March 7th - It is stated that a Supplemental Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW)* has been received from Bradford Development for the Mankato Motorsports Park Project. City staff is currently in the process of seeking proposals from consultant to complete a Third-Party Review. Staff expressed that the developer has not offered to pay for the supplemental EAW, whereas the developer paid for the initial 3rd party review on the original EAW.  Included in the packet for this meeting was a letter from the City Administrator to the Mayor and City Council members, twice stating that the cost would be paid for by the project proposer, Bradford Development. 

*There is no legal process for a "Supplemental EAW".  This is, in fact, a supplemented EAW.  It is not a separate entity from the original EAW, it is information obtained to fulfill the initial requests in the EAW.

It is explained that this supplemental information pertains to the two issues not adequately discussed in the EAW: impact on wildlife and the cumulative effect on climate change.  Should the city have a third-party review and it's completed, the EAW will move on to publication and the public comment period will be open to the public and agencies to submit comments.  For this period the comments are to pertain ONLY to the supplemental information - not the entire EAW. 

Council votes and approves to receive estimates from third-party reviewers and contact the developer to determine who will pay for the review.  

This is a privately funded project and should be fully paid for by the developer.   

Mid-March: "STOP" signs replace the "Yield" signs at the intersection of Hwy 14 and CSAH 17/27.  This is to make drivers stop and observe oncoming traffic before completing their left turn from Hwy 14 onto CSAH 17/27.  Personal experience has noticed MANY drivers blowing right through the STOP sign as though the "Yield" was still there.  This is also NOT stopped the westbound illegal U-turns that are common at that intersection.  

April 4th - Meeting packet includes received bids from Houston Engineering, Inc. (who did the original third-party review) and Braun Intertec.  At the March 7th meeting it was stated that the city has to accept the lowest responsible bid.  While the Houston Engineering bid is nearly $8,000 cheaper, they also missed the the lack of information that has brought the project to this stage.  

Included with the bids is a letter from the City Administrator to the Mayor and the City Council.  In this letter is it stated that: "The developer is not required to pay for a third-party review and has recently expressed that while compensation from him for the second 3rd-party review isn't unjustified, he feels that an effort to share the expense could be an equitable alternative for all parties". Again, this is a privately funded project.  It should not be on the city to cover any of the cost.  Had due diligence (or even careful reading) been done during the last review this step likely wouldn't have been necessary.  

There is also a letter from the City Administrator to the Mayor and the City Council regarding nearly 80 acres initially desired for this project.  Ownership has changed hands and the current owner has plans they want to address.  Owner has stated that they are a separate entity from the proposed project and the developer claims the sale of the parcel will not affect the viability of his project and it could move ahead without the parcel. Given that part of the course and a driveway were located on the parcel, one can expect to see a modified plan to appear at some point.  The question is, at what point is it no longer what the public and agencies reviewed?   

May 2nd (click to view meeting on YouTube.  The livestream did not start right away so Brad is already speaking and it goes to around 22 minutes) - Brad Bass, the developer was present for this meeting.  The last time he showed up for a meeting was virtually on September 30, 2020 for a discussion on the developer's agreement.  Before that it was July 1, 2019.

Brad states that he is still on track with moving forward with the project.  He addresses the northern section of the property being sold to another party, who will work with him to sell land for the motorsports part in the future when needed.  Additionally, the city attorney brings up the lack of a purchase agreement for the other parcel and that it could revert back to the township this fall when the annexation agreement ends.  

Brad explains that he is waiting for the 3rd party review - although the city council and Brad can't come to an agreement on who should pay for it (it's a privately funded project).  He is also waiting for the city to make a decision on whether or not he can move forward so he can keep working with the landowners.  He also shares that this decision is important to have real conversations with landowners about the direction of the project.  

Further discussion included concerns about the current layout (which has NOT been made public), how the new owner's plans to build sheds will affect the project and whether or not any of it warrants starting over.  

Brad states that he can have the buildings superimposed over his current layout so the city council can view what the final project may look like.  This information is to be available by the June city council meeting.  He also states that these buildings are identical to the structures they were going to build.  At no time did the plans show sheds in that same spot or condos with a typical shed exterior.  Guesses are made that the sheds will only enhance the reduction of noise to neighboring residents.  There is also the concern of the new owner going off on their own and working with the township.

Mike had submitted comments to be read out loud at this meeting and they weren't.  They were included in the packet for the council members but these questions/concerns were meant to be read for the benefit of those who aren't council members.  

Mayor Auringer states there will be public "hearings".  We have also been told that we would have a 30 cay comment period.

June 6th -  Despite the talk of a 3rd party review at the May 2nd meeting and that it was prudent to be consistent, that appears to have been dropped as nobody wants to pay for it. In a letter to the mayor and the city council, the city administrator states "Since no resolution has been reached on which party will be responsible for the cost of a 3rd party review and because it is not required, it does appear likely that a 3rd party review will be completed with the supplemental EAW".  So it appears likely, but the very next step is "scheduling a Special City council meeting in which Bradford Development and Bolton and Menk present the EAW and answer questions.  The meeting would be open to the public and public comment received.  Following that meeting, the RGU (City of Eagle Lake) would be tasked with making an EIS need decision on the two items remanded back to the City for further review and then prepare a record of decision, including the findings of fact and responses to all substantive comments." 

So no 3rd party review, no 30 day public comment period and a new determination of the need for an EIS in 21 days.

In 35 days they went from concern about a new land owner, additional buildings, and annexation agreements to suddenly being ready to make a new decision.  

Something got fast tracked and it happened out of the public eye.  3 years of asking for transparency and it still seems impossible.  So on June 28th at 6pm in the Eagle Lake City Hall, there will be a public hearing where I imagine someone will be diligently writing down our concerns so the responses can be included in the final decision.  

June 9th - After meeting with the city administrator this morning, it has been clarified that the meeting on June 28th will be just a public hearing.  There will NOT be a decision on the EIS made that day and there WILL be a 30 day comment period sometime after the hearing.  

She agreed that the previous communications were confusing with incomplete or inaccurate information.  She apologized and confirmed that June 28th will be a public hearing where the developer will be there to present the project and receive public feedback.  

We appreciate her willingness to reach out and correct this information after I had emailed the council on Tuesday afternoon, questioning what appeared to be an attempt to rush things along.