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Lanesboro City Council Report: Public hearing to vacate Southern Hills easement set


Fri, Oct 5th, 2007
Posted in Government

LANESBORO - Developer Gary Grebin came before the Lanesboro City Council at their Monday, October 1, meeting to discuss the possibility of re-platting Lots 9 and 10 of the Southern Hills development, on the backside of Maple Drive. The matter was referred to the council from the Planning & Zoning Commission without action because, according to City Administrator Bobbie Torgerson, "they are not city planners."

The original plat called for a 33 foot wide easement to the city. Grebin wanted to ensure that the easement would not be used for a road, as he had two parties interested in the lots and they preferred not having a road going through there.

City Attorney Tom Manion said that the easement, as written on the original plat as "dedicated to the public," could be interpreted as "a road."

Manion said that he could find no provision in the city's zoning ordinance for re-platting.

He said that the council had two options: take the action to allow for re-platting with the consent of existing property owners; or vacate the easement while retaining rights for utilities.

Grebin responded, "I just need someone to tell me that there won't be a road going through there."

City council member, Kevin Drake, who sits on the Public Utilities Commission, told the council that the city doesn't need that easement for a road. He said that at present, water and power utilities go through the right of way.

The council approved a resolution to hold a public hearing to "vacate 33 feet of the two lots, while retaining current and future public utilities." The hearing is tentatively planned for the October 15 council meeting.

Capital Improvement

Projects

The city is working with Mike Bubany of David Drown Associates to prepare a multi-year plan for capital improvement projects. The consensus of the council was that the city needed to revise its assessment policy, look into bonding and prioritize projects.

Council member Joe O'Connor said that in his research a 30 to 35 percent assessment policy seemed "reasonable."

Also under consideration is the city using a sales tax in the future to help with funding capital improvements. The council passed a resolution to proceed with a sales tax, get the matter on the 2008 ballot and lobby legislative support for the legislative authorization.

"If we want to do projects in 2008, we need to start doing the engineering now," Administrator Torgerson told the council.

No final action was taken. The matter is expected to be revisited at the council's next meeting.

Committee Reports

• Public Utilities Commission: efforts are under way to upgrade the hydro dam to operate it as efficiently as possible. When work is completed, the hydro will operate 24/7. The city is working with the Department of Commerce for grants to help pay for the repair work.

• Park Board: the board toured the community center building and the bath house. New chairs, tables and a stainless steel refrigerator have been purchased for the kitchen.

• Planning & Zoning: an interested party is looking into purchasing the lot between Crown Trout Jewelers and Amish Experience on Parkway and putting in a box car diner that would serve breakfasts and lunches.

• EDA: 14 business owners showed up at the latest meeting to respond to the EDA 20/20 plan. Their priority was strengthening and sustaining existing businesses.

Other Business

• The council authorized the Lanesboro Sales Commission to work with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to build a catch basin beneath the Sales Barn that would catch runoff and be hauled away.

• The council authorized the city administrator to use funds generated from A Prairie Home Companion event to purchase Christmas Decorations for the downtown.

• The council awarded the annual audit to Lloyd Johnson, CPA for an amount not to exceed $12,960.

• The council authorized the city administrator to use on-line banking for utility accounts. This is useful in receiving payments from the state as well as paying bills.

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