WOODBURY, Minn. — During her second State of the City address the evening of Feb. 20, Woodbury Mayor Anne Burt highlighted the variety of services and facilities in the city.
But the majority of the nearly hour-long speech focused on two topics: development and water quality.
About a third of the city's land is still left undeveloped, Burt said. She stressed the importance of the 2040 Comprehensive Plan, the framework of the city's long-term planning process, in determining what happens to that land.
"All the growth that's occurred in this city, from the beginning and through to completion when it's fully built by the year 2050, is all guided by our comprehensive plan," she said.
Burt said it was important to have a variety of housing options available in the city, whether for young families or older adults who want to age in place. In 2019, 355 single-family homes, 218 apartment units and 122 attached units, like townhomes, were added in Woodbury.
Also in 2019, 51 new businesses opened in the city, including Birdi Golf and Texas Roadhouse. Dunkin' and Chick-fil-A are two chains scheduled to open in 2020.
Regarding city structures, the new public works building and fleet service facility, which houses vehicles used for city services, was recently completed.
Burt echoed an oft-repeated assurance from city and state leaders, saying municipal water "continues to meet all federal and state water quality standards." She also provided background on the 2007 consent order and 2018 3M settlement involving the chemical family PFAS, produced by 3M for decades and disposed of at several locations in the east metro.
The city declared a state of emergency in January to help expedite the construction of a temporary water treatment plant to try to avoid water restrictions this summer when water demand increases. In October, the city's sixth well was taken offline after routine testing showed it exceeded PFAS health parameters set by the Minnesota Department of Health, and the city announced Feb. 21 that a seventh municipal well had been taken offline in early February. The city has 19 wells in total.
Burt called the temporary facility "a bridge" to more permanent solutions being looked at currently by state agencies who are stewards of the $720 million in settlement money. Fully-formed plans for these long-term solutions are expected late this spring.
The mayor also fielded a few questions from residents regarding water safety during a question-and-answer session at the end of the address. There are six opportunities to attend an informational session hosted by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Department of Natural Resources, including March 4 at Prestwick Golf Club in Woodbury.
"I think the city has been extremely proactive," Burt said. "We are doing the very best we can ... and we are meeting all those requirements right now, so there really shouldn't be a concern with the water."
- It was the first time Woodbury's State of the City address was broadcast live on YouTube. The city also recently began live streaming and archiving City Council and other meetings on YouTube through the South Washington County Telecommunications Commission, which previously live-streamed and archived meetings on its website.
- Audience participation was also encouraged: using menti.com, those watching in person and at home were able to participate using their smartphones to answer trivia questions about the city, including a question about what percentage of residents' property taxes the city receives. (The answer? 25%.)