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No action taken on Lanesboro land split


Fri, Jan 19th, 2007
Posted in Government

LANESBORO - Cold temperatures and slippery streets didn't keep visitors away from the Lanesboro City Council meeting January 16. A proposed lot split of the Randy Reynolds property brought neighbors Everett and Betty Johnson and Bucky Rogers, as well as Mark Welch from GGG and potential purchaser Chad Asheman to discuss the matter. The Johnsons and Rogers were concerned that the land had been incorrectly surveyed. According to Welch, all the neighboring properties were exceptions to the Reynolds property originally. Welch noted there was some "overlap" between Johnson's and Rogers's land, but that wasn't involved in this land split. He said he had the legal descriptions and the properties "all fit together."

Johnson asked why steel posts had been put in the ground the first time there was a survey and now they had been moved fifteen feet further down the hill. According to Rogers, stakes that were on Johnson's land last month were now on his land. Johnson, addressing Welch, declared, "We don't have a well now according to you!"

Council member Tom Dybing was concerned that while the council was presented with legal descriptions of three of the properties in question, they had not received one of the Reynolds' land. Dybing commented he'd like to see the survey of Reynolds' land as well.

Welch assured the council he would make sure there was clear title to the land before a sale or construction would commence. He offered to sit down with the owners and talk about the issue. At that, the group left the meeting to talk elsewhere. They returned at the end of the meeting to learn the matter had been added to the agenda for the February 5 meeting. Mayor Rahn expressed his hope that the neighbors would be able to workout their differences by then.

Old School Housing

Cooperative

Developer Dan Anderson visited the council yet again, reminding them he'd been trying to "make something happen" in the old school on the hill for fourteen years now. Reviewing the history of the school, he told the council Northcountry had "come within a hair's breadth of pulling it (developing a housing cooperative) off." According to Anderson, Northcountry "lost a ton of money in it and had to walk away."

Now a group of local people has decided to proceed with a two-stage plan. Ten units will be developed in phase one and five more in phase two. They feel it will be easier to sell ten units at a time and plan to keep the prices more affordable. The project will continue as a cooperative.

Anderson told the council he had enough interested buyers to be in "striking distance" next spring. He came to check that the city would still have TIF available for the project, noting he was interested in setting the TIF up so taxes would be paid to the city and then rebated.

Mayor Rahn answered the council had supported Northcountry and would certainly support Anderson as well. Dybing added that everyone would like to see the building developed, calling it a "big plus!"

Since much of the groundwork was already laid, the city won't have a lot of cost in the project. The development agreement prepared by Mike Bubany could be used again. A public hearing would be necessary once again.

Chamber of Commerce

Julie Kiehne of the Chamber of Commerce also addressed the council, inviting them to the annual meeting of the chamber on January 29 and presenting the council with the latest Lanesboro Area Guide, a glossy 52-page publication touting the attractions of the city with 35,000 copies distributed each year. Kiehne reported the council had grown to 135 members. Explaining the Chamber is the Lanesboro Area Chamber, Kiehne told the council there were businesses from as far as Houston, Peterson, and Chatfield in it. The chamber's website received 601,509 page views in the past year.

The visitor center received state affiliate status in 2006, and, as a result, now enjoys an expanded web presence on the Explore Minnesota site with more distribution of information to tourists and free state maps at the visitor center.

Kiehne pointed to the empty spaces for people involved in the chamber's work plan as she asked for volunteers for both the plan and for Sunday afternoon stints as Lanesboro ambassadors at the visitor center. City Attorney Tom Manion suggested perhaps chamber members would volunteer to fill positions on the Historic Preservation Commission as well since the group affects tourism.

Other business

In other business, the council:

• granted a request from the chamber of commerce to allow the placement of candles on the sidewalks during the Ibsen Festival and other weekends during the winter season;

• renewed Carla Noack's contract to work on the EDA's comprehensive plan for nine months; Noack intends to have a workable draft to the city in April;

• released city employees from the current health insurance agent so they could consider an HSA plan with Linda Horihan Agency.

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