The Preston City Council accepted the retirement letter submitted by Police Chief Matt Schultz at the council’s June 3 meeting. Schultz has been with the city for 19 years.
His retirement will be effective August 5. Schultz plans to work up to the date of his retirement, during the next two months, to make the transition process as smooth as possible.
Mayor Kurt Reicks asked if we can promote within the police department to fill the chief’s position. City Administrator Joe Hoffman said they will need an internal search process. He added that hiring/promoting from within the department helps keep personnel within a small department.
The council voted unanimously to post internally, first, to fill the chief’s position. A committee including Hoffman, Schultz, Councilman Robert Maust, and Mayor Reicks was formed to interview applicants. Hoffman suggested that they invite Lanesboro and Fountain administrators to the interviews, as the police department also serves their communities.
to the city code
Planning and Zoning held public hearings on potential amendments to the city code. There were no comments from the public at the public hearings. P & Z then recommended the amendments be made to the city code.
The first amendment was in response to the growing trend of shed homes (shomes), a large pole shed with a portion built as a living quarters. P & Z suggested language be added under the definition of a dwelling as follows: “An attached garage shall occupy no more than 45% of the dwelling footprint.” The council’s discussion morphed into a discussion of the state building code. By consensus the council agreed to bring back a resolution to the next meeting for this proposed amendment.
The second proposed amendment dealt with privately owned swimming pools. P & Z wants all pools including inexpensive, more temporary pools to be regulated for safety. Any pool over 18 inches deep will have the same safeguard requirements to prevent children from gaining uncontrolled access. Fencing must be at least five foot in height. Hoffman said there is concern about the safety of inexpensive pools when they are not in an enclosure. By consensus the council agreed to bring back a resolution to the next meeting for this proposed amendment.
The third proposed amendment was to reduce from eight feet to six feet the maximum height for fences in a rear residential yard. P & Z felt eight feet is too high for a residential neighborhood. Reicks insisted he could see no reason for the change from eight feet to six feet. He wanted to know why. City Attorney Dwight Luhmann explained it would not apply to existing fences. No action was taken.
Other business in brief
•Dale Koch requested the city participate in the placement of new curb behind the Branding Iron to prevent water run off to the building. He said 130 foot of curb would cost $4,600. The location for the proposed curb is not a city street, but is plowed by city crews in the winter and for the most part is used as a city street. Reicks asked if the city has a right of way. Hoffman explained there are a number of easements. Councilwoman Holly Zuck said we should do what has been done in the past to stay consistent. A motion was approved unanimously to pay a portion of the curb work, 60% city and 40% property owner. The city will also provide some gravel and patch black top for reconstruction behind the curb, plus the labor and equipment for that portion of the job.
•The city’s contribution to housing incentives for 2019 was approved. The incentives are limited to two applicants. The city’s contribution includes the waiving of building permit fees and the offering of a family pool pass.
•The public hearing for the 2019 street projects was rescheduled and will be held at 6 p.m. on July 1. Construction is expected to begin in early September and to be completed later in October.
•A portion of Fillmore St. E by the memorial entrance to the fairgrounds will be closed on July 16 as requested by the Veteran’s Celebration Committee for a veterans tribute/color guard parade.
•P & Z recommended approval of a variance for John Pfremmer at 208 Spring St. NE to allow construction of an attached garage on the west side of the house. The variance will allow a 15-foot setback on the front/north property line (20 feet required by code) and two feet on the side/west property line (10 feet required). The council approved the variance, Maust voted no.
•Ambulance Director Ryan Throckmorton reported the annual picnic will be on June 19, 6:30 p.m. at the fire hall. A special meeting of the council will be posted in the event a quorum attends the picnic.