ST MARY’S POINT CITY COUNCIL
ST. MARY’S POINT, MINNESOTA
WASHINGTON COUNTY, MINNESOTA
June 7, 2016
Call to Order G. Williams, T. Williams, J. Freesmeier , N.Anderson , (Mayor Roettger absent)
Pledge of Allegiance was said.
Others Present: Alexis Rupp, Darlene Pahl, Natalie Warren, Mr. & Mrs. Stan Hubbard, Brett Laughlin, Denise & Doug Gall, Tim Wilson
MOTION WAS MADE BY COUNCILMEMBER ANDERSON AND SECONDED BY COUNCILMEMBER T. WILLIAMS TO APPROVE THE AGENDA ROLL CALL/ 4 AYES-1 ABSENT
PUBLIC COMMENTS: Alexis Rupp of 16322 25th Street spoke to the abandoned house and garage on 24 Street, across the street, south of City Hall. Councilmember G. Williams noted the structure is boarded up and very overgrown. Darlene Pahl spoke to concerns of feral cats and raccoons. City Attorney noted another letter can be sent to property owner requesting the structure be raised. The City could go through the process of cleaning it up and assess cost to the property owner. It has been vacant for 11 years. Discussion for City Clerk or City Attorney to mail letter to be cleaned up and the City will push to take action to make it habitable or sold (also, there are 2 pieces of property across the street same owner). It was determined that the City Attorney would send a letter and request property owner to come to a meeting.
ST CROIX RIVER ASSOCIATION Natalie Warren representative, spoke to awareness of and importance of regulations regarding caring for the St. Croix River. Their goal is, through education and information provided to realtors, and land owners to formalize the River way regulations and building restrictions. She proposed a training course on river way and floodplain regulations creating property alerts to realtors who have property listed along the St. Croix River. The internet lacks River way Boundary maps and she is to work with Washington County to get this on the website. Also proposed outreach through newsletters and builders and architects as well as local city officials. They are presently working with Lakeland with a check list and pre-application meetings. They have also provided a literature about the Lower St Croix River Way in a hand out and meant to be a resource to the city so please contact her (Natalie) if needed. Stan Hubbard stated he would be happy if SCRA sticks to what Ms. Warren says it will be a great opportunity. She noted there is a meeting with the local planning administrators on June 20th. Planner Gozola inquired if his attendances was desired, not if cost only born by SMP.
SHERIFF REPORT: There were 11 calls and 1 CRS given by acting Mayor G. Williams
VARIANCE Application – Laughlin 16634 22nd Ave So. (Planner B. Gozola) Brett Laughlin applied and asked to build a 1440 square foot building and needs a variance of 440 feet. A Survey and a site plan will need to be submitted if variance is approved. Planner Gozola spoke to community standards of order fair and consistent growth. He notes he does not see it meets these criteria. Comp Plan does provide for flexibility. This is the 3rd set of criteria for approval - but uniqueness was not met for character of area unknown at this time. The Planning Committee recommended denial 2 to 1. Councilmember Anderson asks if variance for size granted could other concerns present later.
Councilmember Freesmeier spoke, he is inclined not to grant and it has no unique criteria. City Attorney spoke to need of unique property characteristic - however it does not exist.
Councilmember T. Williams spoke to 1000 square feet garage and then exterior storage exists. If home owners then remove all trees the exterior storage will be seen. City Attorney noted if variance is granted conditions can be placed. However, this application is problematic in that practical difficulty is not met. It may be that local code could be changed to adjust for size of accessory structure based on size of the lot.
Councilmember G. Williams noted that a past application for a garage for collector cars was denied. Councilmember T. Williams spoke of setbacks met then should be allowed to build.
Councilmember Freesmeier notes that the code should not be changed because several people are not requesting this. Councilmember T. Williams and Councilmember Anderson prefer larger building on large lot should be allowed to store items rather than be outside.
Applicant Laughlin believes property is unique because other side of the lot is on City Property. He notes he will go to 1000 and use a tented structure for storage. It is a much wooded lot and building would be obscured for most of the year. He feels the Planning Committed did not totally understand the uniqueness (re: the city owned the property on the East side). He also noted in respond to Councilmember Freesmeier inquiry about exterior storage that he may have to use tarps or tents.
Mr. And Mrs. Doug Gall neighboring residents, reiterated same concerns as presented at the public hearing - for the variance by 40% of what is allowed and feels uniqueness is not appropriate because the City owned the lot. They also remarked about a nearby trash house yet other nice houses are around it. She believes the exterior storage would violate existing ordinances and notes the city doesn’t enforce the property rights of the Galls should the variance be granted. Feels the city may not enforce conditions if approved. Regarding the Planning Commission – she presented they didn’t feel it was a fair hearing because only 3 members were at the meeting and they were late also.
Councilmember T. Williams noted if she didn’t feel the meeting was good she should offer to be on the Planning Committee. She noted it is civic duty of those appointed and should take it serious to show up.
Councilmember Freesmeier notes that Mrs. Gall presented a respectful conversation. Councilmember G. Williams inclined to go along with the Planning Committee recombination specially since prior variance denied and another variance granted but new owners didn’t follow the conditions set.
MOTION WAS MADE BY COUNCILMEMBER FREESMEIER AND SECONDED BY COUNCILMEMBER ANDERSON TO DENY A VARIANCE APPLIED BY BRETT LAUGHLIN DUE TO NO UNIQUENESS AND ABSENT THIS, IT IS COUNTER TO CODE OF ORDINANCE. ROLL CALL/3 AYES-1 NAY, 1 ABSENT
Councilmember G. Williams noted if the City had design standards in that the garage would match the house it might alleviate some issues.
FIRE DEPARTMENT Tom Wilson, Vice Chair Fire District Board and Chairman of the Finance Committee presented the 2017 Budget. One increase was the medical expense for new members psychological evaluations, increase cost of building insurance, increase cost of training for Fire Dept. members. The overall increase in the Tax Levy city’s allocation is at 4.5%. It was noted that Tax levy full allocation is $96,000 and has a debt service decrease due to refinancing on the building.
The Budget will also fund a full-time person out of the budget and also convert to paid-on-call through paid hourly instead of per call. 75% of our runs are EMS runs and have less time per call. This sector will be rolled out to hourly in the last course of roll over.
Councilmember G. Williams noted that the budget was done very well, however he spoke against the 4.59% increase. Budgeted separate between debt service and operating budget net result is $3,063 change. He noted that he felt it is a better way to budget (separately) as not all cities do it this way.
Councilmember Freesmeier complimented the all Departments personnel for their service and pride and also noted that Chief Peterson will be retiring in 2017.
MOORING & WAITING Permit 2016 Approval Clerk Reiter explained the situation of one opening. City Council recommends offering to the next person on the list and allowing 2 weeks to accept and pay. If no response with payment, the offer goes to the next person
CITY STREET PROJECT: Councilmember G. Williams gave information from Engineer Parotti : Met Council grant not appropriate for City’s need of elevating road above flood elevation. He spoke to the age and service of Iroquois and the only access in high water times. Mr. Stan Hubbard spoke to old roadway that did allow access but it no longer exists. He suggested get an easement from the neighbors to use during floods. St. Mary’s Drive needs elevation however Met Council Grant is not appropriate, as this grant was targeted for development. It was noted that Fire Trucks will not go through high water and thus Emergency vehicles have to go around to other roads. City Enginerr Parotti noted the city has received from ITT, Inc. Soil Boring invoice and was presented for payment approval. Council is still going to still search for grant money to raise the road.
LAWSUIT –HOLMER vs CITY OF SMP SETTLEMENT (City Attorney Sandstrom) Attorney Sandstrom summarized the closed session that then went to open session; which was presented in May 18, 2016 Special Meeting minutes. No further approval need on this.
MOTION WAS MADE BY COUNCILMEMBER ANDERSON AND SECONDED BY COUNCILMEMBER T. WILLIAMS TO APPROVE MEETING MINUTES OF THE SPECIAL COUNCIL MEETING OF HOLMER LAW SUITE SETTLEMENT OF $4,800 ON MAY 18, 2016. ROLL CALL/ 4 AYES-1 ABSENT
CITY TREASURER REPORT: Treasurer Niedzwiecki reviewed the financials YTD noting significant expenses; $3,679 to Sambatek for 2 months service and $4,870 to street patching. In an YTD comparison Legal and Planner exceed yearly budget of $14,200 by $17,000 but the Holmer settlement will reduce some. After MIDS ordinance is complete some grant dollars will be received but not enough to cover all costs. He noted interim invoices were sent to Popovich/Fernandez and also will send invoices to Holmer and Laughlin. Claims to be approved for payment total $15,088.22
MOTION WAS MADE BY COUNCILMEMBER ANDERSON AND SECONDED BY COUNCILMEMBER FREESMEIER TO APPROVE CLAIMS AS PRESENTED, CHECK #5473 TO #5487 AND ELECTRONIC PAYMENTS #6001 TO #6012 IN AMOUNT OF $ 15,088.22. ROLL CALL/4 AYES, 1 ABSENT
City Engineer: Not in attendance.
Building Inspector: 6 active permits
City Attorney: Nothing more
City Clerk: Ragnar Run, June 11 is clean up from 8-11 and June 28 is Election training and WA County Public Health has provided many brochures and will be at Clean Up Day.
Fire District (G. Williams)
Planning commission (T. Williams) has been covered earlier
LSCV Alliance (G. Williams) No more Alliance meetings.
Cable Commission: (T. Williams) It was approved that the PEG channels to remain at an increased fee ($4800 per year for 5 cities). Motion was presented to extend until the end of the year; it was debatable that they will keep the 4 channels after that.
Middle St. Croix WMO (N. Anderson) Presented 2 projects ongoing in Lakeland Shores and large project in LSCB. Continue to work with bridge issues of pollution. Other areas show phosphors reduction.
Mayor and Council Reports:
Mayor Roettger - absent
Gary Williams: River level is 677.61. The ADA front door will be installed next week.
Nancy Anderson: City clean-up Saturday 6/11/2016 will be from 8 to noon with the first load free and $20 for next load.
Treasurer spoke the budget review for 2017 will be the July meeting.
Joe Freesmeier: Nothing Further
Tim Williams Inquiry about hiring a person; he has found a lady to do City Hall lot and rain gardens. Ok to hire her at $10 hour. Also noted there are dollars to replace plants in the rain gardens. Ms. Wood is to be hired an as employee.
MOTION WAS MADE BY COUNCILMEMBER T. WILLIAMS AND SECONDED BY COUNCILMEMBER ANDERSON TO HIRE TARA WOOD TO MAINTAIN FLOWERS IN THE RAIN GARDENS AND YARD AT CITY HALL AT $10 HOUR PART TIME SEASONAL. ROLL CALL/4 AYES 1 ABSENT
Asked about notice at Fire Department to put notice of clean-up from official (city clerk) for a approved notice as to get info on their sign. Clerk did not hear back from them. Suggested go thru Chief Stanley at his printing company email.
Mayor Roettger: G. Williams noted that the mayor has person to cut grass at city hall.
Clerk Reiter: City Complaint process inquiry. Councilmember G. Williams said he would review the photos taken then go to look at the problem.
ADJOURNMENT at 8:47
Attested to by: Gary Williams, Acting Mayor
Cindie J Reiter, City Clerk