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Lanesboro City Council Report: Snow - alleys and removal policies

Fri, Nov 24th, 2006
Posted in Government

Mark Brewster of Brewster's Red Hotel visited the Lanesboro City Council meeting November 20 to discuss the plowing of the alley accessing the hotel. Apparently one of his recent guests, a visitor from the Twin Cities and an employee of the Pioneer Press, no less, was driving his car on the unplowed alley and slipped off onto the side. The guest needed a wrecker to pull him out. Brewster was concerned about the possibility of negative publicity and was uncertain if the guest would return to Lanesboro. According to Brewster all the other alleys in Lanesboro were plowed and yet this one, the steepest and most dangerous one in the city, went unplowed. Brewster pointed out that once you started up the corner, you couldn't stop; he also mentioned the erosion problems in the summer.

Council member Robert Norby suggested common sense would help a lot - going the other direction would have been safer since that had been plowed. Council member Kevin Drake mentioned making the alley one way. Norby agreed, saying the only real reason to go up the alley would be fire trucks on a call. Council member Joe O'Connor suggested the possibility of posting signs closing the alley to public traffic after November or signs stating the alley shouldn't be used in inclement weather. Consensus of the council was that the issue came down to the steep slope of the alley.

In order to plow the alley, staff needs to use a pickup truck with attached sander, different equipment than is used on the majority of city streets. Mayor Steve Rahn, acknowledging that the alley may have been overlooked, plans to check into the situation further with the street superintendent. Rahn commented that the road crew does a good job and "you can't just wave a magic wand and clear all the roads!"

Snow removal policies and agreements

The council passed a resolution to continue an agreement with MN/DOT to remove snow for business areas on Highway 250 between County 8 and Coffee Street. City staff will contact MN/DOT each time before removing the snow. For this removal, the city will receive $75/hour for the use of the loader and $75/hour for the dump truck.

The council reminded residents that sidewalks are to be cleared within 12 hours of snowfall. A reminder will be published in the newspaper concerning this. Letters are sent to home owners in the event of heavy snowfalls reminding owners that if the snow is not removed, the city can fine non-complying owners, complete the snow removal, and assess the owner's property taxes.

Other business

In other business the council:

• passed a resolution requesting the state legislature to increase the Regional Public Library System basic support appropriation (this has seen no increase for over ten years;

• lowered maximum library fine limit from $20 to $5; library patrons with more than $5 in fines will not be able to check out books unless they pay the fines;

• heard the TMI (Town Meeting Initiative) core leadership team met at the Feed Mill Event Center to train on asset-based community development principals. O'Connor called it a positive event and told the council the group would meet again December 9.

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