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Lanesboro City Council Report: Alley vacated, cooperative development moves ahead


Fri, Jul 11th, 2003
Posted in Features

The public hearing on the vacation of the platted alley behind the old school building was first on the agenda of the Lanesboro City Council meeting on July 7.

Eric Ruen, president of the Bethlehem Church Council, presented the position of the church, "Bethlehem doesn’t want to be a barrier, but we do want to retain road access." Another member of the church council stated, "I was very impressed with the developers. I hope there is a way to lay some claim to the roadway." The Bethlehem Church acknowledged that the title needed to be cleared before the development could move on.

Warren Kramer, Northcountry’s Director of Housing Development, addressed the assembly saying, "I don’t know if there’s gotta be any winners or losers. Everybody can come out in good shape on this."

Councilman Joe O’Connor said he felt the developer shared some excellent information at the meeting the previous Monday night on how to create a win/win situation. John Davis added that he was impressed with the spirit of cooperation at the meeting.

Celeste Birkeland suggested the Park Board be involved as well as Planning and Zoning and EDA with future discussions on the development project.

Mayor Steve Rahn appeared a bit surprised at the small amount of comment as he prepared to close the public hearing, "Sounds like the meeting went well last Monday."

The council then unanimously voted to vacate the platted alley and not change the status quo of the currently used roadway. The alley as it is used now will remain with no changes at this time. Councilwoman Peggy Hanson then presented a resolution supporting the concept of redeveloping the old school, and directing the EDA, Planning and Zoning, and the Park Board to meet with the developers to develop a detailed proposal. Hanson stressed the four issues facing the developers and the city: parking, green space, access by emergency and service vehicles, and keeping the costs down for the city. Hanson’s resolution also included the suggestion of using a Planned Unit Development (PUD) and the possibility of tax increment financing (TIF) for the project. This resolution was also passed.

Buffalo Bill Days

Lydia O’Connor reported to the council the possibility of the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales joining the Buffalo Bill Days parade (providing it doesn’t rain!). O’Connor also shared information about the addition of a Walk/Run to be held on the trail on Saturday morning of the celebration. She added the committee is trying to pull events into the downtown area and not have everything at the park.

Keith Eide of the Fire Department asked for a one-day liquor license for the Fire Department Relief Association’s Friday evening street dance. This was approved contingent on proper liability insurance.

As the council discussed the street dance, Peggy Hanson commented she felt the 12:30 ending time seemed a little late. Mayor Rahn quipped back, "It depends on how old you are!"

In further liability concerns, the council chose to designate The Buffalo Bill Days’ Committee as a function of the city in order to cover it under the city’s liability insurance.

Matt Curran of the Picnic Basket has rented a large buffalo statue and requested permission to display it on the street in front of his business. While the council appreciated his attempt to add to the celebration, they were hesitant to add to the congestion on the street. Because of their concern about safety, the council turned down the request, but came up with some alternative locations to suggest to Curran.

Other business

In other business the council:

• heard a request from S and A Petroleum to vacate 15 feet on the South Side of Beacon Street because the company needs to install a permanent cement structure for containment on the road right of way (the street itself will not be changed);

• heard a request from Bev Johnson to vacate a part of Fifth Street where her garage is located (both vacations will have a public hearing July 21);

• appointed Liz Dybing as market manager of the Farmers’ Market and approved policies for the Market;

• discussed setting a meeting date to respond to possible negative comments about the new electric rates which go into effect in August. The new rates will be 7.5 cents/kwh (old rates were 5.2 cents/kwh); this is a 46 percent increase for residential users. The Public Utilities Commission will discuss the possibility further at their next meeting.

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