basin is occupied by the lake.

There are two major Storm Sewers Draining the Area South of Silver Lake. These two storm
sewers are combined at the junction near the intersection of 40th Avenue and McKinley Street
and drain to Silver Lake. In addition to Hart Lake, substantial storage areas are present north of
39th and 40th Avenue between Hayes Street and Arthur Street. The water quantity analysis
indicates that the peak discharges entering the lake for the 5-, 10- and 100-year storm events are
130 cfs, 175 cfs and 300 cfs. The 5-year peak runoff will be handled by the storm sewer
systems, but the 10- and 100-year peak runoff rates will be conveyed to the lake within the
existing street system and overland where possible. Some of the excess water will be temporary
stored in low spots not accounted for in the analysis.

Watersheds E-F-G - City of Minneapolis Drainage System (Six Cities WMO)

These watersheds, located at the southern boundary of the City, drain an area of approximately
0.53 square miles. The watersheds are drained by an extensive system of storm drains that
discharge south into the Minneapolis storm sewer system at eight locations. From west to east,
these connections along 37th Avenue are at University Avenue, 5th Street, Madison Place, mid-
block between Reservoir Boulevard and Tyler Street, Tyler Street, just west of Pierce Street,
Johnson Street and Hayes Street. The following is a discussion of some of the drainage
components in these watersheds, with an emphasis on those components with potential
problems.

Watershed E is further divided into subwatersheds, one for each major discharge point.
Subwatershed E1 has contributory area of 0.08 square miles and drains to two discharge storm
drains on 37th Avenue - one at mid-block between Reservoir Boulevard and Tyler Street, and
one on Tyler Street. The combined peak discharges from these two points are 88 cfs, 117 cfs
and 204 cfs for the 5-, 10- and 100-year storm events, respectively. The discharge capacity at
Tyler Street is approximately 33 cfs; therefore, flooding will occur at 37th Avenue for all storm
events analyzed.

Subwatershed E2 has a contributory area of 0.04 square miles and drains to the discharge storm
drain at 37th Avenue and Pierce Street. The peak discharges to this point are 38 cfs, 51 cfs and
92 cfs for the 5-, 10- and 100-year storm events, respectively. The discharge capacity at Pierce
Street is approximately 4 cfs; therefore, flooding will occur on 37th Avenue for all storm events
analyzed.

Subwatershed E3 has a contributory area of 0.03 square miles and drains to the discharge storm
drain at 37th and Johnson Street. The peak discharges to this point are 22 cfs, 30 cfs and 54 cfs
for the 5-, 10- and 100-years storm events. The discharge capacity at Johnson Street is
approximately 8 cfs; therefore, flooding will occur on 37th Avenue for all storm events
analyzed.

Subwatershed E4 has a contributory area of 0.01 square miles and drains to a storm sewer inlet
at 37th Avenue and Johnson Street. The peak discharges to this point are 14 cfs 19 cfs and
34 cfs for the 5-, 10- and 100- yea storm events, respectively. It is likely that flooding will occur
                                                 76
on 37th Avenue for all storm events analyzed, due to the limited capacities of storm sewer inlets
in the area and the capacity of the discharge pipe.

Watershed F has a contributory area of 0.04 square miles and drains to the discharge storm
drain at 37th Avenue and Madison Place. The peak discharges to this point are 61 cfs, 76 cfs
and 118 cfs for the 5-, 10- and 100-year storm events, respectively. The capacity of the storm
drain is 35 cfs. This capacity is less than the peak discharges for all storm events analyzed and
flooding within the watershed is anticipated. As-built plans indicate that detention storage will
occur at the headwater of the storm drain system, which located on 38th Place. This storage
was not accounted for in the runoff analysis.

Watershed G has a contributory area of 0.33 square miles and drains to the discharge storm
drain at 37th Avenue and 5th Street. The peak discharges to this point are 331 cfs, 425 cfs and
690 cfs for the 5-, 10- and 100-year storm events, respectively. The capacity of the storm drain
is 220 cfs. This capacity is less than the peak discharges for all storm events analyzed and
flooding within the watershed is anticipated. A substantial portion of the runoff flows through
Huset Park, which has experienced flooding during peak runoff events. Flooding problems
have also been experienced along 39th Avenue at Jackson Street and Van Buren Street. Storm
water storage within the park was not included in the analysis; therefore, the actual peak flows
may be less than those predicted by the model.

Watershed H – City of Fridley Drainage System (Six Cities WMO)

This watershed, located in the southwest corner of the City, drains an area of approximately
0.12 square miles. The watershed is drained by a storm sewer that exits from the City at
39th Avenue and California Street and discharges storm water westerly to the Mississippi River.
The water quantity analysis indicates that the peak discharges for the 5-, 10- and 100-year storm
events are 55 cfs, 87 cfs and 188 cfs, respectively. Assuming a full flow condition, the capacity
of the storm drains flowing to the intersection is 34 cfs, while the capacity of the discharge pipe
is greater than 180 cfs. The existing upstream storm drain system will not handle the flow from
any storm event analyzed; however, pressurized flow conditions would increase the capacity of
the upstream system. Runoff that cannot be handled by the storm drain system will flow within
the streets to the low points within the watershed. The as-built plans show that there are mid-
block low points between 39th and 39th Avenues on California Street, Main Street and
2nd Street. Due to the undersized pipes, some flooding may occur at these low points during
major storm events.




                                                77
RECOMMENDED WATER QUANTITY IMPROVEMENTS

The Columbia Heights Water Resource Management Plan also included preliminary
recommendations on drainage improvements that could be implemented to alleviate some of the
water quantity problems. These recommendations are summarized by watershed.

Watershed A - Labelle Pond-Jackson Pond Drainage System (Six Cities WMO)

The main storm drain system within this watershed begins at Labelle Pond, drains north and
west to Jackson Pond, drains west along 44th Avenue, drains north along Main Street and then
drains westerly from 45th Avenue/Main Street intersection to the Mississippi River. The two
water quantity problem spots identified alo ng this storm drain are Jackson Pond and along Main
Street from 44th to 45th Avenue.

Jackson Pond is located in a low spot and historically the area around the pond has experienced
flooding. The 100- year flood level established by the Columbia Heights Flood Insurance Study
would result in flooding of approximately 30 structures. Both structural and nonstructural
methods are available to deal with the flooding problem.

A nonstructural method would require the purchase of flood insurance by those affected by the
flooding. A flood insurance study has been completed for the City; therefore, those properties
shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) to be within an established floodplain are
eligible for flood insurance. There would be no cost to the City for this insurance. Even though
a structural solution may be selected in the future, the purchase of flood insurance by private
property owners for the present possibility of flooding should be encouraged by the City.

Two structural methods that would remove the threat of flooding are to provide additional
downstream storm drain capacity and/or to acquire some of the structures subject to flooding
and construct additional detention volume on those properties. The capacity of the existing
storm drain system is fairly constant for a considerable distance downstream of Jackson Pond to
University Avenue. Improving the capacity of the downstream storm drain would most
probably require the construction of an additional storm drain from Jackson Pond to the
Mississippi River. This would require the construction of at least one mile of storm drain just to
the west and an additional ½ mile of storm drain westerly to the Mississippi River outfall. The
value of the potentially affected structures would render an unfavorable cost/benefit ratio;
therefore, it is concluded that the increase in capacity should not be pursued.

Increasing the detention volume to minimize the flooding around Jackson Pond could be
accomplished by acquiring some of the structures subject to flooding and constructing another
pond or expanding Jackson Pond. The detention basin could be constructed as a dry basin to
allow its use as another City park. Three benefits that would occur with additional detention
storage are: 1) structures sub ject to flooding would be removed from the floodplain; 2) another
City park could be created; and 3) downstream flooding at Main Street would be alleviated. It
is recommended that the feasibility of this solution be further explored to determine the
cost/benefit ratio.

As stated previously, the size of the University Avenue to Main Street/45th Avenue storm drain
is reduced from a 60- inch east of University Avenue to 54- inch, 42- inch, and 48- inch between
                                               78
University Avenue and the Main Street/45th Avenue intersection. Historically, flooding has
occurred in this segment of reduced pipe size. The flooding could be minimized or eliminated
for small storm events by adding an additional storm drain along this street segment; however,
the 5-, 10-, and 100-year storm events would still cause flooding in this segment of pipe unless
the pipe size was increased the entire distance to the Mississippi River. Again, the cost/benefit
ratio may not be favorable for adding another pipe and additional detention volume at Jackson
Pond may be more cost-effective.

Another possible method that could be considered to alleviate flooding along this section of
storm drain is the construction of an additional detention basis. A possible location for the
detention pond could be south of 44th Avenue between 2nd Street NE and 3rd Street NE within
Gauvitte Park. Storm water from Jackson Pond and areas south along University Drive could
be discharged to the proposed pond and the pond volume and outlet could be designed to limit
outflow to the downstream pipe capacity. It is recommended that the construction of an
additional detention basin in this area be further explored to determine its feasibility.

Watershed B - Clover Pond-Sullivan Lake Drainage System (Six Cities WMO)

The main storm drain system within this watershed begins at Clover Pond, drains north to the
north City limit, drains west along the north City limit to Central Avenue, and then drains west
through Sullivan Lake Park into Sullivan Lake. The discharge from Sullivan Lake drains west
and north to the 53rd Avenue/University Avenue intersection and then drains north to the
Mississippi River. The two water quantity problem spots identified along this storm drain are
the Boundary Storm Drain between Clover Pond and Central Avenue and the storm drain
junction at Central Avenue located between 51st and 52nd Avenues.

The Boundary Storm Drain (Clover Pond to Central Avenue) is located along the City boundary
with the City of Fridley within a drainage easement along the back lot lines of a number of
Columbia Heights’ residents. Existing depressions along this storm drain collect water and
cause flooding of several houses in Fridley along the north side of the storm drain. The existing
storm drain does not have enough capacity for the runoff peaks from the 5-, 10-, and 100-year
storm events. This flooding problem could be solved by either installing a larger storm drain or
by flood-proofing the houses with potential flooding problems.

Correcting the flooding problem by installing another storm drain would require the installation
of a new line all the way to Sullivan Lake, since the storm runoff calculations indicated that a
flooding problem also exists along this line at Central Avenue. This solution would require the
construction of approximately one-half mile of new storm drain, which would be very
expensive. Improvements to alleviate the flooding problems in this area have recently been
further investigated in cooperation with the City of Fridley. The recommended solution is to
perform grading work in the area to eliminate the existing depressions and drain excess storm
water to Central Avenue.

Regarding the storm drain junction at Central Avenue between 51st and 52nd Avenues, the
TR-20 analysis indicates that flooding should occur at this storm drain junction for the 5-, 10-,
and 100-year storm events. The model did not consider scattered upstream storage in
determining these peak discharges and, therefore, these peak discharges may be higher than
actual. Correcting the potential problem would be very expensive because it would require the
                                               79
installation of additional inlets near the junction and 1,377 feet of new storm drain from Central
Avenue to Sullivan Lake. Unless a historical record of flooding can be proven, it is
recommended that no improvements be installed.

Watershed C - Highland Lake-Secondary Pond Drainage System (Six Cities WMO)

An extensive storm drain system collects and conveys the runoff from 0.32 square miles to
Highland Lake, which is drained to Secondary Pond by a storm drain system. Secondary Pond,
which is located on the north City boundary with the City of Fridley, is drained by a storm drain
to Tertiary Pond. Tertiary Pond, which does not have an outlet, is located in the City of Fridley.
A water quality concern associated with these three bodies of water is the regulation of the
water levels to prevent flooding of houses located around the lakes and ponds. During the
100-year peak runoff, untimely operation of the control structures could c      ause flooding of
houses around all of these water features.

The water quality analysis, performed with the assumption that the gates were open on the two
upstream lakes, indicates that the 100-year runoff would raise water levels by 2.7 feet at
Highland Lake, 2.9 feet at Secondary Pond, and 23.3 feet at Tertiary Pond. Based upon these
100-year water levels, flooding of homes would occur around Secondary Pond and Tertiary
Pond. During a 100- year storm event, it may be desirable to limit overflow from Highland Lake
to prevent or minimize downstream flooding in Secondary Pond and Tertiary Pond.

The normal water level of Highland Lake, which is located in Kordiak County Park, is
controlled by the City of Columbia Heights. The normal water level in Secondary Pond is
controlled by the City of Columbia Heights in cooperation with the City of Fridley. Proper
control of these water levels is necessary to prevent or minimize the potential flooding of
houses around these lakes. It is recommended that additional studies be made of these lakes and
that an operation manual be written to assure proper operation of the outlet control structures.

A critical time in flood control with Highland Lake, Secondary Pond and Tertiary Pond will be
right after a 100-year storm event. Another large storm event right after a 100-year storm event
could cause substantial flooding of all three of the lakes; therefore, it became necessary to
provide an additional outlet from Highland Lake to drain off the excess water immediately after
a large storm event. In 1996, a diversion pipe was constructed from Highland Lake to Clover
Pond to provide additional water for Clover Pond. This alleviated a potential flooding problem
and provided relief for a water quality problem on Clover Pond. The construction of the
diversion pipe was coordinated with the 52nd Avenue Floodway Project to avoid the creation of
additional flooding problems downstream of Clover Pond.




                                               80
Watershed D - Silver Lake Drainage System (Rice Creek Watershed District)

Drainage from the portion of the watershed area within the City of Columbia Heights is toward
Silver Lake by an extensive system of storm drains. The TR-20 analysis indicates that the
storm drain that begins at the 45th Avenue/Tyler Street intersection and flows south and east to
Silver Lake is undersized for peak runoffs from the 5-, 10-, and 100-year storm events. The
other storm drains will handle the peak runoffs from the 5- year storm event. Substantial
scattered storage that exists in this watershed was not accounted for in the model; therefore,
unless there has been some historical record of flooding, it is recommended that the system be
maintained as it currently exists. If the low spots that currently exist are re-graded to drain, it
may be necessary to increase the capacity of the current drainage system.

Watersheds E-F-G - City of Minneapolis Drainage System (Six Cities WMO)

These watersheds drain the areas along the southern boundary of the City south to 37th Avenue
and into the City of Minneapolis Drainage System. All pipes are undersized for peak runoffs
from the 5-, 10-, and 100-year storm events. Flooding has been experienced in the past along
37th Avenue at Buchanan Street and Lincoln Street, and it is expected that flooding will occur
at other locations along 37th Avenue during the major storm events. Since these storm drains
discharge to a system within the City of Minneapolis, it would be very expensive to increase the
size of the system. Unless extensive historical flooding has created significant problems in the
area, it is recommended that no changes be made to the system at this time.

Some flooding relief could be accomplished for the storm drain system that discharges at the
37th Avenue/5th Street intersection by constructing a detention basin within Huset Park. It is
recommended that a study be undertaken to determine the feasibility of the construction of a
detention basin in this area to alleviate historical flooding problems along 39th Avenue.

Watershed H - City of Fridley Drainage System (Six Cities WMO)

Flooding may occur at the mid-block low points between 38th and 39th Avenues on California
Street, Main Street, and 2nd Street during major storm events. The storm drains in this location
drain to a 54- inch pipe that discha rges to the Mississippi River from the California
Street/39th Avenue intersection. The 54- inch pipe has the available capacity to allow the
installation of additional inlets or to increase lateral pipe sizes as necessary to alleviate any
localized flooding problems.


WATER QUALITY ANALYSIS

A developed watershed can export large amounts of phosphorous and other nutrients into
downstream receiving waters. Scientific literature supports the theory that wetlands and wet
detention basins can improve water quality of storm water by trapping and removing nutrients
before they reach downstream receiving waters. The wetland and wet detention basins within
the City of Columbia Heights were evaluated using design criteria developed under the United
States Environmental Protection Agency’s Nationwide Urban Runoff Program (NURP). The
PONDNET water quality model developed by William Walker (Walker, 1989) was used to
access the phosphorous removal efficiency of basins within the City. The PONDNET model
                                                81
was developed using data from NURP and incorporated typical hydrological conditions of the
Minneapolis/St. Paul Area. The model provides an estimate of the phosphorous removal
obtained from the routing of urban storm water runoff through wet detention basins. Wetlands
and constructed detention basins can also serve to enhance the overall quality of storm water
runoff by providing areas for settling particulate matter and biological activities which remove
nutrients from the water column.


WATER QUALITY RESULTS AND PROBLEM AREAS

Limited data are available on the quality of the water resources within Columbia Heights.
Results of the PONDNET modeling indicate that the wetland and water bodies within Columbia
Heights receive a substantial amount of nutrients and sediment from their tributary watersheds.
Several of the larger ponds and lakes remove substantial amounts of nutrients from their direct
tributary watershed; however, the majority of storm water runoff within the City does not
receive treatment in the wet detention areas.

The process of lake or pond degradation is called eutrophication. It is the process whereby
lakes and ponds accumulate nutrients from their watersheds. Over time, a lake or pond
naturally becomes more fertile, and is converted from an “oliotrophic” (nutrient poor) to a
“eutrophic” (nutrient rich) status. The sediment and internal biological production fill the lake’s
basin and the lake successively becomes a pond, a marsh and, ultimately, a terrestrial site. The
rate of this eutrophication process can be greatly accelerated by human activity. The conversion
of land from its natural state to industrial, agricultural and urban land uses can greatly increase
the rate and amount of nutrients that will run off a watershed. This process is called cultural
eutrophication.

Many of Columbia Heights' small lakes and ponds are in danger of eutrophication at an
increased rate because of the urbanization of the City. While wetlands are recognized as
important areas for improving storm water quality, utilizing naturally occurring wetlands and
ponds for sedimentation and water quality basins exclusively can result in degraded wildlife and
aesthetic values of these wetlands. Maintenance activities, which are generally required of
constructed sedimentation and water quality basins (such as dredging) are more difficult and
expensive to perform in natural wetlands. Efforts should be made to incorporate sedimentation
basins upstream of wetlands in order to facilitate maintenance and protect values of existing
wetlands.

The majority of the storm water within the City does not receive treatment to NURP criteria.
Existing wet detention areas within the City are natural lakes and ponds that are primarily used
for storm water control. Given the developed nature of the City, there are limited possibilities
to create additional wet detention areas; therefore, the City should focus on preventing
pollutants from entering the storm water by implementing best management practices. A list of
these practices can be found in Appendix E of the original document Columbia Heights Water
Resource Management Plan (1992) or in the publication Protecting Water Quality in Urban
Areas (1989) by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.




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The following is a summary of existing and potential water quality problems for each of the
eight lakes or ponds within the community, by watershed and drainage system.

Watershed A - Labelle Pond-Jackson Pond Drainage System (Six Cities WMO)

Labelle Pond is used for aesthetic enjoyment, and the City of Columbia Heights has no current
plans for upgrading its use. The pond is classified as eutrophic, and algae blooms and odor
have been a problem for some years. An augmentation well on the west side of the pond north
of 40th Avenue provides an additional water source for the pond.

Jackson Pond is a constructed storm water detention pond; therefore, it is primarily used for
reducing storm water discharge rates. The City has no other intended uses for the pond.
Jackson Pond has a low aesthetic or wildlife value.

Watershed B - Clover Pond-Sullivan Lake Drainage System (Six Cities WMO)

Clover Pond has experienced low water during periods of drought. The current water quality of
the pond is eutrophic and improvement of the water quality for other than aesthetic uses is not
planned. An augmentation well on the south end of the pond provides an additional water
source for the pond.

Sullivan Lake is mildly eutrophic and algae bloom and odors have potential to be a problem.
The lake is closely related to the surrounding groundwater and water levels remain stable, even
during times of drought. Where practical, efforts should be made to limit the amount of
nutrients entering the lake to ensure that algae and odor problems do not worsen.

Watershed C - Highland Lake-Secondary Pond Drainage System (Six Cities WMO)

Several studies have been performed on Highland Lake to determine measures for water quality
improvement. Currently, there is an aeration system operating on the lake that is maintained by
Anoka County. The lake is shallow and high in nutrients; therefore, water quality problems
most likely result from substantial inputs of storm water from its tributary watershed.

Secondary Pond is eutrophic, and the value of the pond is primarily flood control and aesthetic
enjoyment. Water quality goals should be to prevent nuisance algae blooms and odors;
however, no serious water quality problems have been reported.

Watershed D - Silver Lake Drainage System (Rice Creek Watershed District)

Hart Lake is considered to be of marginal value for water quality treatment. Given its small
size, shallow depth and urban watershed, little water quality improvements can be expected.
Efforts should be focused on maintaining existing water quality and preventing future problems.




                                              83
Silver Lake is classified as a fisheries lake. Water quality problems in the Columbia Heights
portion of Silver Lake’s watershed would result primarily from inadequate treatment of storm
water runoff prior to discharge into the lake. Efforts should be made to provide wet detention
areas or other improvements where practical.
In 1999 and 2000, the City participated in a joint study through Ramsey County for an
evaluation of the Silver Lake Watershed. The City also participated in a project with the
Minnesota DNR in 1999 to install an aeration system in Silver Lake, which the City now
maintains and operates.
In addition, efforts have been made for wet detention in this tributary area. In 1998 and 1999, a
detention pond was installed in Prestemon Park (McKinley at 39th Avenue). A permit was
granted by the RCWD in 1998.
Watersheds E-F-G - City of Minneapolis Drainage System (Six Cities WMO)
There are no lakes or ponds in the City of Minneapolis Drainage System watershed.
Watershed H - City of Fridley Drainage System (Six Cities WMO)
There are no lakes or ponds within the City of Fridley Drainage System watershed.

SURFACE WATER MANAGEMENT GOALS,POLICIES AND IMPLEMENTATION
STRATEGIES
The following surface water management goals have been developed for Columbia Heights.
Each goal includes numbered policies and bulleted implementation strategies that correspond to
each of the policies. These goals and policies are consistent with the Columbia Heights Water
Resource Management Plan (1992), and respond to the second generation plans of the Six Cities
Watershed Management Organization Plan (1997, amended 2000) and the Rice Creek
Watershed District Plan (1997, amended 2000), as documented in Appendix B
Goal: Control flooding and minimize public capital expenditures.
1.     Provide for the detention and retention of surface water runoff.
       •   The City will utilize natural storm water storage areas and manmade detention areas
           to control flooding.
       •   The City will utilize the storage capacity of the natural drainage system to control
           rates of runoff.
       •   The City will consider the financial feasibility of constructing improvements to the
           storm water system in order to alleviate some of the water quantity problems
           outlined in this plan.
2.     Maintain the storm water storage and conveyance facilities.
       •   The City will implement street sweeping a minimum of twice per year - once
           immediately following spring snowmelt to remove sand and other debris, and once
           in the fall after leaves have dropped to remove accumulated debris.
       •   The City will periodically inspect all intakes for damage and remove debris.



                                               84
     •   The City will periodically inspect all special outlet structures, including skimmers,
         for proper operation and for accumulation of debris and oils. Debris and oil will be
         removed to assure proper functioning and to prevent re-suspension.

     •   The City will periodically inspect grit chambers and catch basins for sediment
         accumulation, and remove sediment if a sump is more than half full of sediment.

     •   The City will periodically inspect sediment accumulation of storm water storage
         areas and at pond outlets and remove any excess sediment, including animal activity
         that may impair the outlet or storage capacity of the facility.

     •   The City will inspect the drainage system after flood events of the 10- year
         recurrence or greater, including checking water levels, inspecting pond slopes for
         slope failure, inspecting intakes for damage and debris accumulation, and
         performing any necessary maintenance.

3.   Provide guidelines for management of landlocked drainage basins.

     •   The City will require the flood levels established for landlocked basins to take into
         consideration the effects of water level fluctuations on trees, vegetation, and erosion
         ands property values. Steeply sloped shoreland subject to slope failure and shoreline
         damage should not be in contact with floodwaters for extended periods of time.

     •   The City will require the capacity of proposed outlets to landlocked basins to not be
         so small as to cause extended duration of high water levels that would result in
         damage to upland vegetation.

     •   The City will allow only the existing tributary area to discharge to a landlocked
         basin, unless a provision has been made for an outlet from the basin. The form of
         outlet may range from temporary pumps to gravity storm sewers. The outlet must be
         implemented before increased water levels are likely to affect vegetation, slope
         stability and property values.

     •   The City will require that placing outlets on previously landlocked basins will not
         create significant impacts on downstream water levels and flow rates, and no
         wetlands are dewatered as a result of outlet installation.
4.   Establish standard hydrological design criteria for all storm water conveyance and
     storage facilities.

     •   The City will require trunks (outflow conveyors) to be designed with capacity for the
         greater of the 10- year event or the 100-year detention basin outflow.

     •   The City will require all other systems to be designed with primary capacity for the
         10-year event, and provide secondary capacity for the 100-year event in the form of
         overflow routes or adequate storage volume.

     •   The City will require a hydrographic method to be used in the design of detention
         basins and other facilities (such as wetlands) where there is significant storage.


                                             85
     •   The City will require an SCS Type II 24-hour storm, 10-day snow melt or other
         accepted critical storm analysis to be considered in determining the critical event for
         storm water storage areas.

     •   The City will require all drainage system analysis and designs to be based on the
         ultimate full development land use patterns.

     •   The City will require detention facilities design to include access for maintenance of
         the outlet structure and the facility in general.

     •   The City will require the provision of emergency outflows or outlets to drainage
         areas for any landlocked area if the available storm water capacity is inadequate to
         prevent flooding of residences.

     •   The City will require storm water facilities to consider and identify location of
         overflow(s) that prevent property damage to adjacent properties from extreme water
         levels.

5.   Provide a 100-year level of protection for all properties within the community.

     •   The City will require detention areas to be designed for the 100-year event where
         practical.

     •   The City will require the purchase of flood insurance for low- lying properties if the
         adjacent detention area cannot be designed for the 100- year event.

     •   The City will manage land use constraints along open channels, storm sewer
         overflow areas, depressions, wetlands and lakes based on their respective 100-year
         flood levels, as computed in preparation of the Columbia Height Water Resource
         Management Plan.

     •   The City will amend the zoning ordinance to update the floodplain overlay district
         requirements.

6.   Reduce public capital expenditures necessary to control excessive volumes and rates of
     runoff.

     •   The City will continue its efforts to institute a storm water utility to provide funds
         necessary for the construction of storm water facilities.

7.   Promote the development of regional detention areas, as opposed to individual on-site
     detention.

     •   The City will adopt policies that allows and encourages the development of regional
         detention ponds.



                                             86
       •   The City will require new development to incorporate storm water controls to
           prevent any increase in peak discharge rates unless increased discharge is provided
           for in an approved regional ponding suite, and flood storage volumes shall be
           maintained within the subwatershed.

Goal: Achieve water quality standards consistent with the intended use and classification.

1.     Identify and protect surface waters classified as protected waters.

       •   The City has identified all protected waters within the community and developed a
           map showing the location of these protected waters, a copy of which is ava ilable in
           the Community Development Department.

2.     Protect wetlands and surface water from deterioration.

       •   The City will adhere to best management practices as outlined in Protecting Water
           Quality in Urban Areas, published by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
           (MPCA).

       •   The City will amend the zoning ordinance to include a shoreland management
           overlay district, as required by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
           (DNR).

       •   The City will require future outlets to DNR protected waters to pass through a
           sediment pond/trap prior to discharge into the public water.

       •   The City will require the maintenance of a naturally vegetated buffer strip adjacent
           to the water body wherever possible.

3.     Promote public awareness of water quality issues.

       •   The City will support the Six Cities Watershed Management Organization’s
           community education efforts.

       •   The City will support the Rice Creek Watershed District’s community education
           efforts.

4.     Protect wetland and surface waters from pollution.

       •   The City will develop a response plan to minimize the impact of hazardous spills on
           protected waters.

       •   The City will perform maintenance measures to minimize pollutant loadings to water
           bodies, except for ponds used for sediment removal.

5.     Maintain protected waters in accordance with their functional classification.


                                               87
       •   Surface waters will be classified and water quality functions will be maintained
           according to the provisions set forth in the Columbia Heights Water Resources
           Management Plan, 1992 and this Surface Water Management Action Plan.

Goal: Protect and enhance water recreational facilities, fish and wildlife habitat.

1.     Protect natural areas and wildlife habitats.

       •   The City will require buffer zones of natural vegetation to be maintained around
           ponds and wetlands to provide habitat for wildlife wherever possible.

       •   The City will require natural areas and wetlands to be protected during construction
           to be clearly marked in the field.

2.     Safeguard protected waters and wetlands within the community.

       •   The City will support programs for controlling purple loose strife.

       •   The City will support programs for controlling Eurasian water milfoil.

3.     Enhance water recreational facilities.

       •   The City will support the activities of the Anoka County Regional Park to enhance
           water recreational facilities within the community.

Goal: Promote ground water recharge and prevent contamination of aquifers.

1.     Protect recharge areas identified by Anoka County.

       •   The City will undertake efforts to protect recharge areas from adverse development
           and potential contamination.

       •   The City will develop a response plan to prevent the spread of hazardous spills to
           recharge areas.

2.     Promote activities that increase infiltration/ground water recharge.

       •   When practical, the City will require ponds to be designed as “wet ponds” with
           storage volumes below the outlet.

       •   The City will encourage the use of grassed waterways to maximize infiltration,
           including the use of proper grades or underdrain systems to insure positive drainage.




                                                88
3.     Support the protection of aquifers lying beneath the community.

       •   The City will identify any spring areas within the community and protect them from
           development.

       •   The City will use both regulatory and non-regulatory tools to protect the land area
           within designated well head protection area.

Goal: Maintain the amount of wetland acreage and try to increase the wetland values.

1.     Support the Wetland Conservation Act (WCA) of 1991.

       •   The City has documented the use and function of all wetlands within the community
           and developed a map showing the location of all wetlands, a copy of which is
           available in the Community Development Department.

       •   The City will continue to serve as the local governmental unit (LGU) to administer
           the provisions of the Act within the community.

       •   The City will identify areas within the community that could be used for wetland
           mitigation, if any.

       •   The City will discourage the alteration of wetlands within the community.

       •   The City will require wetland mitigation consistent with the WCA if alteration is
           necessary.

Goal: Prevent soil erosion.

1.     Support the preservation of natural vegetation.

       •   The City will encourage the preservation of natural vegetation as property is
           developed and/or redeveloped, if applicable.

2.     Prevent sediment from construction activities from entering the City’s water resources.

       •   The City will develop and adopt regulations for sediment and erosion control that
           incorporate the general criteria outlined in the Minnesota Construction Site Erosion
           and Sediment Control Handbook (Board of Water and Soil Resources) and MPCA’s
           Best Management Practices Handbook.

       •   The City will require the submittal of an erosion control plan for all construction
           activities that require land disturbance, in accordance with the MPCA’s Best
           Management Practices Handbook.

       •   The City will require topsoil stockpiled for re- use to be protected from erosion.


                                                89
       •   The City shall require the developer/contractor to keep streets and properties
           adjacent to construction areas free from sediment carried by construction traffic at
           site entrances and access points, and from site runoff and blowing dust.

3.     Control the erosion from drainage ways within the community.

       •   The City will encourage the use of grassed drainage ways.

Goal: Recognize the regulatory authority of other local, state, and federal entities.

1.     Implement a local permitting program for water resource management.

       •   The City will establish a permitting program for water resource management,
           excluding the area in the RCWD which facilitates its own permitting.

2.     Provide for the appropriate level of regulatory authority.

       •   The City will support the regulatory authority of other governmental agencies with
           watershed management responsibility, including the Minnesota Department of
           Natural Resources, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the Minnesota
           Board of Water & Soil Resources, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

       •   The City will accept its watershed management responsibility.

3.     Promote inter-community water resources planning where appropriate.

       •   The City will require all inter-community water resource issue planning to consider
           alternative solutions.

       •   The City will require all drainage studies or feasibility studies, whether by a WMO,
           watershed district, or municipality, leading to projects in a subwatershed with an
           inter-community drainage issue, to consider the impact of the project on the drainage
           issue and the total inter-community project cost.

       •   Except in emergencies, the City will not support solutions or partial solutions to
           inter-community drainage issues to be implemented without prior completion of a
           feasibility study of options and adoption of a preferred option by the applicable
           WMO.

4.     Establish cooperative working relationships with applicable water management
       organizations and adjacent communities.

       •   The City will forward to the applicable water management organization or adjacent
           communities the plans and/or other information concerning all projects and/or new
           development that will affect the approved local plan rate or degrade the quality of
           water transcending the boundaries of the adjacent community.




                                               90
Goal: Equitably finance water resources.

1.    Require developers to pay their fair share of water resource management activities.

      •   The City will develop a policy to require developers to provide land, funding, or a
          combination of both for the management of local water resources, including the
          development of regional facilities and studies.

      •   The City will study the option of charging fees to developers for constructing capital
          improvements, such as trunk conveyance systems.

      •   The City will establish a structure of fees charged to developers for analyzing the
          impacts of the proposed development.

      •   For property subject to platting or replatting, the applicant shall provide necessary
          easements upon the subject property for preservation and maintenance purposes of
          water resource management facilities as determined by the Director of Public Works.

2.    Identify alternative funding sources for water resources.

      •   The City will investigate funding alternatives, such as ad valorem taxes, municipal
          bonds, and user charges for a storm water utility.




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5.     HISTORIC PRESERVATION PLAN

INTRODUCTION

The preservation of a community’s history creates a meaningful connection with the past and
helps frame the community’s current image. The Historic Preservation Plan provides a
framework for preserving and protecting the community’s history. The success of the Historic
Preservation Plan is dependent on the citizens of Columbia Heights and their desire to preserve
historically significant resources within the City. The City can support the preservation of
history within the community by creating a Heritage Preservation Commission; however, the
success of this implementation strategy is dependent on the support and involvement of the
community.

The area around Columbia Heights was first homesteaded in 1863 by John and Margaret
Sullivan. By the 1870s, the area had a brick factory and stone quarry; however, the area
remained largely agricultural until the last decade of the century. When James J. Hill
constructed a rail line through the area, a direct connection was provided to the Iron Range. In
response, a steel mill was built in the early 1890s, and Columbia Heights expected to become
the “Pittsburgh of the West.” Unfortunately, when the mill burned down in 1898, it was not
reconstructed. In 1893, Thomas Lowry, platted 95 acres of land for residential development in
the area through his Minneapolis Improvement Company. Mr. Lowry also promoted the
community as a commuter suburb of Minneapolis, with residents traveling via his Central
Avenue Electric Car Line and Electric Street Railroad. In an effort to develop the community
and provide services for the new residents, Mr. Lowry also encouraged retailers to locate in the
community along the southern portion of Central Avenue. Incorporated in 1898, Columbia
Heights is one of the oldest suburbs in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area.

While Columbia Heights has a fascinating history, the City does not maintain a formal record of
historically significant structures or properties in the community. There are no structures or
properties within Columbia Heights that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places,
nor are there any structures or properties eligible for listing.

Although the community does not have a Heritage Preservation Commission, the City maintains
a list of videos documenting various elements of Columbia Heights cultural and historical
events. In addition, both the Anoka County Historical Society and the Columbia Heights Public
Library maintain local history collections. Other cultural and historically significant elements
within the City include the acknowledgement and connection to the City’s Sister City of
Lomianki, Poland, the construction of an Islamic worship center and the establishment of the
First Lutheran music series. Each of these cultural elements strengthens the diversity of
Columbia Heights and provides opportunities to explore and enjoy other cultures present within
the City.




                                              92
HISTORIC PRESERVATION GOAL, POLICIES AND IMPLEMENTATION
STRATEGIES

The following historic preservation goal has been developed for Columbia Heights. The goal
includes numbered policies and bulleted implementation strategies that correspond to each of
the policies.

Goal: Preserve and maintain the community’s unique historical and cultural elements.

1.     Encourage the formation and success of a Heritage Preservation Commission.

       •   The City will publicize the potential formation of a Heritage Preservation
           Commission.

       •   The City will support the formation of a Heritage Preservation Committee and
           encourage resident interest.

2.     Support the preparation of an inventory of historically significant structures and places
       in the community.

       •   The City will create and maintain an inventory and map of historically and culturally
           significant structures, sites and resources within the community.

       •   The City will provide staff to assist the Heritage Preservation Commission in
           obtaining financial support for the preservation of historically significant structures
           and resources.

3.     Establish standards for protection of historically significant structures and places.

       •   The City will provide staff to assist the Heritage Preservation Commission with the
           development of standards and policies to protect and preserve the history of the
           community.

       •   The City will amend the zoning ordinance to require review of construction activities
           that will alter historically significant structures or disturb historically significant
           places.




                                                93
6.     ENERGY CONSERVATION PLAN

INTRODUCTION

Since 1978, the Metropolitan Land Planning Act has required communities to include an
element in their plans to protect access to direct sunlight for solar energy systems. The purpose
of this provision is to protect solar collectors from shading by adjacent structures and/or
landscaping.

The City of Columbia Heights recognizes the value of solar access protection and energy
conservation in general; however, the community is fully developed with limited new
construction. In addition, while a considerable amount of redevelopment will occur throughout
the City in the future, the application of this provision will be difficult within the context of an
established land use pattern and natural topography. For this reason, the City will look beyond
solar accessibility to address the conservation of energy in general through its comprehensive
planning efforts.


ENERGY CONSERVATION GOALS, POLICIES AND IMPLEMENTATION
STRATEGIES

The following energy conservation and solar access protection goals have been developed for
Columbia Heights. Each goal includes numbered policies and bulleted implementation
strategies that correspond to each of the policies.

Goal: Guarantee access to direct sunlight for solar energy systems.

1.     Protect solar collectors from shading by adjacent structures and/or landscaping.

       •   The City will evaluate the feasibility of amending the zoning ordinance to allow
           building setbacks in residential areas to be varied in order to protect solar access and
           allow solar collection apparatuses within the setback areas.

       •   The City will evaluate the feasibility of amending the zoning ordinance to allow
           building heights in residential districts to be varied in order to allow rooftop
           collectors.

       •   The City will evaluate the feasibility of amending the zoning ordinance to require
           buildings to be aligned to take advantage of direct sunlight for solar energy systems.

2.     Comply with the provisions of Minnesota Statutes 462.357 and 462.358, as may be
       amended.

       •   The City will amend the zoning ordinance as needed to comply with the provisions
           of Minnesota Statutes regarding the protection of solar access.


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Goal: Promote energy conservation throughout the community.

1.    Encourage individual home-owners to implement energy conservation practices.

      •   The City will promote the use of solar energy systems in residential areas.

      •   The City will encourage the planting of deciduous trees in residential areas.

2.    Support and promote energy conservation measures and innovative technologies.

      •   The City will promote water conservation within the community.

      •   The City will increase non- motorized linkages throughout the community, including
          pedestrian and bicycle linkages, to minimize private automobile use for short trips.

      •   The City will promote transit use and the creation of transit oriented development to
          discourage private automobile use.




                                              95
7.       TRANSPORTATION PLAN

INTRODUCTION

The purpose of the transportation plan element is to identify existing and future transportation
needs in the City of Columbia Heights for the horizon year of 2020, and to identify policies and
planned actions to meet those transportation needs. The chapter addresses highways and streets,
right-of-way preservation and access management, transit, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and
travel demand management.

Columbia Heights is a fully developed community with a stable population and employment
base. The community’s population is projected to grow from 18,910 in 1990 to 19,500 in
2020; households are projected to increase from 7,766 in 1990 to 8,200 in 2020; and
employment is expected to increase from 4,536 in 1990 to 6,300 in 2020. This growth will be
accommodated through redevelopment efforts and changes in the community’s housing stock.
The population of the community is aging, racial diversity is increasing, and the number of
married couple households with children is decreasing. The most significant impact on
transportation as a result of these changing demographics is an increased need for transit
service. The demographic assumptions for the transportation plan, by Traffic Assignment Zone
(TAZ), are provided in Table 7-1. These assumptions are the same as the projections prepared
by the Metropolitan Council.

The City of Columbia Heights is served by three trunk highways: I-694, an interstate highway
(principal arterial) running east-west immediately north of the City; TH 65 (Central Avenue), an
‘A’ minor arterial, running north-south with an interchange connection to I-694; and
TH 47 (University Avenue), an ‘A’ minor arterial, running north-south along the western City
border, with an interchange connection to I-694. In addition, there are several county roads and
local streets that provide sub-regional connections to and through the City. Transit service in
the City is focused primarily on University and Central Avenues with some east-west
circulation on 40th, 44th, 49th and 53rd Avenues.


TABLE 7-1
DEMOGRAPHIC ASSUMPTIONS BY TAZ

                 Population          Annual          Household          Annual    Employment     Annual
  TAZ           1997    2020         Growth         1997   2020         Growth    1997  2020     Growth

 122          2,515       2,579       0.109       1,003         1,056   0.225     153     174    0.561
 123          3,330       3,425       0.122       1,398         1,472   0.224    2,054   2,326   0.543
 120          1,543       1,569       0.073        559           589    0.224     214     243    0.550
 119          1,989       2,031       0.09         822           865    0.223     662     750    0.545
 121          1,823       1,860       0.087        768           809    0.226     328     372    0.546
 124          7,772       8,036       0.145       3,240         3,409   0.222    2,150   2,435   0.543

 Total       18,973      19,500       0.119       7,790         8,200   0.223    5,561   6,300   0.544
Source: Metropolitan Council; SRF Consulting Group, Inc.



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EXISTING TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS

HIGHWAYS AND STREETS

The existing highway and street system in Columbia Heights is shown in Figure 7-1. The
roadway system includes three trunk highways (I-694, TH 65 and TH 47); two county roads
(CSAH 4 and CSAH 2); 10.4 miles of municipal state-aid streets, 68.3 miles of municipal
streets and 18.6 miles of alleyways. Both TH 65 (Central Avenue) and TH 47 (University
Avenue) have been identified as candidate routes for turnback from Mn/DOT to Anoka County
jurisdiction. With the exception of the northeast portion of the community, most of the street
system is in a traditional grid form. All roadways in the community are two- lane except
TH 47, TH 65, CSAH 2 (40th Avenue) between University and Central Avenues (TH 47 and
TH 65), and 44th Avenue between Jackson Street and Tyler Place. Existing traffic volumes are
shown in Figure 7-1, based on 1997 Municipal State Aid (MSA) traffic volume counts.

Traffic forecasts for the collector and arterial streets in Columbia Heights were developed based
on the Metropolitan Council’s regional travel forecasting model. Where necessary, additional
streets were added to the network in the model. The modeled distribution of traffic and the
forecasted volumes were compared to existing traffic counts to test the reasonableness of the
forecasts. The resulting forecasted traffic volumes for 2020, based on the regional TRANPLAN
model, are also shown in Figure 7-1.

Based on a comparison of forecast daily volumes to roadway lane capacity, the following
locations were determined to have potential capacity problems:

•   TH 65 (Central Avenue) between 44th Avenue and I-694
•   44th Avenue near the intersection with Central Avenue
•   40th Avenue (CSAH 2) near the intersection with Central Avenue
•   44th Avenue near the intersection with University Avenue


TRANSIT

Transit service in Columbia Heights consists of fixed route, demand-responsive and para-transit
service. Metro Transit, the Twin Cities metropolitan area regional transit provider, provides
fixed route service as shown in Figure 7-2. Routes 10, 24 and 29 run north-south along TH 47
and TH 65. Route 10 also runs east-west along CSAH 4, 44th Avenue and CSAH 2. Columbia
Heights is within the Metropolitan Transit Taxing District and pays the full tax rate for transit
service. The City is within the market area that receives full peak and off-peak fixed route
transit service. Service frequencies are provided in Table 7-2.




                                               97
Figure 7-1: Traffic Volumes, Existing and Forecasted




                                             98
TABLE 7-2
TRANSIT SERVICE FREQUENCY

        Transit Route            Peak Hour Frequency           Off-Peak Hour Frequenc y
               1                           30                              60
               4                           15                              60
              10                           10                              30
              18                           15                              30
              24                           15                              --
              29                           30                              --
             52H                           60                              --
Source: Metro Transit



The Anoka County Traveler provides demand-responsive (dial-a-ride) transit service to the
Columbia Heights area. It was established in 1990 as a demonstration project to provide
accessible dial-a-ride service in Anoka County. In January 1996, the Columbia Heights Shared
Ride Transit System became a part of the Anoka County Traveler service area. Today, the
Anoka County Traveler transit system provides service to all Anoka County communities
including Columbia Heights. Para-transit service is also provided by Metro Mobility and
various other special-purpose service providers.

The Northeast Transit Corridor, which extends from downtown Minneapolis north to the
Northtown Shopping Center, encompasses both University and Central Avenues through
Columbia Heights. This corridor is one of the top three transit corridors in the region as
specified in the Metropolitan Council’s Transportation Plan. While Light Rail Transit is a long
term desire of the City, transit improvements within the twenty year timeframe of the
Comprehensive Plan will focus on facilities, development and service levels that will strongly
encourage the use of transit in this corridor. Presently, the shoulders and frontage road on
University Avenue (TH 47) are used as bus lanes and a transit station at the intersection of
Central Avenue and 41st Avenue has recently been approved. Team Transit, a cooperative
effort between Metro Transit and Mn/DOT, provides low cost capital improvements to the
regional transportation system to facilitate transit movement.

There are currently no park and ride lots in Columbia Heights; however, a park and ride lot will
be developed in conjunction with the construction of a Metro Transit Hub at 41st and Central
Avenues.


BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN SYSTEM

Existing bicycle and pedestrian facilities are discussed in the Parks and Open Space section of
the Comprehensive Plan (Chapter 10).




                                                99
Figure 7-2: Existing Transit Routes




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FUTURE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM

HIGHWAYS AND STREETS

Functional Class

The designated function of a roadway is defined by the role it plays in serving the flow of trips
through the overall highway and street network. The Metropolitan Council has established
detailed criteria for all of the different functional classifications. The intent of a functional
classification system is to create a hierarchy of roads that collects and distributes traffic from
neighborhoods to the metropolitan highway system, accounting for topography and other
physical constraints of the area. In addition, larger trip generators, such as employment and
commercial centers and river crossings, should be served by roadways with higher
classification, such as arterials. Residential, neighborhood, commercial uses and places of
relatively low demand should have roadways of lower classification such as collectors and local
streets. It is in this manner that the land use plan is integrated into the transportation plan.

The proposed functional classification of the roadways in the City of Columbia Heights is
shown in Figure 7-3. The only changes from existing functional classifications are:

•   Extension of Collector classification along Reservoir Boulevard to make classification
    uniform from Central Avenue to 44th Avenue/Arthur Drive.

•   Classification of Main Street N.E. from 40th Avenue to 45th Avenue as a ‘B’ Minor Arterial
    to make classification consistent with Main Street north and south of this section.

•   Classification of 44th Avenue between Main St. N.E. and University as a Collector to make
    classification consistent with remainder of 44th Avenue.

Principal arterials are the highest roadway classification and are considered part of the
metropolitan highway system. They connect the central business districts of Minneapolis and
St. Paul with each other and other regional business concentrations in the metropolitan area.
They also connect the Twin Cities with important locations outside the metropolitan area.
Principal arterials are generally constructed as limited access freeways in a developed area, but
they may also be constructed as multi- lane divided highways.

In Columbia Heights, the nearest principal arterial routes include I-694 to the north and I-94 to
the west across the Mississippi River. The proposed functional classification system does not
include changes in principal arterial designation in the City. Minor arterials emphasize
mobility over land access and connect cities with adjacent communities and the metropolitan
highway system. Major business concentrations and other important traffic generators are often
located along minor arterials. In the metropolitan area, minor arterials are divided into two
classes: ‘A’ minor arterials and ‘B’ minor arterials.




                                               101
Figure 7-3. Functional Classification




                                        102
The Metropolitan Council has identified ‘A’ minor arterials as roadways that are of regional
importance because they relieve, expand or complement the principal arterial system. Sub-
classifications of these roads have been categorized as follows:

•   Relievers – Provide direct relief for metropolitan highway traffic.

•   Expanders – Connect developing areas outside the I-494/I-694 interstate ring.

•   Connectors – Provide good, safe connections to and among town centers in the transitional
    and rural areas in the area.

•   Augmenters – Augment principal arterials within the interstate ring or beltway.

There are two ‘A’ minor arterials in Columbia Heights – University Avenue (TH47) and Central
Avenue (TH65) - and they are both designated as augmenters. The recommended spacing of
‘A’ minor arterials is one- half to one mile in fully developed areas, such as the City of
Columbia Heights, and 1 to 2 miles in developing areas. The current spacing between TH 47
and TH 65 is approximately one mile. There are no recommended changes to the current ‘A’
minor arterial system.

‘B’ Minor Arterials are defined by the Metropolitan Council as all other minor arterials. These
                                                                         o
roadways typically serve a city-wide function by providing mobility f r medium- length and
long trips. When combined with the ‘A’ minor arterial system, most of the neighborhoods in
Columbia Heights are within a reasonable distance of a minor arterial. The existing ‘B’
minor arterial routes in the community are CSAH 4 (49th Avenue/Fairway Drive),
CSAH 2 (40th Avenue), and County Road 102 (Main Street N.E.). The only recommended
change in the minor collector system is a change along Main Street N.E. for consistency.

Collectors serve shorter trips and provide access from neighborhoods to the arterial system.
Consequently, because of their location, they are lower-volume roads than arterial routes. In
Columbia Heights, routes currently classified as collectors are 44th Avenue, Jefferson Street,
Arthur Street and Reservoir Boulevard. The only recommended changes in the collector system
are extensions of 44th Avenue and Reservoir Boulevard for consistency.

Roadway and Intersection Improvements

Both the Anoka County Transportation Plan (July 1998) and the Mn/DOT 1997 Transportation
System Plan (TSP) identify TH 65 as an area needing capacity and safety improvements to
provide a future level of service “D”. The Mn/DOT TSP identifies TH 47 and TH 65 for
preservation and management, but not for capacity improvements. Neither of these routes is
included in the state’s Transportation Improvement Program as they are both identified as
potential turnback routes.

Due to concerns about the traffic operations along University Avenue and Central Avenue,
additional intersection ana lyses were completed to determine future levels of service and to
identify needed intersection improvements that may be needed to maintain a level of service
“D” in the future. The results of these analyses, shown in Table 7-3, indicate that no
intersection improvements are warranted at this time


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TABLE 7-3
INTERSECTION OPERATIONS

                                                                 LEVEL OF
 INTERSECTION                                                    SERVICE
 TH 65 and 53rd Avenue                                              D
 TH 65 and 49th Avenue                                              B
 TH 65 and 44th Avenue                                              C
 TH 65 and 40th Avenue                                              B
 TH 65 and 37th Avenue                                              D
 TH 47 and 53rd Ave nue                                             B
 TH 47 and 49th Avenue                                              B
 TH 47 and 44th Avenue                                              C
 TH 47 and 40th Avenue                                              C
Source: SRF Consulting Group, Inc.



Jurisdictional Transfers

The jurisdiction of roads is an important element in the Transportation Plan because it affects a
number of critical organizational functions and obligations (regulatory, maintenance,
construction and financial). The primary goal in aligning jurisdiction is to match the function of
the roadway with the organizational level that is best suited to handle the route’s function.

Mn/DOT’s 1997 Metro Division Transportation System Plan (TSP) identified the following
routes in Columbia Heights for jurisdictional reassignment:

•   Trunk Highway 65 (Central Avenue) between I-694 north of Columbia Heights to the south
    Anoka County line.

•   Trunk Highway 47 (University Avenue) from TH 10 north of Columbia Heights to the south
    Anoka County line.

These routes are designated as ‘A’ minor arterials and have been recommended for transfer to
Anoka County. No memorandum of understanding exists between Mn/DOT and Anoka County
for these routes. Jurisdictional changes are usually made when an opportunity presents itself.
Examples of such opportunities include the construction of a new segment that replaces the
function of the current roadway and the improvement or major rehabilitation of a facility that is
identified as a potential transfer.

With the recommended transfer of TH 47 and TH 65 from Mn/DOT to Anoka County, these
two routes would most likely be designated as County State Aid Highways (CSAH). In
Columbia Heights, this translates to approximately 4 miles of additional CSAH mileage.
However, as these routes are trunk highway turnbacks, this mileage would not count against
Anoka County’s CSAH system mileage allotment.



                                               104
TRANSIT

The Northeast Corridor Interim Transit Improvement Study was completed by the Anoka
County Regional Railroad Authority in 1995. This study identified the following transit needs
applicable to Columbia Heights:

•   Additional east-west and/or community circulator service.

•   Transit travel advantages on congested roadways (for example, through bus shoulder lanes
    and ramp meter bypass lanes).

•   Improved access to transit (for example, through park-and-ride lots, service coordination,
    reverse-commute market and TDM strategies).

•   Travel Demand Management (TDM) strategies to reduce vehicle travel demand during peak
    travel periods.

Metro Transit is constructing a transit hub along Central Avenue between 40th and 41st Avenue
(see Figure 7-4). This station will provide for transfers between regular route buses and
community circulators. The station is adjacent to existing parking that may be used for drop-
offs and for park-and-ride. With the construction of the transit hub, transit routes will be
reconfigured as sho wn in Figure 7-5. Service frequencies will remain approximately the same
for all routes.

HOV bypass lanes are proposed at the University Avenue and Central Avenue interchanges
with I-694. Shoulder HOV lanes are proposed along Central Avenue and I-694. Shoulder HOV
lanes already exist along University Avenue. A park-and-ride lot is proposed near the
University Avenue interchange with I-694.

No right-of-way acquisition is required for any of improvements proposed above.

The Northstar Corridor is a 60-mile long transportation corridor that runs between St. Cloud and
Minneapolis along U.S. 10 and includes the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) rail line. A
Major Investment Study (MIS) is currently being conducted on this corridor and will address a
“multi- modal” system that may include commuter rail, improved freight rail, enhanced
highways, new recreation and bike trails, safety improvement and Intelligent Transportation
System (ITS) strategies. If a commuter rail system were implemented in this corridor, it would
utilize the BNSF railroad just west of Columbia Heights. No stations are currently planned in
the vicinity of Columbia Heights.

The Comprehensive Light Rail Transit (LRT) System Plan for Anoka County identified two
alternative routes through southern Anoka County between downtown Minneapolis and
Northtown Shopping Center, one along University Avenue and the other along Central Avenue.
The Central Avenue alignment was dropped from consideration during 1990 for reasons of
higher capital and operating cost and loss of on-street parking. Stations have been proposed




                                              105
Figure 7-4: Proposed Metro Transit Station




                                             106
Figure 7-5: Proposed Transit Routes with Construction of Transit Hub




                                            107
along the University Avenue route at 37th, 40th, 44th, and 49th Avenues. At least one of these
locations will likely be deleted because they are too close together for efficient service. There
presently is no identified source for capital and operating costs for LRT service in this corridor,
and other corridors have higher funding priority; therefore, LRT is considered a long range
transit option for the city.


BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN SYSTEM

Proposed bicycle and pedestrian facilities are discussed in the Parks and Open Space section of
the Comprehensive Plan (Chapter 10). These facilities are intended to serve both a
transportation and a recreation purpose and to provide bicycle/pedestrian access to major
generators including the proposed transit hub.


TRANSPORTATION GOALS, POLICIES AND IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES

The following transportation goals have been developed for Columbia Heights. Each goal
includes numbered policies and bulleted implementation strategies that correspond to each of
the policies.

Goal: Increase pedestrian and bicycle safety in residential neighborhoods.

1.     Manage traffic to minimize non-local traffic uses of residential streets.

       •   The City will provide traffic calming measures on residential streets where: (1) data
           has been collected to document an existing problem; (2) the measure is consistent
           with the problem being addressed; (3) there will be a minimum diversion of traffic to
           other residential streets; (4) there will not be a degradation of public safety; and (5) a
           petition is signed by two-thirds or more of the residentis who would be affe cted by
           the placement of the traffic calming meausre. At a minimum, the petition area
           should include all residents living within one block of the affected area, or 400 feet,
           whichever is greater.

       •   The City will establish and implement a uniform policy on the installation of stop
           signs.

       •   The City will provide periodic traffic surveillance in residential neighborhoods
           where traffic speeds are high.

       •   The City will provide sidewalks and/or bicycle facilities where needed for
           documented safety problems.




                                                108
Goal: Manage and maintain the investment in the existing roadway system.

1.    Support maintenance of the local roadway system.

      •   The City will continue to maintain its local road system to high standards of quality
          through a program of regular patching, seal coating and reconstruction.

2.    Manage the trunk highway and local roadway systems within the community in a
      manner that supports regional transportation objectives and enhances community growth
      and redevelopment.

      •   The City will require roadway improvements in conjunction with new development
          or redevelopment projects designed according to the intended function and projected
          need.

      •   The City will support the updating of existing arterials when warranted by
          demonstrated volume, safety or functional needs. Improvements should be
          compatible with abutting land uses.

3.    Protect the function of collector and arterial roads.

      •   The City will limit the number of driveways or intersections compatible with the
          function of the roadway.

      •   The City will continue to design and maintain its roads and to review site plans
          according to the functional classification system of roads in order that they serve the
          needs of the community and enhance regional efforts to reduce traffic congestion.

      •   The City will develop a set of access management guidelines to be applied during
          the development or redevelopment of properties adjacent to arterial and collector
          level roadways.

Goal: Embrace transit as a means to improve the livability and diversity of Columbia
      Heights.

1.    Support the provision of additional regular route, community circulator and para-transit.

      •   The City will continue to support and facilitate transit service by the Columbia
          Heights/Hilltop/Fridley Share-a-Ride Program, Eastside Neighborhood Services,
          Metro Mobility and the Anoka County Traveler.

      •   The City will work with Metro Transit to provide enhanced bus service and new or
          improved bus waiting stations along new cross-town routes.

      •   The City will continue to participate in system planning with Anoka County and
          Metro Transit to identify transit station locaitons and to construct transit facilities
          that improve access to other parts of the Twin Cities metropolitan area while also
          relieving pressure on Central Avenue and University Avenue.



                                              109
2.    Promote transit, including Light Rail Transit and Commuter Rail, as a reasonable
      alternative to single occupancy vehicle commuting.

      •   The City will promote the use of transit to make the public more aware of the easy
          access Columbia Heights enjoys to and from Minneapolis.

      •   The City will review major new developments for the inclusion of bus shelters and
          pullouts if such sites are along Metro Transit bus routes.

3.    The City supports the use of transit as a key component in mixed- use planned
      development areas.

      •   The City will provide standards in its land use controls that accommodate a mix of
          land uses, especially as linkages between transit and commercial uses.

      •   The City’s zoning ordinance will be modified to reflect the establishment of transit
          oriented development near designated transit stations.

      •   If a light rail transit system is funded for construction through Columbia Heights, the
          City will study the station areas to determine whether or not there should be changes
          in land use nearby and to consider public improvements (street alignments, street
          closings, sidewalks) that would promote the use of the system.

      •   The City will provide a diversity of housing types within close proximity to transit.

Goal: Provide for safe and efficient alternative modes of transportation.

1.    Support the creation of opportunities for pedestrian, bicycle and transit access to primary
      destination points within the City.

      •   The City will incorporate pedestrian and bicycle improvements into streetscaping
          enhancements for Central Avenue.

      •   The City will work cooperatively with Metro Transit to ensure that bicycle and
          pedestrian access is provided to the proposed transit hub.

      •   The City will work to interconnect pedestrian and bicycle trails and provide
          pedestrian/bicycle access to major traffic generators in the City.

      •   The City will review all development and redevelopment plans to insure that
          adequate pedestrian and bicycle facilities are provided.

      •   The City will support the provision of additional regular route, community circulator
          and para-transit.



                                             110
2.     Work with both existing and new employers in the community to encourage increased
       transit use and carpooling.

       •   The City will encourage employers to promote carpooling and transit use by
           providing information to employees, encouraging employees to participate in ride-
           share matching programs, and participating in Metro Transit programs for transit
           fare subsidies.

       •   The City will encourage employers to offer flexible work hours, transit passes,
           parking preferences and other incentives for transit use and carpooling.


FUNDING SOURCES

Roadways under City jurisdiction are maintained by the City’s Public Works Department.
Funding for these activities, including the administrative costs of operating the department, are
obtained from municipal state aid, property taxes and special assessments.

Municipal State-Aid Streets (MSAS) are eligible for funding assistance with revenues from the
Highway User Tax Distribution Fund. This fund receives revenue primarily from state gasoline
taxes and vehicle registration fees. Ninety- five percent of the net proceeds of the Highway User
Tax Distribution Fund are distributed annually according to a constitutionally mandated
formula: 62 percent to the Trunk Highway Fund, 29 percent to the County State-Aid Highway
Fund, and 9 percent to the Municipal State-Aid Fund. MSAS funds are distributed to cities over
5,000 population based on a formula that takes into account population, roadway miles and
need. In 1998, Columbia Heights received $163,435 in MSA maintenance funds and
$303,522 in MSA construction funds.

Federal funding may be obtained by applying through the Metropolitan Council under the
Surface Transportation Program (STP), Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) and
Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP). The Metropolitan Council has established a
process whereby jurisdictions can compete for these funds. The next opportunity the City will
have to apply for these funds is in 2001.

Special assessments may be assessed against private properties that benefit from a roadway
scheduled for improvement. In order to assess a property owner, it must be demonstrated that
the value of the property will increase by at least the amount of the assessment. The City of
Columbia Heights utilizes special assessments to fund street and alley improvements. Under
the City’s Street Rehabilitation Program, property owners are assessed for only a portion of the
construction costs. Generally, this is 50 percent for full construction, 65 percent for partial
reconstruction and 85 percent for an overlay. The City does not assess for street improvements
on MSA routes.

Property taxes are the primary source of local funds for roadway improvements. If bonds are
used to finance the cost of a city project, at least 20 percent of the improvement cost must be
specially assessed to benefiting property owners. The City of Columbia Heights has established
an Infrastructure Fund to supplement assessments for the Street Rehabilitation Program.
Property taxes in this fund will generally pay 50 percent of the cost of full reconstruction,
                                              111
35 percent for partial reconstruction and 15 percent of the cost for an overlay. Property taxes
are also used to fund transit services through the Metropolitan Transit Taxing District. The City
of Columbia Heights receives full peak and off-peak service and residents pay the full property
tax rate for this level of service.

Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is also a source of funding for transportation improvements.
Although Columbia Heights does not currently use this funding mechanism, it should be
considered for large scale redevelopment projects.




                                              112
8.      AVIATION AND AIRPORTS PLAN

INTRODUCTION

All cities within the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area are required to develop an aviation plan.
The primary intent of this requirement is to ensure that land uses do not conflict with the
operation of aviation facilities, including seaplane lakes. Four critical areas must be addressed
within a cities aviation plan and appropriately located and mapped:

•    All structures 200 feet above ground level;

•    Any special aviation facilities and functions in off-airport areas and identify appropriate
     local protection measures;

•    Any permanent private and emergency use airports and heliports allowed by zoning and/or
     permit; and

•    Any designated lakes for seaplane bases.

Currently, Columbia Heights does not have any structures that exceed 200 feet; however, the
current zoning ordinance does not preclude buildings of this height in the GB, General Business
District. There are no special aviation facilities, permanent private use airports, emergency use
airports, heliports, or lakes designated for seaplane bases within the community.

AVIATION AND AIRPORTS GOAL, POLICIES AND IMPLEMENTATION
STRATEGIES

The following aviation and airports goal has been developed for Columbia Heights. The goal
includes numbered policies and bulleted implementation strategies that correspond to each of
the policies.

Goal: Ensure land uses do not conflict with the operation of aviation facilities.
1.      Regulate the height of structures within the community.

        • The City will continue to limit the height of structures through implementation of the
           zoning ordinance.
2.      Monitor special aviation facilities, emergency use airports, heliports and seaplane lakes.

        •   The City will continually monitor the creation and operation of aviation facilities in
             the community.

        •   If necessary, the City will amend the zoning ordinance and other applicable City
             ordinances to regulation aviation facilities in the community.



                                                113
9. WATER SUPPLY AND WASTEWATER PLAN

INTRODUCTION

The water supply and sanitary sewer systems for the City of Columbia Heights are complete.
The policy decisions that the City must make will be aimed at maintaining the existing systems
and not towards the need to serve any new development. The purpose of this section is to
promote the maintenance and care of the existing water supply and wastewater (sanitary sewer)
systems to ensure that they continue to serve the residents of Columbia Heights and Hilltop.


WATER SUPPLY SYSTEM

WATER SUPPLY

The water supply and conservation plan prepared for the City of Columbia Heights in
accordance with Minnesota Statutes 473.859(3) was approved by the Metropolitan Council on
December 15, 1996. The City purchases water from Minneapolis for resale. In 1998, the City
purchased 683,262 cubic feet (510 million gallons). The price Columbia Heights pays for water
is directly tied to the rates the City of Minneapolis charges its residential customers. For this
reason, the City of Columbia Heights pays more for water and has to charge residents
substantially more than many neighboring communities.

In 1956, a study indicated that the City could save significant money by installing its own wells
and treatment facilities; however, a new feasibility study would be required to see if this is still
the case. Items to be considered in such a study also include the availability of a dependable
supply of clean water, the availability of land for well fields and treatment facilities, and
whether softening should be included. In 1993, a rough analysis of the City’s needs indicated
that at a minimum the system would need to include three 1,000 gpm wells, two million gallons
of storage capacity and a 1,500 gpm treatment plant with iron removal and softening treatment.

WATER DISTRIBUTION

The City’s distribution system consists of approximately 67 miles of cast iron and ductile iron
pipe, most of which was installed over 40 years ago. A majority of the mains are 6 inches in
size. The system is spilt into two pressure zones, with the dividing line running generally down
Central Avenue. The low-pressure zone, west of Central Avenue, is gravity fed through a
24-inch line from the Minneapolis reservoir in New Brighton. The high pressure zone is served
by two pumping stations that are alternated. Pressure is maintained by the 250,000-gallon
elevated storage tank on Stinson Boulevard.

A study complete in 1989 by Bonestroo, Rosene, Anderlik and Associates identified several
areas that experience low pressure. The study indicated that these low pressure problems were
either the result of dead lines or loss of capacity due to tuberculation. Tuberculation is the build
up of corroded material on the inside of the line due to failure of the enamel lining that was
prevalent in water mains installed before 1950. This condition narrows down the cross section
of pipe and makes the interior rougher, both of which reduce the carrying capacity of the line.
                                                 114
The areas that had been experiencing low pressure included the following areas: Innsbruck
Parkway and Innsbruck Parkway West; Valley View Elementary School; northwest corner of
the community; southwest corner of the community; Royce Street and Leader Lane; Jefferson
Divide; and Ulysses Street. Since 1990, a 10- inch main for Valley View Elementary School
was installed (1990/1991) and the pipes in the Innsbruck were cleaned and
relined(1997). Reevaluation of the northwest corner of the community has been budgeted for
the year 2000.

When the water system was tested for lead and copper in accordance with Federal regulations,
the City’s water did not meet the requirements because of the softness of the water purchased
from Minneapolis. The water itself does not contain lead; however, it is generally recognized
that lead is leaching out of fixtures and lead service lines. There are approximately 75 homes in
the City that may still have lead service lines. Since 1990 approximately 7 –10 homes have
replaced lead service with copper.


PRIVATE WELLS

There are eight private wells in the community. Two are for domestic use (4441 Main
Avenue and 4853 University Avenue), two are industrial wells (3800 – 5th Street and 550 –
 39th Avenue) and four are for other use (4555 Washington Street, 5051 Jefferson Street,
4336 Quincy Street and 2301 North Upland Crest).


WASTEWATER (SANITARY SEWER) SYSTEM

The City of Columbia Heights does not currently have an approved Tier I sanitary sewer
element as required by Minnesota Statutes 473.859(3). The community is served by the
regional system, with the City’s sanitary sewer system transporting wastewater from throughout
the City of Columbia Heights and the City of Hilltop. All sewage is directed to 44th Avenue
and Main Street, where it is discharged to the Metropolitan Council’s Environmental Services’
regional system for processing at the Metropolitan Wastewater Treatment Plant via interceptors
4-FR-440, 1-MN-305, 1-MN-306, and 1-MN-303. In 1992, approximately 452 million gallons
of sewage was collected by this system.


SEWER MAIN

The City has 60 miles of sanitary sewer ma in. The majority of these mains are vitrified clay
pipe in excess of 40 years old. Properly maintained, these lines will have a useful life of 75 to
100 years.

Generally, the sewer mains are in good shape. The major problems are related to either root
intrusion or the build- up of sand and/or debris in certain lines. The Public Works Department
has adopted a systematic procedure of televising, rodding (cleaning), root cutting, and
vacuuming lines. In the past, a process called Sanafoam was used to clear the lines of roots.




                                              115
With the addition of the Vactor equipment and the determination of the worst root areas, the use
of this somewhat hazardous chemical process has been decreased and may ultimately be ceased.
The systematic televising of all lines allows the crew to detect and record the locations of
cracked pipe, missing sections and misalignment.

Cracked sections are rechecked periodically to determine if the condition is worsening to the
point of needing repair. Sections exhibiting damaged pipe or serious misalignment are
scheduled for repair or replacement based on the severity of condition, opportunity (i.e. street
reconstruction) and budget. Recent studies have indicated that overall, the system does not have
excessive infiltration and inflow. The Public Works Department has developed a program of
replacing the old style manhole covers (with pick holes that allow water inflow) with solid
covers in those locations where the manhole becomes inundated during rainfalls.

The Public Works Department also has a program of identifying and repairing manholes that are
in need of tuck pointing and patching.


LIFT STATIONS

The sanitary sewer system utilizes four lift stations to facilitate collection from areas that cannot
directly gravity feed. The se lift stations ate located at the Silver Lake boat landing, Argon
Drive west of Stinson Boulevard, Chatham Road near Golf Place, and Sullivan Lake Park. All
lift stations have automatic controls and dual pumps that are cycled to prolong life and provide
redundancy in case one pump fails. The stations have on-site failure indicator lights and are
connected to a master control panel at the municipal service center, which has auto dialer to
alert personnel of problems. There are no regional system lift stations within the community.

Figure 9-1 illustrates the sanitary sewer locations for the City of Columbia Heights, including
the metropolitan sewer interceptor. Table 9-1 provides information regarding the future
population and projected yearly wastewater flows to be generated by the City of Columbia
Heights.

TABLE 9-1
POPULATION AND WASTEWATER FLOW DATA 2000-2020

                                            2000               2010               2020
Sewered Population                          18900              18900              19500
Sewered Housing                             7850               8000               8200
Sewered Employment                          6000               6100               6300
WASTEWATER FLOW RANGE                  LOW      HIGH     LOW      HIGH      LOW      HIGH

Yearly Wastewater Flows (MGY)* 557              607      553      619       571      635
*Million of gallons per year




                                                116
Figure 9-1: Sanitary Sewer Main




                                  117
As a fully developed community, Columbia Heights has no need to expand its existing sanitary
sewer sys tem. The system is in good condition; however, the system will need more
maintenance as it ages. The ongoing programs of cleaning, televising and root control in the
sewer mains, which are part of the maintenance budget, should be continued. Repair of
manholes and the repair and/or replacement of damaged mains should also be budgeted for on
an annual basis. In addition, whenever there is a street reconstruction project, the underlying
sanitary sewer main should be televised to determine if repair or replacement is warranted.

There were two sections of sanitary sewer main that experience recurring problems in the early
1990s – Filmore Street north of 45th Avenue and 43rd Avenue at Van Buren Avenue. The
Filmore Avenue problem was corrected by the installation of back flow preventors in vulnerable
service lines that served six duplex units. The solution to the 43rd Avenue problem is
somewhat more difficult. Because of the flattening of the grade in this location, the sewer
mains tend to surge and have backed up into several homes in the past. A by-pass is in place
that will discharge into Jackson Pond in extreme events; however, while the MPCA has not yet
forced the City to correct the situation, this by-pass will need to be eliminated. In order to fully
address this situation, which is the result of downspout and sump-pump connections to the
sanitary sewer, is to require the elimination of these clear water connections.
The City also experiences minor problems with inflow and infiltration throughout the
community. While a community-wide inventory of these clear water connection problems has
not yet been completed, the Public Works Department has been identifying existing connections
through sewer line televising and building inspections. Residents with clear water connections
will then be encouraged to eliminate the connections as soon as possible.

PRIVATE WASTERWATER TREATMENT SYSTEMS
A single residential home, located at 4344 3rd Avenue, is serviced by a private wastewater
treatment system (cesspool). The City does not have any regulations regarding the construction
or maintenance of such systems.

WATER SUPPLY AND WASTEWATER GOALS, POLICIES AND
IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES

The following water supply and wastewater goals have been developed for Columbia Heights.
Each goal includes numbered policies and bulleted implementation strategies that correspond to
each of the policies.
Goal: Maintain a high quality and reliable water supply and distribution system.

1.     Maintain the existing distribution system to protect the City’s investment.

       •   The City has initiated an evaluation of the water distribution system to assess system
           deficiencies.

       •   The City will develop a schedule for the completion of water system improvements,
           as recommended by the Water System Analysis Report, in conjunction with the
           capital improvement program.


                                                118
       •   As roadways are reconstructed, the City will evaluate the underlying watermain
           through flow testing to determine if the capacity has been decreased because of
           corrosion or undetected leakage.

       •   The City will evaluate water mains in areas with low pressure and/or low fire flows,
           and either clean, reline, or replace water mains as needed.

       •   The City will install water mains as needed in specific sites throughout the
           community in order to complete loops in the system and increase fire flows.

       •   The City will replace booster pumps, pressure reducing values, and other
           components of the water supply system as needed to ensure reliable and adequate
           function.

2.     Explore an alternative supply of water for the community.

       •   The City will evaluate the feasibility of installing its own wells and treatment
           facilities.

       •   The City will identify alternative supplies of water for the community should the
           current supply from the City of Minneapolis become unava ilable or contaminated.

3.     Reduce lead and copper within the system where possible.

       •   The City will continue to provide information on lead and copper levels, along with
           the associated risks, to residents.

       •   The City will continue to encourage residents to replace lead service lines.

Goal: Maintain a high quality and reliable sanitary sewer system.

1.     Maintain the existing sanitary sewer system to protect the City’s investment.

       •   The City will continue its systematic procedure of televising, rodding (cleaning),
           root cutting and vacuuming of sanitary sewer lines.

       •   As roadways are reconstructed, the City will televise the underlying sanitary sewer
           line to check for roots, accumulation of debris, damaged pipe or misaligned pipe.

       •   The City will continue to replace sections of sanitary sewer with damaged pipe or
           serious misalignment as needed, based on the severity of the condition, opportunity,
           and funding availability.

       •   The City will continue to replace old pick hole style manhole covers with solid
           covers in locations that are inundated during rainfalls.

2.     Reduce inflow and infiltration throughout the system.

                                              119
       •   The City will continue to identify and repair manholes that are in need of tuck
           pointing and patching.

       •   The City will complete an inventory of downspouts, sump-pumps, and other clear
           water connections to the sanitary sewer system through the use of system televising
           and building inspections.

       •   The City will adopt ordinances to require the elimination of existing clear water
           connections and prohibit such connections in the future.

       •   The City will undertake a study to determine areas of suspected infiltration into the
           sanitary sewer system and will initiate action to mitigate these problems.


FUNDING SOURCES

User fees are the primary funding source for sanitary sewer and water main replacements or
relining. These rehabilitation activities are funded through the respective construction fund
accounts, which are supported by user fees. When water mains are replaced in residential areas,
service lines to the curb stop are evaluated. If replacement is warranted, this activity is also
funded through the water system construction fund.

Special assessments are not currently used by the City for rehabilitation of water mains or
sanitary sewer lines.




                                              120
10. PARK AND OPEN SPACE PLAN

INTRODUCTION

In order to guarantee that local parks, trails and open spaces conform to the regional recreational
system, all municipalities within the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area are required to complete a
park and open space development plan as part of their comprehensive planning efforts.
Providing a comprehensive approach to recreation facilities in the metropolitan region will help
minimize unnecessary costs, provide an inventory of all facilities and present the best possible
recreational system for the region.

The City of Columbia Heights also recognizes that parks, trails, public open space and other
recreational opportunities are essential elements in creating a strong sense of community. For
this reason, this Plan will also provide a framework to ensure that development and
redevelopment of local parks, trails and open spaces meet the needs of Columbia Heights’
residents and provide linkages throughout the community. This Plan, which includes
information from the City’s 1996 Comprehensive Park System Plan, also provides the basic
information necessary to understand park, trail and open space issues in the community. The
purpose of the park and open space plan is to ensure that all parks and open areas within the
community remain clean, safe, accessible to all, and up-to-date to best serve the residents as
well as improving the quality of life in Columbia Heights.


HISTORICAL CONTEXT

The City of Columbia Heights park system was formally established in 1939 with the
acquisition of 60 acres of land bounded by 37th Avenue on the south, 40th Avenue on the north,
5th Street on the west, and Quincy Street on the east. A portion of this area, which at one time
served as a spring- fed pasture for cows and horses, is now occupied the City’s first park – Huset
Park. As development increased, the City became actively involved in the expansion of the
Columbia Heights park system by acquiring “leftover” parcels of land that were converted into
municipal parks. As with many communities encouraging development during this time period,
the City often accepted and/or purchased swampy, unstable, and often unbuildable land for
parks. Since the community is fully developed, the City now has the challenge of redeveloping
these parks into parks and open space that meet the current needs of Columbia Heights’
residents.

The City of Columbia Heights currently operates a park system containing 14 municipal parks
ranging from in size from less than 1 acre to 28 acres. Serving as the backbone of the
community, the park system offers essential recreation and leisure opportunities that are
available to all residents of the community. These include organized activities such as baseball,
softball, basketball, and hockey, as well as less structured activities such as skating, biking,
picnicking, walking and running.

COMMUNITY CHARACTERISTICS AND DEMOGRAPHICS


                                               121
As stated elsewhere in the City’s Comprehensive Plan, the population of Columbia Heights is
predicted to increase slightly over the next twenty years as well as to generally increase in age.
By the year 2020, the community will include 19,500 individuals living in 8,200 households.
According to the Metropolitan Council, there will be a significant increase in persons over the
age of 55 and a slight decrease in persons age 25 to 54 in the community. This shift in
demographics suggests an increase in demand for more passive park facilities, such as walking
trails, picnic areas and scenic areas.

The current development pattern and existing park features within Columbia Heights represents
that of a typical urban community. The 14 municipal parks and one regional park within the
community provide the residents with both passive and active recreational opportunities.
Residential development is the dominant land use in Columbia Heights with 67 percent of the
land area, while parks and open spaces occupy approximately 6 percent of the land area. The
majority of the community’s park facilities are located near residential development.


INVENTORY AND REGIONAL SIGNIFICANCE

The location of the community’s 14 municipal parks and the one regional park, which represent
a total area of 112 acres, are shown in Figure 10-1. Table 10-1 lists the municipal parks within
Columbia Heights, including the size (in acres) and facilities within each park.

As a result of the existing urban character of the City, the majority of parks have a limited
amount of natural resource amenities. In addition, most of the parks provide passive rather than
active recreation activities. Huset Park, which is the largest municipal park with 22 acres,
provides a mix of passive recreation and organized athletic fields. This park is located adjacent
to City Hall and will become the “central park” of the community upon completion of the
Community Center mixed-use redevelopment. All other parks within the community are less
than 20 acres in size and provide passive recreation to neighborhoods in close proximity to the
park facilities. A few open space and recreational facilities also exist adjacent to schools and
usually provide for more active sporting events and playground equipment. Both the high
school and the middle school grounds within the community include such facilities.

There is also one regional park in the community. Albert A. Kordiak Park, located on 14 acres
in the northeast corner of Columbia Heights, provides walking and hiking trails, picnic facilities
and a limited amount of space for active recreation. This park surrounds Highland Lake and
contains some woodlands and other natural resource amenities unavailable in other parks within
Columbia Heights. Albert A Kordiak Park is also located adjacent to the Columbia Heights
High School and Highland Elementary School, providing good opportunities for extended
classroom learning experiences. While relatively small for a regional park, Kordiak Park is also
complemented by the close proximity of Curt Ramsdell Park, which includes an additional five
acres of park space.




                                               122
Figure 10-1: Location of Parks




                                 123
TABLE 10-1
EXISTING PARK FACILITIES INVENTORY




    CITY
   PARKS




                                                                                                                                                                                WARMINGHOUSE



                                                                                                                                                                                                           PARKINGLOTS
                                                                                                                                                      PLAYGROUND
                                                                                                VOLLEYBALL
                                              BASKETBALL




                                                                                 HORSESHOES




                                                                                                                                                                                               BATHROOMS
                                                                                                                                          WADINGPOO
                                                           ICESKATING




                                                                                                                                                                   PICNICKING




                                                                                                                                                                                                                         PATHWAYS
                                                                                                                      FOOTBALL
                        BASEBALL

                                   SOFTBALL




                                                                        HOCKEY




                                                                                                                                 SOCCER
                                                                                                             TENNIS
                ACRES




Edgemoor        2.6                                                                                                                                   X

Gauvitte        16      X          X          X            X            X                                                                             X            X            X              X           X

Hilltop         1                                          X                                                                                          X            X

Huset           28      X          X          X            X                     X             X             X        X          X        X           X            X            X              X           X

Keyes           16      X          X          X            X            X                                             X          X                    X            X            X              X           X

LaBelle         20                            X            X                     X                                                                    X                         X              X           X             X

Lomianki        2                             X            X                     X             X             X                                        X            X            X              X                         X

Ramsdell        8       X          X          X            X            X                                             X          X        X           X            X            X              X           X             X

McKenna         8.5     X          X          X            X            X                                             X          X        X           X            X            X

Ostrander       3                                          X            X        X                                                                    X            X            X              X

Prestemon       5       X          X          X                                  X                           X                                        X                         X              X           X             X

Silver Lake     5                                                                              X                                                      X            X            X              X           X

Sullivan Lake   8                                                                X                           X                                        X            X            X              X           X             X

Wargo Court

TOTAL           121     6          6          8            9            5        6             3             4        4          4        3           13           10           11             10          8             5*
Source: Comprehensive Park System Plan, 1996
* The five pathways include 4.5 miles



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CLASSIFICATION AND STANDARDS

The City of Columbia Heights has developed a park classification system to aid in determining
future demand and to provide a better understanding of current facilities within the City’s
jurisdiction. Each of the park classifications includes standards for the classification as well as
parks within the community that fall into the classification.


MINI-PARKS

Mini-parks are usually 2,400 to 5,000 square feet in size and provide space for picnicking,
walking, or gathering. Park components typically include benches, tables, playground area, and
a focal element, such as a fountain. Mini-parks in the Columbia Heights park system include
Edgemoor, Hilltop, and Wargo Court parks.


NEIGHBORHOOD PARKS

Neighborhood parks are usually 2 to 5 acres in size and provide active recreational areas that
serve the surrounding residents within one-quarter to one- half mile of the park. Park
components typically include playground equipment, open play areas, game courts, benches,
picnic areas, trees and shrubbery, and occasionally a ball field and/or skating rink.
Neighborhood parks in the Columbia Heights park system include Gauvitte, Keyes, Ostrander,
and Prestemon parks.


COMMUNITY PARKS

Community parks are usually 15 to 25 acres in size and provide organized recreational activities
for the entire community. Park facilities usually include athletic fields, game courts, and picnic
areas, playground equipment, play areas, swimming pool, and pathways. Community parks are
normally accessed by automobile and located near a major thoroughfare. Community parks in
the Columbia Heights park system include Huset, Curt Ramsdell, and McKenna parks.


REGIONAL PARKS

Regional parks are larger parks that serve more than one community and are often located in
areas with natural amenities such as woods, hills, or water. Typical activities include
picnicking, hiking, boating, fishing, swimming, skiing, and camping. Albert A. Kordiak Park is
the only regional park within Columbia Heights.




                                               125
HISTORIC PARKS

Historic Parks have significance related to a particular event within a community. These areas
preserve, maintain and interpret features that make the site meaningful. Although there are no
historic parks in the community, many people recognize the historical significance of Wargo
Court because of the on-site time capsule and name dedication.


SPECIAL USE

Special use parks are usually created for a specialized or specific purpose recreational activity
such as golf, nature centers, and zoos. The Silver Lake Swimming Beach is a special use park
within the community.


SCHOOL PARKS

School parks are usua lly located adjacent to schools and are created to jointly serve the
recreational needs of the school and the immediate neighborhood or community at large.
Recreation areas classified as school parks are the outdoor recreational facilities provided at
Columbia Heights High School and Central Middle School. Additional facilities are located at
North Park Elementary, which is located in Fridley but within the Columbia Heights school
district, and are used by the Columbia Heights Recreation Department to meet its current
recreation demands.


OTHER: CHURCHES AND COLLEGES

There are also churches and a technical college within the community that have recreational
facilities; however, most of these facilities are only available for use by members, students, and
employees. Examples of these types of facilities include NEI, First Lutheran Church, and
Immaculate Conception Church. The facilities at First Lutheran Church are available to the
general public during specified times.


NATIONAL FACILITY STANDARDS

In order to compare the adequacy of park and recreation facilities in Columbia Heights to other
communities, National Facility Standards have been referenced. These standards serve as a
guide to determining park and recreation needs in Columbia Heights, since each community has
different needs depending upon its character, geographical location, and demographics.
Table 10-2 provides a comparison of park and recreation facilities in Columbia Heights as
compared to the current national facility standards.




                                               126
TABLE 10-2
NATIONAL STANDARDS IN RELATION TO EXISTING FACILITIES

                                                       NUMBER OF     NUMBER OF
                               SPACE     NUMBER OF      NATIONAL     FACILITIES      SERVICE
 FACILITY
                              REQUIRED    UNITS/POP    SUGGESTED     COLUMBIA         AREA
                                                        FACILITIES    HEIGHTS*

                                                                                     ¼ to ½ mile
 Baseball Field               3 ACRES      1/5,000          4             8

                                                                                     ¼ to ½ mile
 Softball Field               2 ACRES      1/5,000          4             8

                                                                                     ¼ to ½ mile
 Basketball Courts             .5 ACRE     1/3,000         6.7           11

 Skating Rink                                                                          1 mile
                               1 ACRE      1/2,000         10             9

                                                                                       ½ mile
 Hockey Rink                   .5 ACRE     1/3,000         6.7            5

                                                                                     ¼ to ½ mile
 Volleyball Court              .1 ACRE     1/5,000          4             4

                                                                                     ¼ to ½ mile
 Tennis Court                  .6 ACRE     1/2,000         10             7

                                                                                      15 to 30
 Football Field               2 ACRES      1/20,000         1             6
                                                                                      minutes

                                                                                     1 to 2 miles
 Soccer Field                 2 ACRES      1/5,000          4             6

                                                                                       ¼ mile
 Playground                    .5 ACRE     1/1,500         13.4          15

                                                                                       1 mile
 Picnic Shelter               .25 ACRE     1/5,000          4             3
*Includes school facilities


In almost all categories, the City of Columbia Heights either meets or exceeds national
standards. The exception to this is tennis courts and picnic facilities -two areas where the City
does not meet the national guidelines. Even when taking the schools and college within the
community into consideration, the number of tennis courts in the community is significantly
lower than the standard. There are no school tennis courts available for use when school is not
in session and most of the park courts are in need of resurfacing and other repairs.


NEEDS ASSESSMENT EXAMINATION

In June 1996, the Columbia Heights Recreation Department conducted a parks and recreation
needs assessment study. The purpose of this study was to determine residents’ awareness,
usage, and attitudes towards parks, recreation facilities, programs and activities in the
community. The survey was randomly distributed to 800 Columbia Heights residents, with a
total of 283 completed surveys returned. The sampling error for this study was less than five
percent.



                                                 127
The results of this study indicated that the residents of Columbia Heights had a high level of
overall satisfaction with parks, recreation facilities, programs and activities provided by the
City. Over one-fourth of the residents were aware of all the park and recreation opportunities
listed in the survey; however, one-third of the residents had never used any of the parks and
recreation facilities. In addition, with the exception of the City Jamboree, four- fifths of the
residents had not participated in any of the City’s recreation programs or activities.

The survey also indicated that most residents believe the community has enough park space to
serve the recreation and leisure needs of the community’s resident; however, many residents’
opinions were mixed concerning the future acquisition of additional park and recreation
facilities. The majority of survey respondents indicated that they would support a referendum
to make park improvements and/or build an indoor multi-use center, provided that their taxes
would not increase and that private funding would cover a large portion of the expense to the
City. When asked about supporting a referendum to raise taxes in order to fund park
improvements or build an indoor multi- use facility, the resident’s responses varied.


RECREATION DEMAND TRENDS

The following trends in the demand for recreation facilities provide insight into the need for
future recreational facilities in Columbia Heights. In general, participation in trail recreation is
expected to increase and activities such as bicycling, jogging, pleasure walking, and pet walking
will also continue to grow. The following trends are expected to have the greatest influence on
urban parks and recreational facilities in the future:

Activity and Service Trends

•   Demand for walking, running, and biking (urban activities) vs. hiking opportunities

•   Need for more interpretation and environment education

•   More athletic and special events (tournaments)

•   More elderly and special needs requiring barrier- free activities

•   Guided day hikes circular trails

•   Demand for picnicking and short term camping with related diverse recreation activities
    nearby (i.e. playgrounds, volleyball, and baseball)

Facility Trends

•   Need for quality day use facilities (picnic area, athletic fields, and playgrounds)

•   Demand for top- notch urban fisheries

•   Demand for multiple uses on all urban parklands

                                                128
•   Group areas/community centers for youth and community groups

•   Increased concession operations and services provided

•   More facilities for larger groups

•   Adequate, well maintained picnic areas, including group areas with better services,
    sanitation, electricity-reasonably priced

User and Use Pattern Trends

•   Greater mino rity and handicap use requiring higher development level and user
    information/education

•   Increasing use by a wider variety of ethnic and socio-economic groups

•   Minority, single-parent families needing a place to take part in activities, sports, etc.

•   More elderly as frequent day visitors at parks close to their home

•   Increasing use by the people not seeking traditional experiences (vandals, gangs)

•   More organized activities and day use

•   Less interest in environmental education since urban residents are so detached form the land
    and natural resources

•   More people seeking recreation closer-to-home, low-cost, low time- impact, with nature
    oriented opportunities

Management Issues and Trends

•   Increasing recreation demands beyond budget and staff capabilities

•   Less and less people attuned to environmental knowledge and concern

•   Increasing conflicts with adjacent urban interface- users recreating adjacent to residential
    areas, locating facilities near residential areas

•   Increased numbers of people, more congestion, vandalism, and wear and tear of features and
    facilities

•   Meeting the needs of low- income users with current trends of fewer appropriations, greater
    reliance on user fees, and contracts/partnerships, etc.




                                                 129
CONCLUSIONS AND MAJOR FINDINGS

The following conclusions and findings were included in the 1996 Comprehensive Park System
Plan:


DEMOGRAPHICS

To best meet the changing needs of the population, the City of Columbia Heights park system
must be prepared to conform to the needs of the increasing elderly population as well as the
increasing number of preschool children and young families in the area. It is also recommended
that the Recreation Department do its part to address the rising growth of non-traditional
families by providing alternative activities to meet the needs of single-parent households.


LAND DEVELOPMENTS

To meet the needs of a completely developed urban area, the City of Columbia Heights must be
willing to acquire additional land that is deemed beneficial to the park system. Besides the
north and south end of Lomianki Park, the loss of any additional park space would prove to be
extremely critical to the vitality of the park system. Possible future land acquisitions include a
vacated lot for sale at 3932 Quincy Street, as well as the Kremer and Davis building at
3900 Jefferson Street. Since both these properties adjoin Huset Park, the acquisition of the
properties would be beneficial to the redevelopment of Huset Park.


RECREATION AND FACILITY TRENDS

Besides demographics, the primary trend affecting parks and recreation is increased
transportation. People are becoming more destination-oriented and are willing to travel to those
places and/or communities that offer them the services they are seeking. With increased
transportation, improve ments in transportation routes (especially pedestrian-based) and ease of
access (including handicap persons) are becoming more critical. Other projected trends include
more group activities, improved group areas and picnic facilities, and close-to-home, low-cost
recreation opportunities.


TRAILS AND PATHWAYS

A rapidly increasing trend, trails and pathways are becoming an essential component in linking
parks to developments, people, and to the community. As recreation activities such as biking,
running, walking, and inline skating increase, the need for an effective trail and pathway system
in Columbia Heights becomes more of a priority.




                                               130
ATHLETIC FIELDS
While baseball needs are currently being met, the supply of softball fields within the City are
unable to keep up with demand. The development of at least one or two additional fields or the
possibility of a multi- use baseball/softball field should be explored.

TENNIS COURTS
According to inventory and data discussed earlier, the City also has an unmet demand for tennis
courts. Although tennis use is decreasing, the only courts in decent condition are the courts at
Sullivan Lake and the High School. However, it must be noted that the High School does not
allow use of its courts when school is not in session, and this includes summer. To meet the
needs of the community, it is recommended that one set of tennis courts be both repaired and
resurfaced or redeveloped completely.

PICNIC FACILITIES
At this time, the City does contain many picnic tables located throughout the parks. However,
the need for appropriate group picnic shelters and clustered picnic areas is increasing. The
development of picnic shelters containing electrical hook-ups, water, and other amenities should
be considered.

WADING POOLS
These recreational water facilities are a very popular park amenity but also very expensive.
Taking current conditions into consideration, redevelopment of the pools or the possibility of
exploring an alternative recreational water facility is a future necessity.

OTHER OUTDOOR FACILITIES
While some facilities such as basketball courts and ice-rinks continue to keep pace with
demand, other facilities such as playground equipment, park buildings, and the band shell are
aging and showing signs of deterioration. Replacement of these deteriorating facilities is
considered a high-priority and has already begun to occur. A lightweight, portable stage may
also be considered as a possible replacement for the band shell.

INDOOR FACILITIES
Currently all indoor recreation facilities are unable to meet demands. Even though outdoor
recreation is the primary focus of the community, the need for appropriate and viable indoor
recreation space is continuing to increase. If constructed, an indoor multi-purpose facility could
be envisioned as a community center, containing meeting rooms, gymnasium space, a teen
center, and special use activity rooms.




                                               131
TRAIL SYSTEM

The City of Columbia Heights does not have a comprehensive trail system. There are short
perimeter paths at Sullivan Lake, LaBelle and Kordiak Parks; however, these are the only
recreation trails within the community. Considering the current and future recreational needs of
the citizens of Columbia Heights, the development of a comprehensive trail system is a high
priority. There are many opportunities within Columbia Heights to increase the accessibility
and circulation of pedestrian, bicycle and other non- motorized modes of transportation. Most of
these opportunities occur along existing transportation routes and must be carefully designed
and implemented into the existing transportation framework. The development of any trail
element within a fully developed community such as Columbia Heights will have to
accommodate safe and convenient use by pedestrians and other modes of transportation without
compromising motorized transportation choices.           Increasing pedestrian movement and
accessibility within the community will enhance the linkages between various areas, including
the areas targeted for redevelopment. These linkages will also enhance the overall image of the
City while encouraging the use of alternative modes of transportation.


PARK AND OPEN SPACE GOALS, POLICIES AND IMPLEMENTATION
STRATEGIES

The following park and open space goals have been developed for Columbia Heights. Each goal
includes numbered policies and bulleted implementation strategies that correspond to each of
the policies.

Goal: Promote parks and trails as essential elements of a broader strategy to provide fiscal
      strength, encourage private economic growth, improve community image and
      enhance the quality of life in Columbia Heights.

1.     Maintain, improve, and redevelop the system of parks within the community.

       •   The City will maintain and replace existing park facilities as needed.

       •   The City will utilize location deficiencies to prioritize needed park system
           maintenance and improvements within the community.

       •   The City will continue the on-going development of the system by identify non-park
           lands adjoining existing parks for possible acquisition as well as isolated parcels of
           existing non-usable parkland for disposition.

       •   The City will utilize the capital improvement program to fund park improvement and
           redevelopment throughout the community.




                                              132
2.       Maintain and improve the system of trails within the community.

         •    The City will create a well-defined system of trails and sidewalks linking all
              municipal parks and major activity areas throughout the community to encourage
              non-vehicular transportation, afford access to all municipal parks, provide a
              connection to the regional park and trail system, and serve as an additional
              community-wide recreation facility.

         •    The City will prioritize proposed trail segments and existing trail system upgrades
              throughout the community.

         •    The City will utilize the capital improvement program to fund trail system
              development and improvement throughout the community.

3.       Promote a sense of ownership in the community’s parks to enhance.

         •    The City will utilize volunteer labor for park upkeep and general maintenance as
              appropriate in order to enhance the sense of ownership and pride within the park
              system.

         •    The City will explore the feasibility of creating an “adopt a park” program.

         •    The City will encourage plantings and other landscaping endeavors within parks by
              citizens and neighborhood groups when done in accordance with City-approved
              plans.

         •    The City will encourage public involvement in the decision- making process through
              public meetings and the development of master plans for individual parks.

4.       Utilize master planning for park redevelopment projects.

     •       The City will prepare a master plan for the redevelopment of Huset Park as a central
             focus point of the community in conjunction with the overall Community Center
             project.

     •       The City will develop flexible master plans for each park that address the current and
             future needs of the community and the neighborhoods served.

Goal: Encourage the development and maintenance of a unified park system and
      cooperative recreational programs.

1.       Coordinate park planning and development activities with adjacent communities, the
         school district, Anoka County and State agencies to provide the highest level of service
         while eliminating duplication of efforts.

         •    The City will coordinate park and open space facility development and funding with
              appropriate organizations and agencies.

         •    The City will coordinate program development and implementation with the other
              recreation providers in the community, including the community education program.
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      •   The City will consider the feasibility of appointing a Parks Director/Planner to
          oversee the maintenance, upkeep, development and redevelopment of the entire park
          system.

Goal: Provide a safe, flexible and attractive park and open space system based on
      community characteristics, changing demographics, and overall needs.

1.    Maintain standards for all parks to provide safe and attractive facilities for all residents.

      •   The City will utilize park classification and development standards to identify
          needed park facility improvements throughout the community.

      •   The City will develop maintenance standards for all municipal park facilities based
          on the intensity of use and the purpose/classification of the park.

      •   The City will review the subdivision regulations, and amend them if needed, to
          ensure that adequate park and trail dedications are required during the platting of
          property for development or redevelopment.

2.    Rely on current community characteristics and trends when developing park facilities
      and recreation programs.

      •   The City will monitor changing population trends, obtain public input, and assess
          park use on an on-going basis to provide an up-to-date and flexible system of
          activities and programs.

      •   The City will consider demographic changes as well as location deficiencies when
          establishing park sys tem redevelopment priorities.

3.    Provide a park and open space system that serves the wide-ranging recreation and
      leisure needs of the community’s residents.

      •   The City will explore the feasibility of developing additional softball and/or baseball
          field(s) within the community.

      •   The City will explore the feasibility of developing and/or redeveloping/repairing
          tennis courts in municipal parks throughout the community.

      •   The City will explore the feasibility of developing picnic shelters and/or clustered
          picnic areas with electrical hook-ups, water and other amenities in community parks.




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4.     Enhance recreational opportunities for the community’s youth.

       •    The City will work with the school district to identify appropriate recreation
            programs and needed facilities for the community’s youth population.

       •    The City will explore the need for a joint youth activity center/library/community
            center facility within the community.

       •    The City will explore the need for and feasibility of a wading pool or similar facility
            within the community.

5.     Preserve and protect natural features and resources in existing parks and when planning
       and redeveloping park and recreational facilities.

       •    The City will develop standards for protection of natural features in the development
            of new park facilities within the community.

       •    The City will coordinate park planning and storm water management efforts to
            preserve the quality of water resources within existing parks and open space areas.

       •    The City will accommodate sensitivity and understanding of adjacent land uses in
            park and facility planning.

       •    The City will take appropriate actions to bring Silver Lake to swimming and fishing
            quality as defined by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Goal: Fund park and recreation facilities in an effective and equitable manner.

1.     Provide municipal park and open space facilities in a cost-effective manner.

       •    The City will consider long-term maintenance costs as well as initial investment
            costs when considering facility design and redevelopment.

       •    The City will prepare and maintain a long-range capital improvements program for
            all park, trail and open space facilities.

       •    The City will identify a long-term funding source for the development,
            redevelopment and maintenance of all park system facilities.

2.     Promote alternative funding sources for park and recreational facilities and programs
       within the community.

       •    The City will explore the possibility of soliciting contributions from private
            organizations and corporations in the community, including the development of a
            “gift catalogue” which would identify needs within the system and associate costs.

        •   The City will explore the feasibility of a referendum bond issue for park

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            redevelopment, including upgrades and improvements to existing facilities, the
            possible acquisition of additional land, and the possible development of an indoor
            recreation facility.

        •   The City will assess reasonable charges for specialized recreation facilities and
            programs when those participating benefit directly.

        •   The City will assess rental fees for recreation and leisure facilities as determined by
            the City Council.

        •   The City will assess a general non-resident fee to all non-residents participating in
            Columbia Heights recreation programs excluding mutually sponsored events and
            other special occasions.

        •   The City will utilize volunteer labor as appropriate for park upkeep and general
            maintenance.

        •   The City will explore sources and apply for county, state, and federal grants
            consistent with City policies to maintain and improve the park and trail system,
            such as the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the Legislative
            Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCMR), the Tree Trust, and the Urban Park
            and Recreation Recovery program (UPARR).

        •   The City will develop a strategy for creating park and recreation activities and
            programs that generate revenue to be used to support park program improvements.


FUNDING SOURCES

The following is a discussion of funding sources for park system development and
redevelopment.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is a federal program that supplies matching
grants (50/50) to states and localities for recreation planning, public land acquisition and the
development of outdoor recreation facilities. It is administered by the Minnesota Department of
Natural Resources (DNR) and the Department of Trade and Economic Development (DTED).
Applications for grants are due in the fall, with recipients being notified in late winter. The
criteria used to rank the applications change periodically.


The Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCMR) is an organization that
administers three state funds intended to assist with innovative projects that enhance natural
resources. Projects are funded on a two- year basis and need to have a specified beginning and
ending date. LCMR accepts applications biennially with competition for these grants remaining
quite high.

The Tree Trust is a private, non-profit organization that administers job programs funded by
grants from the federal government. The summer youth employment is a resource available to
local governments and other non-profit agencies. The Tree Trust provides labor and
supervision, while the local government provides tools and materials. Eligible projects include
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tree planting, landscape maintenance, construction of retaining walls, construction of pedestrian
bridges, and similar projects; however, the project must involve a minimal use of power tools.
The projects for a given year are typically determined in March; therefore, work requests need
to be made well in advanced.


The Urban Park and Recreation Recovery (UPARR) is a federal funding source that supplies
matching grants to local governments for the rehabilitation of recreation areas and facilities and
the demonstration of innovative approaches to improve park system management and recreation
opportunities. The grants range in size from 50 percent to 70 percent of project costs and are
administered through the National Park Service. Eligibility is based on need, economic and
physical distress, and the relative quality and condition of urban recreation facilities and
systems.




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11. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN

INTRODUCTION

The City of Columbia Heights has a strong commitment to improving the economic diversity
and business vitality within the community. The community is strategically located just north
of downtown Minneapolis, with direct access to the regional transportation system via
TH 65 (University Avenue) and TH47 (Central Avenue).

In an effort to strengthen the community’s tax base and foster economic growth, the City has
established an Economic Development Authority (EDA) and developed strategies to promote
development and redevelopment. The primary goals of the EDA are: 1) retain and expand
existing businesses and industries; 2) diversify the community’s economy; 3) strengthen the
community’s tax base; 4) recruit new businesses and industries; and 5) create high quality jobs.
The EDA also recognizes the importance of providing convenient goods and services to the
existing residents of the community, including transportation services that link residents with
jobs in the community.

The 1990 Census indicated that the majority of jobs in Columbia Heights were within the retail
trade and services industries. The Metropolitan Council projects that the number of jobs within
the community will increase from the 1998 estimate of 5,640 to a 2020 projection of
6,300. This represents an increase of 11.7 percent, and provides the City with an opportunity to
encourage development of businesses and industries that will contribute social, economic and
aesthetic value to the community.


STRATEGIC PLANNING PROCESS

In 1995, the City of Columbia Heights adopted a strategic planning process aimed at defining
what the community could realistically become and mapping out implementation strategies to
make it happen. During the process, five issues of major concern to the community were
identified: business environment, quality neighborhoods, capital improvements, City
organization and City service delivery. Performance objectives were also identified for each of
the five issues, which were then assigned to the City’s various departments.

The business environment issue identified in the strategic plan states, “promote an economically
vital business environment and diversified tax base.” The plan also provides clarification of
this issue that states, “The economic stability of our community depends, in part, on a stable and
diverse tax base. To achieve this, we need to maintain the quality of housing stock, and to
promote reinvestment in properties by the commercial and industrial sectors.” The following
performance objectives are also included: 1) improve the appearance of commercial/industrial
districts; 2) improve relations between the business community and the City; and 3) update
business regulation policies.




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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY

In early 1996, the City established an Economic Development Authority (EDA) to provide
additional statutory authority for development and redevelopment efforts within the community.
The fundamental purpose of the EDA, as stated in the resolution establishing the EDA, is as
follows: “It is found and determined by the City Council that the encouragement and financial
support of economic development and redevelopment in the City is vital to the orderly
development and financing of the City and in the best interests of the health, safety, prosperity,
and general welfare of the citizens of the City.” There are seven members of the EDA,
including the Mayor, four City Council members, and two members from the community at-
large.

With the establishment of an EDA, all of the programs and responsibilities of the Housing and
Redevelopment Authority (HRA) were assumed by the EDA. The powers of an EDA are more
encompassing than the powers of an HRA; however, all of the powers of the HRA were
retained by the EDA during the transformation process.


BUSINESS BASE

As part of the City’s Business Retention and Expansion Program, the City hired Community
Resource Partnerships, Inc. (CRP) to survey businesses in the community. Between August
1997 and March 1998, CRP designed and conducted an intensive survey directed at every
business operating in the City of Columbia Heights. A total of 301 firms, employing a total of
3,815 employees, completed the survey. This represents approximately 93 percent of all firms
in the community. The following is a summary of issues identified through the survey process:

•   Overall business optimism is high.

•   Columbia Heights’ business mix is similar to other North Metro area communities with
    perhaps a few more service-oriented businesses.

•   Most businesses are satisfied with the majority of City services; however, a variety of
    signage, parking, traffic and other issues were raised.

•   Graffiti and vandalism are perceived to have gotten worse over the past two years.

•   Fourteen percent expressed a high priority need for better facilities.

•   Many complain of a lack of available land or facilities.

•   Strong demand for employees, particularly skilled workers.

•   Many firms have plans to make capital improvements to building and/or equipment.

•   Most sell a majority, if not all, of their goods and services locally.


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•   The area still has a core group of base building industries.

•   A number of firms have plans to expand their markets geographically.

•   Relatively few sell internationally.

•   Many firms see the need for internally enhanced management and marketing skills.

•   Seventeen companies are currently overcrowded in their existing space.

•   Roads are the most frequently noted as “important” location factor.

•   Most plan to stay for five or more years, but a significant number of firms in all sectors
    indicate potential mobility.

•   Significant support is given for a Columbia Heights Chamber of Commerce.

•   Significant willingness to share expertise and to serve on area advisory bodies.


FUNDING SOURCES AND PROGRAMS

TAX INCREMENT FINANCING

In 1997, the City established two tax increment financing (TIF) districts. Housing District
No. 1 was established to rehabilitate older ho mes and includes 55 scattered single family
housing sites throughout the community. Housing District No. 2 was established to assist with
the development of a three story, 70 unit independent living senior housing apartment building.

There are also four redevelopment TIF districts, one economic development TIF district and one
pre-1979 TIF district in Columbia Heights.


BUSINESS REVOLVING LOAN FUND

The business revolving loan fund program is administered by the EDA. This fund provides low
interest loans to businesses for equipment and facilities.


FIRST TIME HOMEBUYERS PROGRAM

The City of Columbia Heights also has a first time home buyer program through the Minnesota
Housing Finance Agency’s (MHFA) Minnesota Cities Participation Program (MCPP). The
funds under this program are provided to qualified first time homebuyers within income
guidelines to purchase an existing home for under $95,000. Funds are applied for through
participating lenders.




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ANOKA COUNTY COMMUNITY BLOCK GRANT PROGRAM
The Community Block Grant Program (CDBG) is funded yearly through the Anoka County
CDBG Entitlement program and is administered by the Community Development Department
on behalf of the City. Community development and housing projects funded through this
program include Head Start, public service activities, commercial revitalization and housing
revitalization.

A portion of allocated CDBG funds are allocated for a Housing Rehabilitation Grant/Loan
program. This program is used to assist low to moderate income homeowners with repairs
needed for their homes. The Grant/Loan is deferred 10 percent annually, up to a 50 percent
deferment. The remaining 50 percent of the loan is payable when the property transfers title.

MINNESOTA HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY LOAN PROGRAM
The Columbia Heights EDA administers three MHFA loan programs: The Great Minnesota Fix-
Up Fund; the Home Energy Loan, and the Fix- Up Fund Accessibility Loan.


TRANSIT -RELATED DEVELOPMENT TAX INCENTIVE
Commercial/industrial properties located within one-quarter mile of a frequently operated
transit line (University Avenue, Central Avenue, 44th Avenue, 40th Avenue and 37th Avenue
east of Johnson Street) are eligible for a property tax reduction. The purpose of this incentive is
to concentrate employment to a greater degree along fixed route transit.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT GOALS, POLICIES AND IMPLEMENTATION
STRATEGIES

The following economic development goals have been developed for Columbia Heights. Each
goal includes numbered policies and bulleted implementation strategies that correspond to each
of the policies.

Goal: Enhance the economic viability of the community.

1.     Encourage the continuation and enhancement of existing businesses within the
       community.

       •   The City will facilitate the redevelopment of the University Avenue and Central
           Avenue corridors in a manner that is compatible with and supportive of transit and
           transit-related land use patterns.

       •   The City will support efforts to revitalize 40th Avenue between University and
           Central to ensure its lasting success as part of a mixed-use Community Center.

       •   The City will support efforts to sustain and enhance the commercial district at
           37th Avenue and Stinson Boulevard.

       •   The City will support efforts to strengthen the economic viability of the downtown
           core (40th and Central Avenue).

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       •   The City will support the creation of a mixed-use planned development district with
           opportunities for small scale retail, services and diverse residential housing types
           connecting the proposed Community Center with the 40th and downtown core.

       •   The City will explore the feasibility of creating additional commercial retail areas
           based on land use specialization, including “big box” and pedestrian oriented
           development types.

       •   The City will continue to identify measures that will protect private commercial
           property from vandalism, loitering, graffiti and other nuisances.

2.     Encourage the continuation and enhancement of existing industries within the
       community.

       •   The City will continue to encourage the expansion of existing industrial businesses
           in the community.

       •   The City will support efforts to upgrade the appearance of the industrial area in the
           southwest area of the community.

       •   The City will research the feasibility of upgrading the infrastructure within the
           industrial area in the southwest area of the community, including roadways and
           storm sewer.

       •   The City will identify potential brownfield sites within the community and apply for
           available grants when needed to fund polluted site cleanups for private
           redevelopment.

3.     Improve the appearance of commercial and industrial districts throughout the
       community.

       •   The City will continue to assess areas needing physical appearance upgrades through
           the use of a windshield survey.

       •   The City will identify program(s) that provide financial assistanc e to owners of
           properties in need of physical improvements.

       •   The City will utilize a Livable Communities Demonstration Account grant to fund
           physical improvements along the Central Avenue corridor from 37th Avenue to
           42nd Avenue.

       •   The City sill support redevelopment efforts that include high quality exterior
           appearances and site design.

       •   The City will amend the zoning ordinance to strengthen site design and architectural
           standards for commercial and industrial development and redevelopment efforts.

Goal: Promote reinvestment in properties by the commercial and industrial sectors.

1.     Improve relations between the City and the business community.
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     •   The City will continue to promote economic development activities and projects in
         the community through the Cit y’s Economic Development Authority.

     •   The City will continue to review policies affecting the operation of businesses in the
         community and recommend changes as needed.

     •   The City will maintain membership and communication with the Columbia Heights
         and Southern Anoka County Chambers of Commerce.

2.   Promote high quality development and redevelopment opportunities within the
     community.

     •   The City will continue to maintain a list of commercial and industrial properties
         available for sale or lease within the community, and make the information readily
         available to potential developers.

     •   The City will develop criteria to judge the merit of development and redevelopment
         proposals within the community.

     •   Where feasible, the City will acquire or enter into partnerships with
         owners/developers of sites that are obsolete, contaminated or in need of
         redevelopment and/or reinvestment.

     •   Where feasible, the City will acquire and demolish substandard structures along
         Central Avenue to encourage redevelopment in this area.

     •   The City will actively promote the redevelopment and revitalization of commercial
         and industrial properties in the community through the use of CDBG funds.

3.   Encourage existing industries and businesses to expand within the community.

     •   The City will support the expansion and improvement of the existing infrastructure
         to meet projected industrial, commercial and residential service requirements.

     •   The City will discourage industrial development with excessive nuisance
         characteristics.

     •   The City will utilize the results of the Introduction to the Business Base (1998) study
         to address concerns of the business community.

     •   The City will continue to meet with existing industries and businesses to identify
         future needs, expansion plans, site limitations (if any) and available funding
         resources.

     •   The City will encourage the retention and expansion of existing business and
         industry though development and implementation of a marketing plan.

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Goal: Provide a wide variety of employment opportunities within the community

1.    Improve the quality and quantity of local employment opportunities.

      •   Support the redevelopment and expansion of the southwest industrial area to provide
          opportunities for the creation of higher wage jobs and to enhance tax capacity.

      •   The City sill support redeve lopment efforts that include high quality exterior
          appearances and higher wage jobs.

2.    Encourage the creation of high quality jobs within the community.

      •   The City will identify key industries and businesses to recruit that complement the
          existing industries and businesses, are environmentally sound, and provide high
          quality jobs for Columbia Heights residents.

      •   The City will research the feasibility of using technological capabilities to attract
          new businesses to Columbia Heights.

      •   The City will collaborate with agencies that provide education, skill training and job
          placement to ensure that Columbia Heights provides a sound base of qualified
          employees for its employers.




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12. INTERGOVERNMENTAL COOPERATION PLAN

INTRODUCTION

The City of Columbia Heights recognizes the value of intergovernmental cooperation as a way
to foster relationships, reduce or eliminate duplication of efforts, and increase the efficiency of
providing services to its residents. The City currently purchases water from the City of
Minneapolis rather than drilling its own wells, provides police protection and building
inspection services to the City of Hilltop, and cooperates with adjacent communities in the
management of surface water.


INTERGOVERNMENTAL COOPERATION GOAL, POLICIES AND
IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES

The following intergovernmental cooperation goal has been developed for Columbia Heights.
The goal includes numbered policies and bulleted implementation strategies that correspond to
each of the policies.

Goal: Support intergovernmental efforts that benefit the community.

1.     Continue participation in organizations that promote intergovernmental cooperation.

2.     Promote efforts to increase efficiency in the provision of municipal services.

       •   The City will continue to provide police protection and building inspection services
           to residents in the City of Hilltop, if feasible.

       •   The City will continue to cooperate with adjacent communities on the management
           of storm water and the creation of regional ponds.

       •   The City will continue to purchase water from the City of Minneapolis

       •   The City Columbia Heights will work with the City of Minneapolis regarding the
           future of the Minneapolis Water Works property.

       •   The City will explore the feasibility of merging with the City of Hilltop.

3.     Maintain communication and cooperation with other governmental agencies.

       •   The City will continue to cooperate with the Metropolitan Council and proactively
           participate in issues of regional significance that strengthen the quality of life for
           residents of Columbia Heights and the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area.



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•   The City will continue to cooperate with the Metropolitan Council on improving the
    efficiency and delivery of services under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan
    Council.

•   The City will continue to cooperate with State agencies such as the Department of
    Natural Resources, Department of Transportation and the Pollution Control Agency.

•   The City will continue to cooperate with Anoka County and Independent School
    District 13 on issues of importance and interest to the residents of Columbia Heights.




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13. IMPLEMENTATION PLAN

INTRODUCTION

This Comprehensive Plan articulates a common vision for Columbia Heights and establishes a
framework for guiding development and redevelopment within the community. Ensuring the
success of this vision requires an implementation strategy that takes full advantage of the
regulatory and fiscal tools available to the City. These tools include the City’s official controls,
the housing action plan, the capital improvement program (CIP) and other City programs and
actions.

This chapter summarizes the key implementation strategies found in the individual plan
elements and describes how regulatory and fiscal tools can be used to help the City achieve the
vision outlined in the Comprehensive Plan. These implementation strategies should be
reviewed periodically to ensure that emerging issues and opportunities are addressed in a
manner consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.


OFFICIAL CONTROLS

Official controls are ordinances and regulations that control the physical development of the
City, including the zoning ordinance, subdivision regulations, official maps and other
regulations. These controls are used to implement the land use plan and other aspects of the
Comprehensive Plan related to the use of land.


ZONING ORDINANCE

The City’s zoning ordinance is the single most effective tool used to implement the land use
plan and related goals of the Comprehensive Plan. A zoning ordinance provides for the
categorization of land into specific districts or zones and establishes criteria for each district in
an attempt to minimize land use conflicts and ensure economic stability. Since this regulatory
tool is used on a daily basis to regulate the private use of land, the ordinance needs to be kept up
to date and be responsive to the needs of the community.

The City’s current zoning ordinance was adopted in 1974. Although the zoning ordinance has
been amended since then, the entire zoning ordinance will be reviewed and amended as needed
to effectively implement this Comprehensive Plan. In particular, the City will amend the zoning
ordinance to:

•   Create a Mixed Use Development District. The purpose of this district would be to provide
    areas for mixed- use pedestrian oriented development along Central Avenue, University
    Avenue, and adjacent to the Community Center on 40th Street. Traditional zoning has come
    under pressure in recent years for not allowing enough flexibility in the physical design of
    development and redevelopment. Specifically, traditional zoning minimizes the ability to
    establish mixed- use districts or zones that take advantage of the often-symbiotic relationship
    between commercial and residential land uses in urban areas. The zoning ordinance will be
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    updated to reflect and promote the City’s desire to create mixed-use pedestrian oriented
    development that encourages a combination of commercial, retail and residential uses that
    will strengthen and unify key areas of the City.

•   Establish design standards that would apply to the construction, alteration or expansion of
    any commercial, industrial or multiple family property. These design standards would
    require high quality exterior finishes, building additions consistent with the original
    architecture, landscaping of parking areas and boulevards, landscape islands within parking
    lots, screening of rooftop and ground level mechanical equipment, location of loading areas
    at the rear or side of buildings, screening of trash handling equipment, downcast lighting,
    maximum impervious surfaces for redevelopment sites, screening of parking lots and
    loading areas, screening of higher intensity uses from lower intensity uses, and other site-
    specific treatments. These standards would be applied on a site-by-site basis to all new
    development and would be applied proportionately when existing properties were altered or
    expanded.

•   Modify the City’s existing sign regulations to ensure uniformity, encourage creativity and
    update the current regulations.

•   Establish site plan review criteria and create a staff- level development review committee.
    This committee would review and comment on all commercial, industrial and multiple
    family development proposals, with comments being incorporated into staff reports for
    proposals needing Planning Commission and/or City Council approval.

•   Establish sediment and erosion control requirements for all development activities that
    involve disturbance of ground cover and have the potential for erosion. The purpose of
    these requirements would be to prevent erosion on site and prevent materials from being
    washed on to adjacent properties, into water bodies or on the public right-of-way.

•   Update the floodplain overlay district requirements to reflect current conditions and bring
    the City into compliance with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’
    requirements.

•   Create a shoreland management overlay district to bring the City into compliance with the
    Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ requirements.

•   Create provisional uses for each zoning district. The purpose of provisional uses is to
    identify uses that are appropriate for a zoning district if specific provisions are met. By
    creating this category of uses, the number of requests requiring conditional use permits and
    a public hearing process would be reduced and the approval process would be streamlined.




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•   Update other sections of the zoning ordinance as needed to introduce flexibility, eliminate
    barriers to redevelopment, allow the use of solar access collection apparatuses, protect
    historically significant buildings and places, and streamline the development and
    redevelopment process.

•   Rezone the entire community based on the adopted land use plan and adopt a new zoning
    map. All developed areas would be rezoned so that non-conforming uses could be
    identified.


SUBDIVISION ORDINANCE

The City’s subdivision ordinance is also an effective tool to achieve the goals of the
Comprehensive Plan. This ordinance includes standards for the layout of parcels for private
development and the dedication of land for public right-of-way and parks.

The City’s current subdivision ordinance was also adopted in 1974. Because the City is fully
developed, changes to the current subdivision ordinance will have little affect on
implementation of the Comprehensive Plan. However, the entire subdivision ordinance will be
reviewed and amended as needed to eliminate barriers to redevelopment throughout the
community.


OFFICIAL MAPPING

Official mapping is another regulatory tool that the City can use to indicate the City’s intentions
regarding the location of future roadways and preserve right-of-way. Official mapping also puts
property owners and developers on notice as to the City’s intentions and prohibits additional
investment within the future right-of-way that would future encumber the property and be
contrary to the City’s plans. While there is no need to officially map any right-of-way at this
time, the City should keep this tool in mind if the need arises in the future.


HOUSING ACTION PLAN

The Housing Plan sets forth a framework to achieve a variety and mix of housing types and
styles meeting the demand for single- family, multiple-family and affordable residential
opportunities. Implementing the Housing Plan and ensuring its success relies on achieving
many of the complementary land use and redevelopment goals presented in the Comprehensive
Plan. The key housing implementation strategies include:

•   The City will continue to identify strategies to provide a more flexible and balanced housing
    supply.

•   The City will promote the development of medium-density owner-occupied and rental
    housing for empty nesters and other households seeking smaller more affordable housing
    options. Units vacated by these households will then provide new housing opportunities for
    larger households seeking move-up housing types.



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•   The City will publicize available housing programs to increase participation in the programs
    and disseminate information about housing issues and opportunities within the community.

•   The City will target opportunitie s for the development of move-up housing types within the
    community.

•   The City will maintain an inventory of vacant and deteriorating housing stock and make this
    list available to potential developers to enhance the redevelopment opportunities of the City.

•   The City will acquire and demolish the most seriously deteriorated single- family homes and
    work with the private sector to develop replacement housing.

•   The City will continue to use such tools as revenue bonds, tax increment financing,
    Community Development Block Grants and other public funding sources as may be
    available to assist in the development, redevelopment and improvement of housing in
    Columbia Heights.

•   The City will develop a point-of-sale housing code to ensure the structural and mechanical
    integrity of single-family housing units prior to sale.

•   The City will continue to enforce the Uniform Building Code as it applies to single- family
    and multi- family housing.

•   The City will strictly enforce its housing maintenance and nuisance regulations to protect
    residential property values.

•   The City will pursue a variety of funding opportunities, such as the Livable Communities
    Demonstration Account, to aid in the creation and enhancement of diverse housing
    opportunities.

•   As opportunities arise, the Cit y will acquire and assemble residential lots for the purposes of
    developing infill housing.

•   The City will amend the zoning ordinance to introduce flexibility and encourage the
    development of a variety of life cycle housing options.

•   The City will enforce high development standards for all multiple- family housing projects,
    including building massing, parking location, access, traffic impact, landscaping, exterior
    architectural design, screening, trash handling and parking ratios.




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PROJECT-SPECIFIC IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES

Implementing the Comprehensive Plan also requires other strategies that do not fall into any of
the above categories. These implementation strategies are specific actions or projects that will
be undertaken by the City to achieve the goals of the Comprehensive Plan.

•   The City will prepare a district plan for the Community Center area that incorporates Huset
    Park, local government facilities, community facilities, residential development and
    complementary commercial development. This plan will link the area near the current City
    Hall with commercial opportunities along the Central Avenue corridor, and provide
    redevelopment opportunities along 40th Street.

•   The City will develop a district plan to facilitate the redevelopment of the Central Avenue
    corridor, focusing on the Central Avenue/40th Street commercial node. This plan will
    incorporate streetscaping elements, public art and other design amenities and will create a
    friendlier and safer downtown for both residents and visitors. The plan will also encourage
    mixed-use commercial and residential development that is transit-oriented, pedestrian
    friendly and supports the new Metro Transit Hub at the intersection of Central Avenue and
    41st Street.

•   The City will develop a district plan to facilitate the redevelopment of the University
    Avenue Corridor. This plan will incorporate streetscaping elements and well-designed
    transit stations. The plan will also encourage high-density residential development that
    increases pedestrian traffic, encourages commercial activity and supports the use of transit.

•   The City will develop a district plan to facilitate the redevelopment of the Southwest
    Industrial Area and encourage the expansion of existing industries and attract new and
    innovative industrial uses. This plan will identify strategies to increase tax capacity, create
    higher wage jobs, mitigate brownfield sites, eliminate land use conflicts at the edges of the
    area and enhance infrastructure in the area. The plan will also identify funding sources,
    including Tax Increment Financing (TIF), Department of Trade and Economic Development
    (DTED) Redevelopment Grants and Metropolitan Council Livable Communities
    Demonstration Account funds for the redevelopment in this important industrial area.

•   The City will develop a community beautification program that will include identifying
    significant entrances into the community and developing appropriate signage for these areas,
    identifying appropriate areas throughout the community for the display of public art,
    developing a streetscape theme for the primary corridors in the community (Central Avenue,
    University Avenue, and 40th Street), developing a uniform pedestrian-oriented signage plan
    for the downtown area (Central Avenue/40th Street) and the Community Center area, and
    creating buffer areas between dissimilar uses.

•   The City will develop a detailed pedestrian and bicycle circulation plan that ensures safe
    non- motorized connections between neighborhoods, community parks, transit hubs and
    commercial areas throughout the community. This plan will address connections to the



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    regional park and trail system as well as the location of routes, including both bicycle and
    pedestrian routes along the Central Avenue, University Avenue and 40th Street corridors.
    The plan will also identify funding sources for the development of the non- motorized
    circulation system.

•   The City will develop a master plan for each park that addresses current needs of the
    population served, future needs, and funding sources for proposed improvements. The plans
    will utilize park classification and development standards to determine needed
    improvements and maintenance standards.

•   The City will establish a public relations campaign to promote the high quality public
    schools, available residential opportunities, transit connections, community pride and other
    strengths of the community that contribute to its quality of life.

•   The City will continue to work cooperatively with the City of Hilltop to address physical
    appearance and other issues of interest to both communities.

•   The City will continue to explore the feasibility of establishing a storm water utility to
    provide funds for the construction of regional storm water facilities.

•   The City will continue to work with and cooperate with other governmental units and
    agencies on issues that are of interest and/or benefit to the residents of Columbia Heights.


CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM

Another tool for implementing the Comprehensive Plan is the City’s capital improvement
program (CIP). The purpose of a CIP is to provide all of the information, rationale and
financial analysis necessary to make sound financial decisions about how to best implement the
Comprehensive Plan. A CIP is an itemized program for a five-year period, setting forth the
schedule, timing and details of specific contemplated capital expenditures. For each action, the
year of development and the estimated cost are shown, along with the source of funding.

Capital improvements within the City of Columbia Heights will focus on routine maintenance
and the replacement of the City’s major public facilities. As a fully developed City, Columbia
Heights does not foresee any major new construction of facilities over the next 20 years;
however, the City’s infrastructure – streets, sanitary and storm sewers, parks, schools and other
public structures - must periodically be improved and repaired.

The City’s capital improvement program for 2000-2004 is included in Appendix D.
Approximately, 10.25 million dollars have been targeted for improving the open space,
structural and water related improvements in Columbia Heights until 2004. An additional
$110,000 a year is necessary to provide annual maintenance to the sanitary and storm water
systems. While the City of Columbia Heights has traditionally developed a five year CIP, this
document will be updated on an annual basis in the future to respond more quickly to changing
needs and resources


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FISCAL TOOLS

The City also has other fiscal tools at its disposal to implement the Comprehensive Plan. The
methods used to finance infrastructure and other public improvements can influence how
development and redevelopment occur within the community. Taxes, special assessments, tax
increment financing, and state and federal aid programs are some of the fiscal tools available to
the City. These tools can be applied on a case-by-case basis to help achieve the goals of this
Plan that require financial expenditures.


PROPERTY TAXES

Property taxes are the primary revenue source for local governments. Tax rates apply uniformly
to all property in the City regardless of what the property creates in terms of costs or benefits to
the community. For this reason, property taxes are usually used to fund City-wide projects and
operations.


SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS

Special assessments allow the City to levy the costs of specific improvements against the
properties that directly benefit from these improvements. Special assessments are traditionally
used for infrastructure improvements, including roadways, sanitary sewer, storm sewer and
water mains.


USER FEES

User fees are payments collected for services, licenses and permits from the user of the service.
Payments made to enterprise funds, such as water, wastewater and garbage utility funds, are
also classified as user fees. These fees are used to cover capital costs, operation and
maintenance costs, and administrative costs. User fees are usually used by the City to fund
activities that directly benefit the payer of the fee.


TAX INCREMENT FINANCING

Tax increment financing (TIF) allows communities to finance the cost of certain types of
development or redevelopment. This type of financing works by capturing the increased
property taxes that the new development generates in order to repay the up- front improvement
costs. Columbia Heights currently has two housing TIF districts, four redevelopment TIF
districts, one economic development TIF district and one pre-1979 TIF district that are active.


ACTION PLAN

The actions needed to implement the Comprehensive Plan will take several years. For this
reason, the City of Columbia Heights will set priorities and develop an annual action plan that
addresses which strategies will be undertaken in the upcoming year.



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