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Lanesboro City Council Report: Differences resolved

Fri, Jun 8th, 2007
Posted in Government

Well, at least three out of four differences were successfully resolved when the Lanesboro City Council met June 4. The council spent the majority of its time dealing with the three issues presented them at their May 21 meeting. Mark Brewster's request to rezone a house at 300 Elmwood from R-2 to R-3 was granted. All five properties between the downtown area and Brewster's house on the street were also rezoned. Brewster invited council members to tour the recently remodeled house prior to the meeting. At the meeting, Brewster reminded the council that the city needs more lodging available, especially on weekends, as he refreshed their memories of the support most of his neighbors had given at the previous meeting.

Neighbors Dick and Lisa Thoen attended the meeting and stated they no longer had any objections to the rezone. City Administrator Bobbie Torgerson shared with the council that she felt she should have talked to the neighbors before sending out the hearing notices. She could have then explained that rezoning would not affect the taxes for homes in the area; rather the use of the home determines the tax rate applied. Parking concerns have also been addressed. Council member Joe O'Connor offered that the Planning and Zoning Commission should consider whether to cap the number of houses used for such a purpose just as it has capped bed and breakfasts.

Light pollution

Terry Neuman returned to ask about progress concerning the obtrusive light from the city streetlights directly outside Mrs. B's. He brought with him a note from Albert Webster, stage manager of Prairie Home Companion. In the note, Webster stated it was impossible to get a good night's sleep due to the streetlight. Neuman called the issue "light trespass," light falling from public property on private property. He went through the differences of the light projecting downward from the old streetlights and the wide-spreading light from the new fixtures. Neuman, concerned that his repeat business may be affected, asked again that shields be installed in the lights.

Torgerson had researched the shields and reported the cost of the shields to be $47.30 each with the city staff capable of installation. The council decided to install the shields on an as needed basis in the downtown area. The county will be contacted before the shields can be installed on the streetlights on the bridge in back of Mrs.B's.

Lot Split

Mark Welch of GGG, representing Randy Reynolds, visited the council to officially request a lot split on a Zenith Street property. This time, Welch came with a signed agreement with Everett Johnson. The council unanimously approved the lot split. The actual building plans will be submitted to Planning and Zoning for approval before a building permit is issued.

Holt Township Road

Declaring the issue not to be "crystal clear," City Attorney Tom Manion opined that Holt Township does indeed still own the road in question. Although the township vacated the road and published notice in the newspaper, they had not gotten written consent from the landowners as required by law since more than five acres are involved. After the vacation of the road, it is necessary for the landowners to then deed the road to the city for the city to actually own it. Concerned about liability, Manion called the issue "unfinished business."

The city, once it actually owned the road, would then be in the position to decide on the level of maintenance of the road-items such as dust control, mowing, gravelling, grading.

Council member Joe O'Connor, in an effort to get the issue resolved, asked for a "good neighbor" resolution of the situation. Manion and Torgerson will attend the next Holt Township Board to discuss the issue and possible collaborative efforts to maintain the road for the Holt Township residents. Meanwhile, the council directed staff to check the road and grade it if needed.

Other business

In other business the council:

• commended the community for the cooperation, volunteerism, and friendliness displayed during the Garrison Keillor visit;

• set a public hearing date, June 18, at 5:30 p.m. for the request of the Victorian House B&B to add a room;

• passed a resolution to go to MNDOT supporting the reconstruction of highway 52 from I90 to Fountain (this had been scheduled for the late 1990s but had been pushed back) after noting there were no plans for overlay or reconstruction for highway 250 for the next twenty years either;

• approved an increase from $450 to $550 a month health insurance coverage for city employees-the city will also pay the set up fee of $250 and yearly renewal fee of $125 total for the HSA (health savings account). Employees had not had an increase in coverage for eight years; the council will review coverage on a yearly basis from now on.

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