SUNFISH LAKE CITY COUNCIL MEETING – AUGUST 2, 2016
7:00 P.M. - ST. ANNE’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Mayor: Molly Park
Councilmembers: JoAnne Wahlstrom and Richard Williams
Attorney: Bridget Nason
City Planner: Ryan Grittman
City Treasurer: Ann Lanoue
Building Inspector: Mike Andrejka
City Forester: Jim Nayes
City Clerk: Cathy Iago
and Members of the General Public.
Councilmembers Mike Hovey and Steven Bulach, City Engineer Don Sterna, and Police Chief Manila Shaver were absent.
1. CALL TO ORDER: Mayor Park opened the meeting at 7:00 p.m. She explained that Police Chief Shaver would be absent this evening as he was attending the Night to Unite events in West St. Paul. She introduced Attorney Bridget Nason who was present in the absence of City Attorney Kuntz. She also introduced Dr. Becky Masterman, Director of the Bee Squad at the University of Minnesota who was present to provide information relating to keeping bees on residential properties.
2. APPROVE AGENDA: Mayor Park asked if there were any additions or corrections to the agenda and there was no response.
Councilmember Williams moved to adopt the agenda, seconded by Councilmember Wahlstrom and carried. (3-0)
3. CONSENT AGENDA: Mayor Park asked if there were any questions or comments relating to any items on the Consent Agenda
and there was no response.
Councilmember Wahlstrom moved approval of the Consent Agenda as presented, seconded by Councilmember Williams and carried. (3-0)
a. Regular Council Meeting Minutes of July 5, 2016 and Special Council Meeting Minutes of July 15. 2016
b. List of Bills
c. Monthly Financials
4. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC: The Mayor asked if there were any comments from the public and there was no response.
5. PRESENTATIONS: a. Presentation: Mayor Park introduced Dr. Becky Masterman, Director of the "Bee Squad" at the University of Minnesota, who was present to provide information relating to keeping bees on residential property. She commented that because residents are embracing bee keeping, Council asked for expertise on best practices to maintain the hives on residential property.
Dr. Masterman expressed her excitement that the City was being pro-active in seeking information rather than most cities that usually seek this information when a problem occurs or they are opposed to residential bee keeping. She discussed the fact that statistics show bees all over the world have been dying since 2006 and when this occurs it means that honeybees native to Minnesota could also be reduced in numbers. She advised that some cities are passing resolutions requiring developers to plant clover and native flowers and also to restrict pesticides on certain flowers in an effort to save the bee population. She advised that the U of M had 750 bee-keepers take classes on residential bee keeping. She noted that the biggest issue often raised relates to mistaking honey bees for wasps, and that when a person is stung it is most likely a wasp. She explained that the U of M bee website describes the differences in the bee species and reactions from the bee stings and bee venom. She noted that residents should worry about wasp nests in the ground or at the base of trees on their property and advised that they may send photos of the nests to the U of M for identification and information on how to remove them.
Dr. Masterman stated that bees on flowers are just gathering pollen and nectar and will not sting a person unless provoked. She stated that the City should specify that the bee colony be placed slightly nearer the center of the property in order to reduce the fears of adjacent neighbors. She also suggested that a barrier of plants or trees be placed near the colony housings since the bees would fly over the barrier and not be close to humans in doing so.
Councilmember Williams commented that fencing could be placed near the colony as the bees would also fly over the top of the fence.
Councilmember Wahlstrom stated that she has seen more bees in her garden this year than in past years.
Dr. Masterman agreed and explained that if gardeners are planting for bees, they would also be planting for butterflies. She indicated that honeybees fly two to five miles and that is why planting in yards makes a huge difference in their growth.
Mayor Park asked if the U of M distributes educational packets for bee keepers.
Dr. Masterman stated that all the educational materials may be found online and that the information is free of charge; she noted that because the information changes frequently, no written materials are printed for distribution. She offered to provide the City with a link to the website.
Dr. Masterman and the City Forester discussed certain types of chemicals that may be harmful to bees if ingested. She explained that some insecticides are systemic and could be taken into the plants and also ingested into the nectar and pollen, which is the bee food source. She commented that she was unsure how the pesticides affect the bee health and that people could reduce the impact by not applying the harmful chemicals until there is a serious problem with the pests. She pointed out that residents may not understand the strength of the chemicals they are purchasing since they are in a concentrated form and must be diluted.
Mayor Park thanked Dr. Masterman for her presentation and asked if there were any further questions.
Planner Grittman asked Dr. Masterman for her opinion as to what would be an appropriate area surrounding the property to notify neighboring property owners when a residents wishes to pursue bee keeping.
Dr. Masterman explained that in a densely populated city with small lots she would recommend expending the notification area, however, due to the larger lots in Sunfish Lake she indicated that notification to abutting property owners should be sufficient. She explained that others in the neighborhood may see the bee housing but should not be affected by the bees. She offered to send a listing of plants that would attract bees for the City website.
6. PLANNING COMMISSION/PLANNER’S REPORT: a. Consider Adopting “Opt Out” Ordinance Amendment for Temporary Health Care Units: Planner Grittman referred to his report dated July 27, 2016 and explained that eh Planning Commission held a public hearing regarding a proposed Zoning Ordinance amendment that would prohibit temporary health care units in Sunfish Lake. He stated that a recent State Statute was passed that allowed placement of the dwelling units on residential property regardless of any conflicting zoning regulations, however the statute included a provision that allows municipalities to “opt-out’ of the law by passing an ordinance. He advised the intent of the law was for the dwellings to accommodate a family member or relative who was ill to live on the property for up to one-year and then the dwelling would have to be removed. He noted that the League of Minnesota Cities was instrumental in encouraging the legislature to include the “opt-out” provision in the law.
The Planner stated that the Planning Commission determined that this type of dwelling would not be necessary in Sunfish Lake as most of the housing stock would be large enough to accommodate an additional person within the home. The Commission unanimously recommended that Council adopt the Zoning Ordinance amendment to “opt-out” and prohibit these units within the City and, also not to allow them by further Zoning Ordinance regulation.
Councilmember Williams moved to adopt Ordinance No. 2016-04 titled, AN ORDINANCE OPTING-OUT OF THE REQUIREMENTS OF MINNESOTA STATUTES, SECTION 462.3595 and add Section 1217.05 to the Sunfish Lake Zoning Code, seconded by Councilmember Wahlstrom.
In discussion, Council agreed with the Planning Commission assessment that most of the homes within the City would accommodate an elderly relative within the home and that the structures would not be necessary.
Mayor Park asked if there was further discussion and, hearing none, called for a vote.
Motion carried. (3-0)
b. Planner’s Report: Planner Grittman referred to his report dated July 27, 2016 and explained that the Planning Commission tabled action on the application for a second accessory structure at 55 Salem Church Road and directed the applicant to satisfy the requirements requested by the City Engineer and for the Planner to submit the comments from the public to the Commission that were not presented at the public hearing.
The Planner explained that an application for a Minor Site Plan and Variance review was submitted for property at 389 Salem Church Road. He stated that in discussion with the applicants, they decided to reduce the size of the building addition on their home. He explained the application would be handled administratively by staff as a Minor Site Plan review, as the updated plans would remain inside the original footprint of the home.
Council thanked the Planner for his report.
7. STAFF REPORTS: a. BUILDING INSPECTOR: Inspector Andrejka stated that he issued two (2) and closed two (2) permits in July. He reported that the new construction at 27 Sunnyside Lane was moving slowly and questioned which staff member would be responsible for insuring that the driveway would be constructed according to the specifications requested by the Fire Chief.
Mayor Park commented that in her opinion the City Engineer should review the driveway installation.
Inspector Andrejka stated that he was unsure if the City Engineer was responsible or if the contractor for the project should supply an engineering report with the driveway specifications.
Councilmember Williams pointed out that the driveway was to be constructed for fire vehicle access and could be constructed with a “pad” under the grassy areas that would support a fire vehicle.
The Building Inspector suggested that the City may wish to place the responsibility for insuring the driveway is constructed to the Fire Chief’s specifications on the contractor’s engineer vs the City Engineer to insure it complies with the plan approved.
Planner Grittman explained that the property owner at 5865 South Robert Trail had their engineer submit information to the City on the driveway specifications and how it would be constructed for review and approval by the City Engineer and Fire Chief.
Inspector Andrejka discussed his concerns relating to granting a Certificate of Occupancy prior to the driveway installation and commented that it may cause problems if he issues the certificate before approvals are received.
Clerk Iago stated that the driveway could be considered a safety issue, which would be a valid reason for not issuing the Certificate of Occupancy until it is installed and approved.
Councilmember Williams agreed.
Inspector Andrejka explained that he would discuss the matter with staff and determine the best option.
Council thanked the Inspector for his attention to detail and for his report.
b. CITY ENGINEER: Mayor Park explained that the City Engineer was on vacation and referred Council to his report dated July 27, 2016. She briefly reviewed some items in his report.
Engineering Activities Undertaken in July: A. Charlton Road Update: The Mayor stated that she and the Engineer met with a group of approximately 12 residents to walk the road in order to define the options available for possible improvements. She explained that a core group of residents are preparing a summary of their discussions to present to Council at the September meeting. She reviewed the discussion relating to “customizing” the improvements along the road such as installing surmountable curbing in some areas to blend with the topography and varying the width of the roadway. She pointed out that Council should have information on how many residents support improving the road and what options are preferable at the September meeting.
B. 2016-2020 CIP Update: The Mayor explained that the final CIP was forwarded to Council and would be discussed and adopted at the September meeting.
C. Building and Site Reviews: The Mayor noted that the Engineer conducted one final inspection in July at 2566 Delaware Avenue.
Public Works Activities Undertaken in the Month of July: A. 2016 Crack Seal and Seal Coat Project: Mayor Park noted that the project began in late July and should be completed in late August.
Anticipated Engineering and Public Works Activities for August: A. Charlton Road Potential Improvements: The Mayor stated this would be discussed in September.
B. 2017 City Improvement Project Discussion: Mayor Park stated that the Engineer would distribute and discuss the draft Feasibility Report at the September meeting.
Public Works Activities Planned for the Month of August: None listed.
Council thanked the Mayor for reviewing the Engineer’s report.
c. CITY FORESTER: Forester Nayes stated he issued one (1) burning permit in July. He explained that he pruned trees to clear sight lines for visibility to street signs and mended the guard rail posts/cables. He advised he wrote an article relating to deer poaching and the 2016 City Deer Management program for the quarterly newsletter. He advised that he removed broken tree branches on Windy Hill Road that damaged after recent storms and also was granted permission from a property owner on the road to remove trees that were severely leaning over the road.
The Forester advised he spot spraying burdock and thistles along Salem Church Road and also sprayed flowers from wild parsnip in Musser Park near the road. He commented that residents should use caution and wear gloves and protective clothing when removing the wild parsnip as the sap from the plant that has contact with the skin in sunlight causes nasty burns and blisters. He noted that purple loosestrife is blooming in several areas along the shore of Sunfish Lake and that they should be removed or sprayed as soon as possible. He explained that he talked to the property owner and asked them to remove the plants so they do not spread or get out of control.
Council thanked the Forester for his report.
d. PUBLIC SAFETY: Mayor Park explained that Chief Shaver was attending the Night to Unite activities in West St. Paul and was unable to attend the meeting this evening. She stated that he sent a summary letter dated July 29, 2016 to review the police calls received. She noted that the False Alarm calls were substantially higher than this same time period last year.
The Mayor commented that she was unsure if the Chief would be discussing the parking issues raised at the July meeting.
Clerk Iago explained that the Chief and City Attorney indicated they were reviewing the parking regulations and would make a presentation on this matter at the September meeting.
8. NEW/OTHER BUSINESS: a. Review Feasibility Report for 2017 Street Improvement Project: Mayor Park explained that Items 8.a. and 8.b. would be discussed at the September meeting by the City Engineer.
b. Review Final Draft 2017-2021 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP): To be discussed at the September Council meeting.
c. Discuss the Proposed 2017 City of Sunfish Lake Tax Levy and Budget: Mayor Park asked Treasurer Lanoue to review the information discussed at the Special Budget meeting held at 6 p.m. this evening
Treasurer Lanoue explained that Council and staff discussed the proposed 2017 budget and tax levy at a study meeting held earlier this evening. She stated that Council agreed that the tax rate for 2017 should be increased from .25577 percent to .26000 percent. She explained that the increase in the tax rate would provide an additional $42,000 to the 2017 budget for a total of $472,236. She noted that the increase would provide $25,000 for work on the Comprehensive Plan update which is required to be done every 10 years and the remaining funding would be placed in the reserve fund.
The Treasurer stated that she would prepare the proposed 2017 Budget and Tax Levy documentation for Council review and adoption at the September Council meeting. She noted that the tax levy amount approved in September may be decreased after receiving input from residents at a public hearing in December, however, it may not be increased. She further explained that the 2017 budget may be adjusted in the upcoming year.
Council thanked the Treasurer for her presentation.
d. Consider Approval of Agreement Between the Metropolitan Council and the City of Sunfish Lake for the 2016 Citizen Assisted Lake Monitoring Program (CAMP): Clerk Iago referred to the agreement between the Metropolitan Council and the City of Sunfish Lake for the 2016 Citizen Assisted Lake Monitoring Program (CAMP) and advised that this contract is annually approved by Council. She stated that she provided a copy of the document to Attorney Bridget Nason and that the City Attorney annually reviews the contact.
Attorney Nason stated she reviewed the document during the meeting and found it to be appropriate for approval.
Mayor Park stated that three citizens volunteered to monitor the lakes and thanked residents James Stowell, Forester Nayes and Scott Spaeth for their participation.
Councilmember Williams moved to approve the contract between the Metropolitan Council and the City of Sunfish Lake for the 2016 Citizen Assisted Lake Monitoring Program (CAMP) as presented, seconded by Councilmember Wahlstrom and carried. (3-0)
e. Consider Approval of Letter to MnDOT Expressing the City of Sunfish Lake Concerns Relating to Proposed 2017 Improvements to Trunk Highway 110 and the Mendota Road Intersection: Mayor Park explained that Councilmember Williams had revised the draft letter to MnDOT relating to the City’s concerns and suggestions to improve traffic safety at the intersection at Highway 110 and Mendota Road.
Councilmember Williams stated he prepared a strongly worded letter that expresses the concerns and would submit a copy of the letter for review by the City Engineer and Council at the September meeting prior to sending it to MnDOT.
f. Other: Mayor Park explained that she advertised in the Sunfish Lake Quarterly Newsletter that she would be hosting an open house for interested residents at her home on Thursday, August 4, to discuss airplane noise issues. She stated that Dana Nelson from the Metropolitan Airports Commission and John Bergman from the Noise Oversight Committee would be present to respond to questions. She noted that three (3) residents had responded they would attend.
Clerk Iago advised that candidate filings for municipal offices, Mayor and two Council positions, opened today and would close on August 16, 2016.
Mayor Park asked if there was any further business and there was no response.
9. ADJOURN: Mayor Park moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:51 p.m.
Catherine Iago, City Clerk Molly Park, Mayor