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Lanesboro City Council approves Conditional Use Permits

Fri, Aug 9th, 2013
Posted in Lanesboro Government

By Jade Sexton

Two public hearings were held before the regular city council meeting in Lanesboro on August 5. The first one was from Richard Horihan, owner of RLH Grain. Horihan had requested a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to put up a new drying bin and increase the height by six feet.

Councilor Dybing said there are currently no regulations in Planning and Zoning regarding the height of a drying bin, so the meeting was called for discussion.

Shari Qualy approached the council with concerns about a larger drying bin. She brought in two jars with samples; one with dust and one with the “bees wings” that come out of the dryer during drying season. She stressed nearby properties are seriously affected during drying season with this material flying through the air.

City Administrator David Todd said the new bin was supposed to decrease dust, noise, and debris while increasing drying capacity for Horihan.

Horihan reiterated this. He said the drying process will not change, but it will be cleaner and it should decrease the bees wings. He added that he would love to eliminate them altogether, but it’s extremely difficult given they are very light and fluffy.

Lanesboro resident John Levell asked Horihan if there were any increased hazards with the new bin, and Horihan replied it should actually be less dangerous.

Dybing said Planning and Zoning discussed the issue at length and had questions about the actual height, so there were no recommendations. He made a motion to approve the permit, and the motion passed.

The second public hearing was in regards to the lot downtown owned by Eric and Andy Bunge. Four years ago the council approved a CUP to allow an open air market in that location. Eric said they were just asking for an extension of what was approved at that time, with no changes.

The original CUP stated there would be a fence around the lots, and 33 percent of the space could be for storage. That area would be used to store rental equipment. One resident commented there is a van and a trailer parked there all the time, but Eric said he wasn’t aware of that. There is no fence put up, either, and Eric said there is simply not enough money to put up such a large fence.

There are two Amish people who come to the market to sell things, and sometimes someone who sells jewelry. Bunge pointed out that Amish sellers are allowed to sell in the park for free, so they do not come downtown to use his lot. There was discussion about the Amish, which Rahn said, while it needs to be looked at, could be saved for another time.

Rahn did say he had never heard any complaints and there have never been any major problems with those lots.

Todd reminded the council their CUP expired in December, so this would be a new permit. City Attorney Tom Manion recommended they issue an Interim Permit, which is more temporary than a conditional use permit, until the Planning and Zoning can address some of those issues. The council approved.

Consulting Proposal

Theresa Coleman, who served as interim administrator, offered services for the Public Utilities Commission and the city. Coleman would be organizing Public Utilities ordinances and property files.

“Right now, all permits, variances, everything is filed by year,” Coleman explained. “So if you don’t know what year it happened, there is virtually no way to find it.” She added that the files, all paper, are in disarray. She did some work already starting to sort things when she was interim administrator.

The proposal is for $5,000. The part that would involve work for the city is $1,000. Coleman said the Public Utilities Commission approved their part for $4,000.

Mayor Rahn asked if this was something that could be done by someone already employed. Todd said it’s a huge project, and nobody else has time to do it.

The council approved the proposal.

Water and Street Issues

Todd said there have been some water run-off issues at the Casa Verde Bed and Breakfast, and erosion has occurred on the property. The property owners feel the city should pay for the damages. Todd said the city has not put up any structures to prevent run-off, and they have no liability. The water seems to be detouring into the parking lot and down into the property. City Attorney Tom Manion said if the city received a written complaint it would be turned over their insurance.

There have also been problems in the Drake-Wilford alley. The entire alley needs to be rebuilt at some point, as the water is draining into people’s yards instead of the ditch.

Councilor Tom Dybing said there is standing water in the ditch right now, and it’s easily the poorest alley in Lanesboro.

Mayor Rahn said the alleys were never designed for black top. The council was wary of putting a temporary “Band Aid” over the problem. They are going to check with Dillon Dombrovski of Yaggy Colby about the cost of a permanent fix.

Theresa Coleman said Dombrovski had spoken to her about a software program that would help the city prioritize street projects. The council requested he attend a meeting to demonstrate the program before they choose to purchase it.

MnDOT land

While the Minnesota Department of Transportation was seeking easements from land owners in order to work on the Highway 16 bridge, it was discovered the city of Lanesboro owns a chunk of land that comes to 0.91 acres. This land is surrounded by Luther Olson’s land, and he thought he owned it the past 20 years. Mayor Rahn said the land is no use to the city or anyone else but Olson, and they are willing to work with Olson.

Utilities Assessment

It was brought before the council to approve assessing unpaid utilities to the property owner. Todd informed the council that the resident recently paid $1,000 toward the balance, which is now $6,398.44. It was decided to inform the owner they need to pay the balance by next month or it would be assessed. A shut-off notice will also be sent out.

Other Business:

The council approved the appointment of Theresa Coleman for the vacant seat on the Public Utilities Commission left by council member Joe O’Connor. There was some discussion about advertising for the position, but the city has historically had problems filling those seats. It is not required that a council member be on the commission.

There was a complaint about damage to sidewalks coming from the use of Bobcats to remove snow. Todd will look at what other cities do for their sidewalks.

The wages of city employee Michelle Peterson were increased from $15.58 to $16.83 per hour in order to be in accordance with the pay equity act.

A liquor license and street closure was approved for the fire department August 17, when 250 motorcycles will be coming to town. The fire department will be feeding them and they will be in town from 12:30-2 p.m.

The storm water project on 250 was successfully completed. The council approved the final payment of $54,981.25.

The council agreed to put the Sylvan Park street project on hold until they can figure out funding.

Local Government Aid (LGA) for 2014 will be increasing by $5,764. The total amount the city will receive is $210,284.

Councilor Keith Eide reported the library board approved up to $500 to purchase a dehumidifier, since the humidity levels in the library has been high this year.

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