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Bunge seeks 'Conditional Use Permit' at Lanesboro City Council meeting

Fri, Jun 5th, 2009
Posted in Government

Members of the Lanesboro City Council took a break from the usual at their last meeting on June 1. Street Superintendent Andy Drake took the group on a bus tour of the city's streets. He showed the conditions of some of the streets, and pointed out which ones need the most work.

The tour went up Auburn Street and in the Brooklyn area, where Drake pointed out the "alligatoring" of the street surfaces. "The tops are really bad," said Drake. "The last time these were paved was back in the early '70s."

City Administrator Bobbie Vickerman said the Auburn-Zenith area is scheduled to be redone in 2013-2014 according to the Capital Outlay plan. Drake said they are already in trouble. According to Drake, Auburn was paved in 1995, but it was overlaid and not milled. He pointed out some ditches on Hillcrest that were patched last year to get by, and said that Hillcrest is overdue for seal coating. He also believes that the garbage trucks have been hard on some of the streets.

Drake asked if it would be possible to apply for some money to have the old Ox Trail Road widened. Vickerman said she would look into that.

Conditional Use Permit Request

Eric Bunge, on behalf of Bunge Construction, approached the council about receiving a Conditional Use Permit. They would like to use the empty lots on Parkway to create an open air market space. Bunge said the space would be 50 feet by 75 feet, and could have one large tent area or up to 18 10 by 13 areas for vendors.

"We just want to create the space and see what happens," said Bunge. "It's a way to beautify the space and hopefully have a long term thing."

The ordinance now says there must be a permanent structure, so they would need a Conditional Use Permit to use the area for an open air market. Bunge will have to bring the idea to the Planning and Zoning Commission and there will need to be a public hearing.

The city decided to set up a date for a public hearing for June 22. Vickerman will send out letters to businesses in the area and put a notice in the newspapers. Bunge will take the proposal to Planning and Zoning on June 8.

Diner Questions

Vickerman wanted to clear up any questions people have had about the new diner. According to Vickerman, the diner does qualify under state statute as a permanent structure because of the cement slab that it's on. There is an outhouse on the property that has brought on many concerns, and Vickerman said it is a bathroom with running water and sewer and it follows Planning and Zoning Requirements. The diner itself was approved by the council, and the Department of Health has licensed the restaurant.

Council member Vince Jeannette said he has received many phone calls about the diner. He also said the owner has brought in another old outhouse that has been modified to be used for selling souvenirs, which the council was not aware of. He has received complaints from people calling the area a "gypsy encampment," among other things. He also mentioned a neighbor of the building who has had water running from the cement slab into her basement.

Rahn said the water runoff issue is between the two property owners. Vickerman said that City Attorney Tom Manion has visited the property and knows what the problems are.

Segway Issues

John Pieper from the Chamber of Commerce, along with Police Chief Matt Schultz, spoke about some complaints that have been received about the use of Segways on the bike trails. The Segways are being rented out in town. Schultz said according to the DNR they are allowed on the trail. They are prohibited from the highways, but as far as the trails go, they are considered the same as a pedestrian.

Pieper said there are people on the trails that are not happy. The law says a Segway must yield the right of way to cyclists and pedestrians, and they must use the sidewalk whenever possible instead of the streets. The Chamber is worried about the trails. Vickerman said they need to get an opinion from the Attorney General, and to figure out the difference between a bike path and a bike trail as stated in the statute. Vickerman said they also need to find out for sure whether the Segway counts as a motor vehicle or an assistance vehicle.

Other Business

An open house for the Fire Department's 125th Anniversary will be on June 13 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be door prizes, demonstrations, food, and events for kids.

A temporary liquor license was approved for the Fire Department for Buffalo Bill Days.

The Park Board is still has an opening they are looking to fill.

The council approved the audit report as presented at the last meeting. They also approved having a joint meeting with the Public Utilities Commission on July 6.

The council approved a three-year fireworks contract for Buffalo Bill Days. The Lanesboro Fire Department is donating half the cost, $2,500, this year. The Fountain Fire Department is covering $500, and the rest is coming from donations. The council said they have only had positive comments from last year's fireworks.

Resident Terry Neumann informed the council that there has been a serious noise issue with vehicles that have no mufflers, and that County Road 8 has been used as a drag strip. He has had complaints from his customers at his B&B. Vickerman said that warnings and tickets have been given to people, but she will inform Chief Matt Schultz.

Council members looked over the Tree Ordinance and made some more suggestions for changes. There was some discussion, and Mayor Steve Rahn said the most important thing is to keep the trees away from utilities and intersections, use the recommended trees, and to not have branches hanging over sidewalks.

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