City property mkt and pollution
From: Fred H Olson -- WB0YQM (
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 93 04:47 CDT
[Here's an article that I posted to alt.planning.urban.  Fred ]
City property mkt and pollution
I am a member of a group that would like to build a cohousing community
on a 4 acre site 2 miles southeast of downtown Minneapolis.  The location
is IDEAL for an urban cohousing community.  The neighborhood and a housing
authority report have concluded that the best use of the site is housing.
But there moderate* is soil and groundwater pollution. (* moderate in the
sense that much worse pollution exists on other sites)
The site was a truck depot from about 1940 to 1990 with some some other
businesses (including a printer) on the site before and during that time.
Spilled petroleum from underground tanks is one problem. Minnesota has a
special fund that reimburses petroleum spill clean up 90%. (Its funded from a
tax on current petroleum sales.)  This makes the petroleum problem much more
Test bores and wells have also found VOC's and SVOC's in various concentrations
but no clear source.  A test well accross the street shows trichlorethene (TCE)
of 3200 ug/L. (This is near a business that works with aluminum panels tho the
TCE is not attributed to this business.)
I have no expertise in this area (I'm a programmer) but have sensed a
tendency to dismiss such sites for housing very quickly without careful
Recently I've heard that sites with comparable problems have been cleaned up
Sites in California have been mentioned (tho not with specific locations).
Ah, here we go again, if it were a nice suburban site maybe we could do it...
Wouldn't it make as much sense to subsidize cleanup of a site such as this
to allow its "best use" as it does to subsidize cleanup of worse sites
that qualify for "super fund status" ?  Yes I realize that there many
moderately polluted sites and the total cost would be huge and that budget
realities today make this unlikely etc etc.  But I am presently concerned about
this one site.
 The July 93 "Environmental Property Assessment" runs 35 pages plus 130 pages of
figures, tables and appendeces - so far I only have it in hard copy tho I have a
friend who's offered ocr scanning. I hope to soon get a few pages of specifics
typed in at least - the conclusions section for example.
[ As an aside, wouldn't a law requiring government mandated reports to be
available in machine readable format facilitate electronic consultation? ]
Therefore I ask you advice on the following points:
I need specific case histories of sites that have been cleaned up (to the degree
that it is agreed that no health hazard exists) and used for housing.
I'm still looking for "second opinions" from people with relevant expertise
of the test results to determine cleanup feasiblity etc.
Where besides alt.urban.planning should I post this?
Fred    member of Seward Neighborhood Cohousing Group and sysop of COHOUSING-L
                                  Fred H. Olson    ( WB0YQM )
                                  1221 Russell Av N
                                  Minneapolis, MN 55411
                                  (612) 588-9532
                                  (Internet: fred%jwh [at]
P.S.  There is a neighborhood meeting to discuss the site's pollution 
called by the alderperson (I think) scheduled for Mon Aug 30th at 7 pm at
Mathews Park.  I hope to be prepared to state our position at that meeting.

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