SUNFISH LAKE CITY COUNCIL MEETING – SEPTEMBER 6, 2016
7:00 P.M. - ST. ANNE’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Mayor: Molly Park
Councilmembers: Mike Hovey, JoAnne Wahlstrom, Steven Bulach and Richard Williams
City Attorney: Tim Kuntz
City Planner: Ryan Grittman
Engineer: Don Sterna
City Treasurer: Ann Lanoue
Building Inspector: Mike Andrejka
City Forester: Jim Nayes
Police Chief: Manila Shaver
City Clerk: Cathy Iago
and Members of the General Public.
1. CALL TO ORDER: Mayor Park opened the meeting at 7:00 p.m.
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. (5-0)
3. CONSENT AGENDA: Mayor Park asked if there were any questions or comments relating to any items on the Consent Agenda. She referred to page 4 of the Regular Council meeting minutes of August 2, 2016 and asked that the first sentence on the page be corrected by changing the wording from “insurmountable curbing “to “surmountable curbing”. She also referred to page 5 of the Regular Council meeting minutes and noted that the meeting with John Bergman regarding airport noise was held at her home on August 11, 2016 not on August 4 2016 as listed in the minutes.
Clerk Iago explained that although the meeting was held on a different date, the Mayor did say the meeting would be held on August 3, 2016 and therefore it should not be changed.
Mayor Park asked if there were any further comments or corrections and there was no response.
Councilmember Wahlstrom moved approval of the Consent Agenda with the amendment to the August 2, 2016 Regular Council meeting minutes as requested, seconded by Councilmember Bulach and carried. (5-0)
a. Special and Regular Council Meeting Minutes of August 2. 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. She explained that former resident Roger Conant wished to speak to the Council and asked if he could be heard when he arrives at the meeting. She stated he had a brochure that he wished to distribute to Council and she advised him he could have a few minutes to speak to Council.
There was a brief discussion amongst the Council and the Mayor asked the City Attorney for his opinion regarding whether or not Mr. Conant could be heard when he arrives.
Attorney Kuntz advised that Council has the discretion to allow comments from the public when Mr. Conant arrives.
5. PUBLIC HEARING/PRESENTATIONS: None
6. PLANNING COMMISSION/PLANNER’S REPORT: a. Consider Resolution Approving Conditional Use Permit for An Accessory Structure, 55 Salem Church Road, Escoto : Planner Grittman explained that Mr. Escoto applied for a conditional use permit to allow a second accessory structure on his property located at 55 Salem Church Road. He advised the property currently has an existing sport court which would be the first accessory use on the property. He explained the second accessory structure proposed would be a 240 sq. ft. shed and advised that the Planning Commission unanimously approved the request for the shed with the five (4) conditions listed in the Planner’s report and Findings of Fact dated August 17, 2016 and with three (3) additional conditions as listed in the Planner’s report dated August 31, 2016. He reviewed the three additional conditions as follows:
1. The installation of evergreen screening from adjacent neighboring properties and from Salem Church Road and that the size, number and placement would be approved by the City Forester Said evergreen screening would be planted by the applicant and inspected by the Forester prior to construction of the shed;
2. The Full completion of the project, subject to approval for the City Planner, must take place within one year of approval of the project by Council. If the project is not fully completed within one year, any and all structures or their components are to be completely removed from the property within 90 days; and,
3. The color of the shed and shingles must be compatible with and match as close as possible to the existing home.
Councilmember Wahlstrom asked who would pay for removal of the shed if it is not completed and the Planner responded that the applicant would be responsible for the cost of removal.
The Planner showed samples of the siding and noted that the sample would have a primer coat of paint and the Planning Commission requested the applicant paint the shed with a color similar to the existing home. He further noted that the roof shingles are not included in the kit and the Planning Commission required the applicant to install shingles that match those on the existing home.
Planner Grittman stated that the applicant is not present this evening. He stated that staff recommends approval of the request with the conditions and additional conditions as outlined. He offered to respond to questions.
Mayor Park commented that there may be existing evergreen trees or other vegetation on the site that screens the area where the shed will be located. She asked the City Forester if it is his opinion that the size and number of evergreens to be installed must be functionally able to screen the shed from adjacent properties and Salem Church Road.
Forester Nayes agreed with the Mayor’s comments and explained that a smaller tree, such as a 4 ft. evergreen, may be sufficient to screen the shed, depending on the tree placement.
Councilmember Wahlstrom asked the height of the proposed structure and the Planner responded it would be 9 ft. 6 inches high.
Forester Nayes pointed out that if a larger tree is planted It may not survive due to the stress on the roots and he would recommend planting evergreens 6 ft. in height or shorter.
Councilmember Williams asked how fast the trees would grow.
The Forester advised that evergreens grow approximately one foot per year. He pointed out that placement and adjustment of the trees can be made to screen the structure and he would not recommend placing the trees to close to the structure location as it may put stress on the plantings if they are disturbed during construction.
Councilmember Wahlstrom asked if the shed would be placed on a concrete pad.
Planner Grittman responded no and stated that the applicant would place the structure on a class 5 gravel base.
Councilmember Williams commented that because a larger evergreen installation may fail, it may be wise to install smaller trees further from the structure that would better screen the shed.
Forester Nayes stated he would recommend that trees no larger than 6 ft be installed and advised that smaller trees would establish themselves more quickly than larger trees.
Councilmember Wahlstrom asked if the trees would have to be replaced if they are damaged by deer and who would be responsible for replacement.
Planning Grittman responded yes and stated that the applicant would be required to maintain the screening.
Forester Nayes stated he would recommend spruce or white pines be planted as they would not be susceptible to damage from deer.
Councilmember Hovey asked if it is too late in the season to plant the trees.
Forester Nayes stated that if the trees are planted soon they should survive.
Mayor Park asked how the structure would be anchored to the pad.
Building Inspector Andrejka explained that there are no requirements in the building code to anchor the structure, however, it would require a building permit that he would review.
Councilmember Bulach noted that the structure would be wood and asked if rotting could occur if it is placed on a Class 5 gravel pad.
Councilmember Hovey referred to the diagram of the structure and noted that it would be constructed with 4 x 4 treated runners, with 2 x 4 joints and pads placed on each corner of the structure base, so it shouldn’t rot.
Mayor Park explained that the Council has concerns as this homeowner has a history of not completing projects that were approved by the City.
Planner Grittman explained that the applicant plans to purchase a “kit” to construct the structure and that it does require a building permit review.
Building Inspector Andrejka explained that he would review the construction plan and that it is his opinion the shed should not be difficult to construct.
Attorney Kuntz asked if the Planner had verified the structure would be 240 sq. ft.
The Planner responded yes and stated the building is 12 x 20 ft. He advised that the applicant would purchase shingles for the roof as they are not part of the kit.
Mayor Park asked if the Planner would review the conditions with the Building Inspector prior to issuance of the permit.
Both the Planner and Inspector agreed they would confer before the permit is issued.
Councilmember Hovey explained that he had assisted with building this type of shed for his church and it is not difficult. He asked if staff would insure that it is painted after construction so that it does not remain just primed.
Planner Grittman stated that he would advise the applicant and that it could be made part of the permit process.
Inspector Andrejka asked how the Planner would know when the structure is completed.
Planner Grittman advised that he has a checklist for all applications that he reviews for follow-up issues.
Mayor Park asked if a contractor would be hired to install the shed.
Planner Grittman explained that it was his impression the homeowner would do the construction.
Councilmember Bulach commented that in his opinion the taller trees would be better for installation.
Mayor Park questioned if the LP siding should be approved.
Planner Grittman showed Council a sample of the panel to be used for construction and noted that the City has approved this type of material as siding in the past.
Inspector Andrejka explained that the panels are made of the same material as the siding and should perform the same.
Mayor Park asked if the panels would fall apart in 10 years.
The Planner advised that there is a 50 year warranty on the product, however, the product has not been around for 50 years so it is hard to determine.
Councilmember Williams commented that the City would have knowledge that the product does not last if it breaks down within a shorter time period. He suggested that the City may wish to set-up a check of the product in 5 years when future applications are considered.
Mayor Park asked if the shed would break down if it is not painted and the shingles are not installed.
Planner Grittman advised that the materials are primed so they should not break down.
Attorney Kuntz suggested that for aesthetic compatibility the Council could require that the painting of the shed be completed within 30 days after construction.
Mayor Park explained that at the Planning Commission meeting she and Commissioner O’Leary offered to work with the homeowner to discuss the issues relating to the condition of his property. She commented that Commissioner O’Leary pointed out that the applicant is a restaurant owner and works long hours, therefore he made need assistance with keeping up the property.
Planner Grittman stated that he prepared documentation relating to the number of vehicles in the driveway that are illegally and incorrectly parked on the property.
Councilmember Hovey asked how a vehicle could be incorrectly parked on a driveway.
The Planner explained that vehicles cannot be incorrectly parked on a driveways, however, some vehicles on the site were parked in the yard or on the sport court.
Mayor Park asked if there was any further discussion on this application and there was no response. She called for a motion.
Councilmember Hovey moved to adopt Resolution No. 16-17 titled, RESOLUTION APPROVING A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT TO PERMIT CONSTRUCTION OF A SECOND ACCESSORY STRUCTURE FOR THE PROPERTY LOCATED AT 55 SALEM CHURCH ROAD, SUNFISH LAKE, DAKOTA COUNTY, MINNESOTA, based on the findings of fact dated August 17, 2016 and subject to the conditions as listed in the resolution with additional conditions as follows:
1. That the structure be painted with the final color similar to the existing home within 30 days after completion of construction; and
2. That the evergreen trees to be installed be 6 ft. in height; and,
3. That the additional conditions be met within one year of completion of construction or the entire structure be removed.
seconded by Councilmember Wahlstrom and carried. (5-0)
COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC: Mayor Park stated that Roger Conant was present and asked that he limit his comments to a few minutes.
Roger Conant explained that his home in Sunfish Lake had been on the market for the past 18 months and that approximately 12 additional homes would be for sale within the City. He stated that last year two homes within the City sold for under $500,000 and this year one home sold for $700,000. He explained that the homes over $1 million are not selling because the market at that price is not strong at this time and real estate agents do not bring their clients to Sunfish Lake. He noted that he and others conducted a “progressive” open house in the City, however, not many realtors attended. He explained that real estate agents are not working together to promote homes in this area and brokers have been unwilling to bring clients to the showings.
Mr. Conant pointed out that when this occurs, people begin competitive price cutting on their properties. He explained that he prepared a brochure that describes Sunfish Lake and highlights what a great community it is to live in. He distributed copies to Council and those present. He asked that Council review the document and discuss what the community could do to promote Sunfish Lake as a wonderful place to live.
Mayor Park advised that Council would review the information and thanked Mr. Conant for his work.
b. Planner’s Report: Planner Grittman referred to his report dated August 31, 2016 and advised that the property owners at 2250 Delaware Avenue are considering a minor subdivision of their property to create a new parcel suitable for constructing a new home. He stated that no formal application had been submitted for this parcel.
The Planner explained that the City of Inver Grove Heights sent notification of a Comprehensive Plan amendment for rezoning a property from Industrial to low density residential at the corner of Westcott Road and Highway 149; he advised that staff approved the change on behalf of the City.
Planner Grittman stated that staff was seeking guidance from the Council to determine if there is interest in a Zoning Ordinance amendment to prohibit or restrict sheds or other simple accessory structures within the City. He indicated that the amendment could include a prohibition on structures between 200 and 350 sq. ft., which would allow for small tool/garden sheds and larger detached garages but not large temporary shed structures. He advised that smaller sheds under 200 sq. ft. would still require a building permit.
Councilmember Hovey pointed out that the smaller sheds or playhouses could be used to store lawn maintenance items and would still have to meet setback requirements. He asked if only one of the small sheds is permitted and the Planner responded yes.
After a brief discussion, Council concurred that they are comfortable with the present Zoning Ordinance regulations and that an amendment would not be necessary.
Planner Grittman stated that Mayor Park asked staff to review the City’s nuisance ordinances as they specifically relate to prohibiting junk, debris and inoperable vehicles stored on properties within the City. He explained that the City’s Public Health Nuisance includes violations as the keeping of deceased animals, decayed food, manure, or similar items that are a threat to the health of persons. He advised the ordinance relating to Public Safety Nuisance includes violations that pertain to noise, obstruction of public right-of-way and other violations may cause injury to a person or property.
The Planner noted that the City has regulations regarding parking and storage in the Zoning Ordinance and explained that all outdoor parking in the City must be connected to a public right-of-way. He further advised that the City also prohibits most outdoor storage with a few exceptions that include recreational vehicles, fire wood for recreational fires, clothes lines, etc.
Planner Grittman stated that he reviewed regulations from other cities relating to code enforcement and found that cities begin the process of eradicating the nuisance by sending a letter to notify the property owner of the violation and asking them to correct the situation. If the property owner does not respond, a second letter is sent. If there is no response to the second letter or the violation is not corrected, the City issues a ticket and the County Judge determines a fine. He also noted that when dealing with junk vehicles some cities send the issue to the City Attorney for court action if the property owner does not respond to the two letters sent by staff and a judge would then determine a fine and/or order removal of the vehicle.
Councilmember Williams asked if dilapidated structures on property could be considered a nuisance.
Planner Grittman responded yes and explained that would they would classify as a safety hazard and the City could use the “Hazardous Building Act” to get a dangerous structure removed.
Arnie Svendsen, 1 Sunfish Lane, asked if the City has a procedures to remove a large animal that dies on residential property.
Planner Grittman stated that the City has no formal removal procedure that he is aware of and that he was unsure if the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) should be contacted; he asked the City Forester for his input.
Forester Nayes explained that he has been asked to remove dead animals, but the City does not have a procedure for removal and that it would be the responsibility of the property owner. He commented that if there is a live animal that is behaving strangely on residential property, he would recommend the Police Department be called to take care of that situation so residents are not harmed or infected if the animal is diseased.
Police Chief Shaver explained that the DNR will not remove dead animals from residential property, but there are some private companies would do so. He suggested that the property owner could dig a hole and bury the animal if it is not too large and the lot could accommodate burial.
Deni Svendsen, 1 Sunfish Lane, stated that there was a buried tank on the Dolbranz property and she asked if it was removed when the cleanup of the property occurred. She further noted that there was an open well on the wooded property along Charlton Road and noted that there may be other wells in the City that have not been capped.
Councilmember Bulach explained that Kamish was responsible for excavating structures and the foundation on the Dolbranz property and he assumed the tank was removed at that time; he offered to contact Kamish to find out if the tank was removed. He pointed out that wells on property are subject to disclosure and it should be documented with the County if the well was capped.
Jake Crandall, 2157 Charlton Road, explained that the well Deni Svendsen mentioned was on the Lily farm property and that it should have been filled prior to construction of the home on that property.
Kitsy Nye, 2140 Charlton Road, explained that in her opinion the Dolbranz property should still be considered as a hazardous property as there are implements that remain on the property that could be breeding grounds for mosquitoes. She further noted that she was unsure if mosquito control could access the property to treat the area as the driveway into the parcel is so overgrown.
There was discussion relating to possible health hazards on the Dolbranz property and whether or not staff could determine if the well discussed had been capped.
Mayor Park asked the Planner to research with Dakota County to determine if the well had been filled. She indicated that the City had taken the steps necessary to eliminate the public safety hazards on the Dolbranz property and that further cleanup of the site may have to be referred to the State of Minnesota to eliminate the mosquito issues.
Mayor Park advised that resident Virginia Coss had contacted her regarding the fact that she was experiencing dirt and runoff on her driveway since her neighbor had removed vegetation from his property. She asked the City Engineer and Planner to review the Coss property and determine if the dirt accumulation was due to the removal of trees from the adjacent property. She questioned if the neighbor was required to obtain a permit from the City Forester to remove trees.
Forester Nayes explained that no permit required to remove vegetation such as buckthorn.
Councilmember Hovey pointed out that the City ordinance allows removal of noxious growth such as buckthorn.
Forester Nayes agreed and pointed out that the dirt would runoff when buckthorn is removed and that neighbors had registered complaints of “clear cutting” when a large amount of noxious vegetation is removed. He explained that he could contact the neighbor to recommend seeding of the area in order to hold the dirt and eliminate the growth of weeds. He discussed how to restore vegetation after buckthorn removal so that it would not grow back.
The Forester explained that he spoke to Mr. Brackey, Ms. Coss’s neighbor, a year ago about reseeding when he removed buckthorn so that it would not grow back.
Mayor Park asked what the City could do to assist Ms. Coss with this issue.
Engineer Sterna explained that if the erosion is coming from the neighboring property, the City could send a letter asking them to maintain the erosion with bio-logs that will keep the dirt on their property.
Mayor Park asked the City Attorney if Council action is required and the Attorney recommended that Council direct staff to review the site and direct the City Engineer to send a letter to the property owner that explains how to keep the erosion on his parcel.
Council concurred to direct staff to review the property adjacent to the Coss property and direct the City Engineer to send a letter to the property owner outlining his recommendation for keeping the erosion on site.
Council thanked the Planner for his report.
7. STAFF REPORTS: a. BUILDING INSPECTOR: Inspector Andrejka stated that he issued five (5) and closed four (4) permits in August.
Mayor Park asked the Building Inspector to comment on his concerns related to the Hurley property.
Inspector Andrejka explained that he talked to staff this evening regarding his concerns that the driveway at the Hurley property be constructed according to the recommendation of the Fire Chief. He asked who would be responsible for determining how the driveway should be constructed.
Planner Grittman advised that the site plan should contain the driveway specifications and that he would verify these specifications with the Fire Chief. He explained that it would be the responsibility of the property owner to insure that the driveway is constructed to meet the specifications.
Mayor Park noted that several trees have been removed from the property.
Forester Nayes stated he would review the property to insure that the trees removed were those specified on the plans.
Engineer Sterna explained that several trees from the north side of the parcel were scheduled for removal and he would discuss the driveway construction issues with the Planner to insure that the driveway is constructed as specified by the Fire Chief.
Mayor Park thanked the Inspector for bringing this matter to the attention of Council and thanked the Inspector for his report.
b. CITY ENGINEER: Engineering Activities Undertaken in August: A. Charlton Road Update: Engineer Sterna explained no additional activity relating to Charlton Road took place in August, however, he received an email from the Police Chief relating to parking concerns on the road. He stated he also received an email regarding speed limit concerns on Charlton Road from a resident. He explained that if the City moves forward with improvements on Charlton Road, the Chief suggested that placing “bump outs” in areas along the road may be helpful to accommodate larger vehicles that are used for lawn or pool maintenance. He further stated that the railroad timbers at the end of the road near Delaware need to be removed. He explained that the 30 mph speed limit on the roadway is legal and advised that there is a provision in State Law whereby the City could take action to lower the speed limit to 25 mph as was undertaken on Acorn Drive; he explained this could be incorporated if the improvement of the road moves forward.
B. TH110 Casing Pipe Decision: The Engineer advised that MnDOT is requesting a decision from the City regarding whether or not they wish to proceed with installation of the 24: HDPE open cut casing pipe in conjunction with their improvement project scheduled for next year. He recommended that the City move forward with the pipe installation at an estimated cost of $20,000 to $25,000, with an additional cost of $2,000 to MnDOT for administration fees. He explained that he could prepare a plan showing where the pipe would be placed and advised that 100 percent of the installation cost would be the responsibly of the City, however, the City would have the option to withdraw the request if the bid for the work comes in higher than anticipated. He advised in his option the cost should be closer to $20,000 than $25,000 as previously anticipated and asked for Council direction on how to proceed.
Councilmember Hovey stated he would prefer to do the installation at this time.
Councilmember Williams agreed that it would be too costly to install the casing later.
Engineer Sterna asked Council for a motion to direct staff to prepare plans for the casing installation and forward the plan to MnDOT for inclusion in their 2017 Highway 110 Improvement Project.
Attorney Kuntz asked if the casing would extend beyond the MnDOT right-of-way. He further asked if the City would own the casing and be responsible for maintenance of the pipe.
Engineer Sterna explained that the casing would be placed in the right-of-way located on west side of Highway 110, under the grassy median on the Sunfish Lake side of the highway. He advised that the City would own the pipe and be responsible for future maintenance. He pointed out that the pipe would be installed by MnDOT, filled with sand and capped with a water-tight seal; he explained that the sand could be blown out of the pipe prior to its use.
Attorney Kuntz asked if MnDOT issues the City a permit for the casing to be installed in in the right-of-way.
Councilmember Williams asked if it would be an insurable risk for the City.
Treasurer Lanoue stated she would check with LMCIT to determine if it should be added to the City’s insurance premium.
Councilmember Hovey asked if there are any issues with the City of West St. Paul for installation on the north side of the highway.
Engineer Sterna responded that West St. Paul would not have authority and that he talked to St. Paul Water Department and they have agreed to allow the extension. He offered to contact the water department to get a formal letter for future reference when the actual hydrant is installed.
Mayor Park asked what Council needs to authorize this evening.
Engineer Sterna stated that he should be able to prepare the appropriate plans and documentation for less than $2,500.
Attorney Kuntz asked where the City would find funding in the amount of $30,000 for the installation of the hydrant.
Engineer Sterna explained that $12,000 was identified in the CIP for the project and that the payment would not be due until next year. He commented that he anticipates the total cost to be approximately $20,000 for the casing.
Council discussed using monies from the reserve funds to pay for the project.
Councilmember Bulach pointed out that the City still has the option to back out of the project if the costs are too high.
Mayor Park asked if there was any further discussion and hearing none, called for a motion on this matter.
Councilmember Williams moved to authorize the City Engineer to draft a contract and specifications for installation of a casing pipe to be placed under Highway 110 in conjunction with the proposed 2017 MnDOT Improvement Project for Highway 110 at a total cost not to exceed $30,000 and to insert a clause in the contract for the City to retain the option to withdraw from the project if the costs exceed that amount, and further direct the Engineer to contact St. Paul water Department to request a formal letter confirm their agreement that the City of Sunfish Lake may install fire hydrants on both sides of Highway 110 and extend a water main to service the City of Sunfish Lake, seconded by Councilmember Hovey and carried. (5-0)
Councilmember Williams asked that the City Treasurer contact the LMCIT to determine if it is an insurable risk if the casing is somehow damaged or destroyed.
Councilmember Bulach questioned if St. Paul Water Department would be responsible for repairs if the pipe breaks.
Engineer Sterna responded no and explained that it would be the City’s responsibility once it is extend across the highway.
Treasurer Lanoue sated she would contact the League of Cities Insurance Trust to determine the risk and any costs.
Engineer Sterna pointed out that there are no users on the water system so the City does not collect any fees that could be used for repairs.
Councilmember Hovey asked how the City handles the repairs for the hydrant on the south end of Charlton Road.
Engineer Sterna offered to review that question and report back to Council; he indicated that there may be a Joint Powers Agreement that identifies responsibility for repairs.
C. Building and Site Plan Reviews: The Engineer stated he had one site plan review for the shed at 55 Salem Church Road and one final inspection at 240 Salem Church Road.
Public Works Activities Undertaken in the Month of August: A. 2016 Crack Seal and Seal Coat Project: Engineer Sterna stated the seal coating project was completed along Salem Church Road from Delaware Avenue to Roanoke in mid-August and the remaining loose rocks will be swept in September, He noted that the road would be restriped once the rock is removed.
Anticipated Engineering Activities for September: A. Charlton Road Potential Improvements: the Engineer explained that he will continue coordinate with the Charlton Road Task Force regarding a strategy for improvements to the road.
B. Snow Plowing Quotes: Engineer Sterna stated he would request the annual snow plow quotes in September for formal action at the October Council meeting.
C. Charlton Road Grading: The Engineer explained that he request the road be regraded in mid-September to prepare the surface for the upcoming winter months
D. 2017 City Improvement Project Discussion: Engineer Sterna stated that he completed the draft Feasibility Report however, he will meet with the City Attorney to discuss possible assessments for the project. He briefly reviewed the issues relating to the assessments for the overlay on Roanoke Road and the reclamation on Salem Church Road and advised he would work with the City Attorney to prepare the documentation for presentation at the October meeting.
Councilmember Bulach asked if the speed humps would also be restriped on Salem Church Road and the Engineer responded yes.
The Engineer advised that he received the replacement Fire Numbers that were ordered for residential properties and he would give them to the City Forester for installation.
Mayor Park reported that she, Engineer Sterna and Councilmember Hovey had met with citizens and walked Charlton Road to discuss the possibility of more customized improvements to the road prior to the engineer preparing a feasibility report. She stated that resident Jake Crandall would provide an overview of what the citizen group, many of which are present this evening, wished to have included in the feasibility report for the road improvements.
Jake Crandall thanked the Mayor and the Engineer for their participation. He stated that he has lived on Charlton Road for 30 years and that he drives it every day. He explained that the road is in terrible condition and that he has witnessed the erosion and potholes that occur on the road and that it needs to be fixed every spring. He advised that in 1993 the City spent $120,000 on road repairs, however the potholes just moved to another area of the road. He explained that initially he was opposed to paving the road in order to preserve the rural character of the road, however, in his opinion the grading and maintenance have not worked to correct the problems. He commented that in 2009 when a Citizen Task Force again walked the road to review possible road improvements it was determined that the cost to acquire right-of-way from residents was too expensive to proceed with the project. He explained that when they walked the road this year the maps showed that the City that the City does own right-of-way from the church parking lot to the McManus property on the west portion of the road. He advised that the residents attending the meeting this evening have offered to donate easements to the City in order to get the project done. He commented that it was determined that instead of sixteen parcels needed to offer easements, there may be only four or five that the City would have to acquire; he noted that those property owners may not have been contacted to discuss the issues. He further stated that although he was opposed to the improvements in 1993, he now had been contacted by seventeen property owners who support paving the road.
Mr. Crandall explained that the citizen group agrees it is time to prepare a feasibility study for the project. He noted that it was mentioned there have been cases of West Nile virus and encephalitis and asked if the City has the authority to clean-up properties that are breeding grounds for mosquitos and discussed the fact that he had contracted encephalitis and still takes medication for epilepsy. He advised he has concerns relating to the dangerous curve on the south end of the road and advised that the road has safety issues as it is used by people walking their dogs and biking, which could be dangerous with the erosion problems. He also pointed out that the road that the cost of grading the road has approached the combined cost for maintaining all other roads in the City. He stated that the opinion of the Citizen Task Force is that the road improvement needs to be done and the feasibility study should be done as soon as possible.
Mayor Park thanked Mr. Crandall for his presentation and asked if the group had any input relating to the customized design of the road that maybe wider or narrower in certain areas.
Mr. Crandall stated that in 2009 the citizens discussed different roadway widths and determined that the width of the road from Highway 110 to St. Anne’s Church property could remain the same and other sections could be reduced.to 10 or 11 feet in width. He noted that the key item discussed during this review was the erosion areas, especially near his property which has a hill that gradually declines. He noted there is plenty of room for curb near his property and the Engineer discussed curbing in the areas where it is needed to solve the drainage and erosion issues.
Councilmember Williams pointed out that there are issues with the base materials of the road
Mr. Crandall agreed and noted that the road needs to be corrected with subgrade and if that is done correctly, it would not be much more expensive to pave the road. He commented that if the question would be why the City would put that much time and money into the road and then keep it a gravel road. He advised that there are now ways to approach the improvement to the road that were not available in 2009.
Councilmember Williams explained that after the City received the appraisal information for obtaining easements, Council determined it would be way too costly to proceed with the improvements.
Mayor Park asked if there were any further comments or questions.
Councilmember Williams supported directing the City Engineer to prepare a Feasibility Report with a customized design for improvements to Charlton Road which includes road widths, proposed areas for ditching and surmountable curbing and types of easements that are needed to be donated or obtained to complete the project, and possible assessments for residents on the road.
Councilmember Hovey asked if the report should be broken into options for sections of the road as previously discussed or just the entire length of the road or list options as previously discussed. He stated he supports including the entire road in the report.
Mr. Crandall advised that the citizen group would agree to include the entire road for the project.
Mayor Park pointed out that now that the issues have been addressed and a customized plan could be drawn, Council can look at the whole road.
Councilmember Williams noted that the Engineer would have to determine which easements would need to be donated to proceed with the improvements right away.
Shannon Werb asked that staff clarify what an easement entails so that residents understand what they would be donating and what they would need to do to maintain the road.
Attorney Kuntz explained that the feasibility report should identify the type of easement that is required from each resident to complete the project. He advised that some residents may need to provide street right-of-way easements while others may only need to provide drainage easements.
Kitsy Nye stated that some properties are developed and some are not and suggested that information should also be included in the feasibility report.
Ibby Hammett asked that the costs include proper ditching and also with gravel and ditching. She stated if the City wishes to pursue only paving up to the church property she had no objections, but she also wished to see what the cost would be with proper ditching and gravel.
Mayor Park stated that she understands the request to compare the costs, but she explained that if the road is paved it won’t all be ditching, it could be surmountable curb and more easements may be necessary.
Shannon Werb commented that in the 2009 study of the road he saw one options included fixing the base of the road and another was to fix the base and put pavement on top. He noted that the cost differential at that time was small.
Mayor Park asked the Engineer to respond to Ms. Hammett’s request.
Engineer Sterna explained that he could identify areas where the width of the road could be reduced, however, he noted the area near Crandall’s corner would require removal of a tremendous amount of dirt and extensive ditching and the ditching can only be installed if the road is paved. He stated he could compare the costs for a 20 ft. gravel surface versus a paved surface with curbing and then also include the costs for gravel with the removal of dirt. He advised that would be a more indicative of a cost comparison.
Councilmember Williams pointed out that once the road base is improved it would not be that much more costly to pave the road. He suggested that the report should also show the difference in maintenance costs for a paved road versus a gravel road.
Mayor Park asked if the comparisons could be done and the Engineer responded yes.
Shannon Werb explained that one major concern with the residents was that ditching would impact their property.
Mayor Park suggested that if the City shows the differences in paving and gravel it may help alleviate the residents’ concerns.
Engineer Sterna also advised that some trees may have to be removed if proper ditching is installed with the gravel road versus a paved road. He explained that residents should be also be aware of those differences.
Councilmember Hovey asked the normal length of time for maintenance of a paved road.
Engineer Sterna stated that maintenance occurs at 8 to 10 year before sealcoating is done, whereas a gravel road requires annual maintenance.
Mayor Park asked if there were any further comments and there was no response.
Councilmember Wahlstrom moved to direct the City Engineer to prepare a Feasibility Report for Charlton Road improvements with two options: 1. All Class 5 Road with proper ditching 2. All Class 5 road with paving and gutters/curbing and includes maintenance costs on the road for 10 years and where the issues would occur on the road, the areas where curbing and ditching are necessary, outlines assessment costs, explains the types of easements that would be necessary for each type of design project and the properties where each type of easement must be acquired, seconded by Councilmember Hovey.
In discussion, Mayor Park asked if an amount should be placed on the Engineer’s costs.
Engineer Sterna stated he would have the costs available in October.
Mayor Park called for a vote on the motion.
Motion carried (5-0)
Council thanked the Engineer for his report.
RECESS: Council took a brief recess at 8:40 p.m. and reconvened at 8:50 p.m.
c. CITY FORESTER: Forester Nayes stated he issued one (1) burning permit in August and mowed paths in Musser and Harmon Parks. He advised he pruned deer damaged and dead branches on evergreens in the north Musser Park meadow and also cut back amur maples encroaching over the path on the north side of the park.
The Forester explained that he consulted with a resident regarding a tree that was struck by lightning and recommended it be promptly removed as the trunk was split. He further explained he talked to residents regarding diseases and insects on various trees. He discussed the fact that Japanese beetles are a problem and commented that well maintained yards attract the beetles. He advised he collected and submitted potential oak wilt samples to the U of M plant disease lab for testing and removed two (2) dead elms in Musser Park near Salem Church Road.
Forester Nayes reported that a resident attempting to obtain his Eagle Scout status had a group building blue bird houses and rustic benches for placement in Musser Park. He pointed out that the bird houses would not be visible from the street and should be completed and installed in a few weeks.
The Forester advised that Horseshoe Lake was overflowing through the outflow due to the large amount of rainfall.
Council thanked the Forester for his report.
d. PUBLIC SAFETY: Chief Shaver reviewed his report dated August 29, 2016 and noted that there were five (5) false alarm calls this month; he advised the number of alarms is 27 percent higher than last year at this time. He also advised that there was a theft of mail on Salem Church Road and encouraged residents to bring their mail to the post office and not put outgoing mail in their mailboxes where it can be easily taken. He stated that police made extra patrols on Angell Road during a recent estate sale.
Chief Shaver referred to his memorandum dated August 22, 2016 regarding parking issues along Charlton Road that were discussed at a previous meeting. He stated that his report identifies the issues that arose and noted that not all the issues are related to parking. He referred to the staff recommendations listed in the report and explained that Council may wish to collect information from residents on the data he provided. He also recommended that Council seek input from the Fire Chief regarding his concerns on emergency vehicle accessibility.
Chief Shaver commented that in his opinion some parking issues on Charlton Road appear to relate more to the design and maintenance of the road.
Councilmember Williams asked if the Chief to discuss improper lane usage on Mendota Road for traffic coming from the Government Center.
Chief Shaver explained there is a white fog line on the road that vehicles cross the line to use it as a turn lane; he noted that he has attempted to stop the drivers to educate them on the fact that they cannot cross the line to use it as turn lane.
Councilmember Hovey explained that there used to be signage stating the shoulder could not be used as a turn lane and questioned if that would be reinstalled.
Chief Shaver responded that the signage was not effective and hat he would prefer diagonal striping be installed.
Council thanked the Chief for his report.
8. NEW/OTHER BUSINESS: a. Consider Resolution Adopting the Proposed Budget & Setting Tax Levy for 2017 and Schedule Special Truth in Taxation Council Meeting on December 6, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.: Treasurer Lanoue referred to the City Attorney’s memorandum dated August 31, 2016 which outlined the timeline for the truth-in-taxation process schedule and the draft resolution setting not-to-exceed tax levy for collection in the year 2017. She distributed attachments which outline the Budget Analysis for 2017, showing the taxable market value and tax capacity value comparisons, and the property tax levy history and comparison of average home values and impact of tax rates.
The Treasurer stated that the County Auditor would send out parcel specific notices for the public hearing in December and, after hearing resident input at the meeting, Council would adopt the final budget to be certified to the County.
Treasurer Lanoue explained that the resolution lists a slight tax rate increase for 2017 to .26000 from .25577 last year. She advised that Council decided to include an additional $42,000 in the 2017 budget, noting that $25,000 would be used for the Comprehensive Plan update and the remaining funds would be kept in reserve for capital projects.
The Treasurer explained that the property tax valuation and tax capacity increased and, with new home construction within the City, there would be an additional $3.4 million dollars added to the tax roll.
Mayor Park asked if there were any questions or comments and there was no response.
Councilmember Hovey moved to adopt Resolution No. 16-18 titled, RESOLUTION SETTING NOT-TO-EXCEED TAX LEVY FOR COLLECTION IN THE YEAR 2017 and scheduling a public hearing at the Regular Council meeting on December 6, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at St. Anne’s Church, 2035 Charlton Road, and to direct the City Clerk to post the notice as required by law seconded by Councilmember Williams and carried. (5-0)
b. Review Feasibility Report for 2017 Street Improvement Project: Engineer Sterna explained that he would be working with the City Attorney to prepare the assessment roll for the project for presentation to Council at the October meeting and that no formal action is required at this time.
c. Review Final Draft 2017-2021 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP): Engineer Sterna stated that there were no changes to the final draft of the CIP previously sent to Council. He advised that the proposed budget identifies costs for the easterly portion of Salem Church Road and Roanoke Road, however the improvements for Charlton Road were not identified in the document. He further advised that improvements for the remainder of Angell Road, Sunnyside Lane, Grieve Glen and Zehnder Road are not scheduled until 2020 or 2021 and he pointed out that the document should be considered a tool for budgeting purposes and it is not set in stone.
The Engineer stated he would discuss possible options for assessments for the 2017 projects shown and also the possibility of paying off the bonds to assist with financing projects with the City Attorney. He indicated there may be challenges to financing improvements on Charlton Road in 2017.
Mayor Park asked the Engineer to discuss the types of improvements that would be done in 2017.
Engineer Sterna explained that a full depth reclamation improvement would be done on the east portion Salem Church Road to provide a longer lifespan for the road, while the other roads would need only an overlay.
Mayor Park asked if Council action is necessary.
Engineer Sterna requested Council adopt the document and reiterated that it is used as a tool for budgeting purposes and may be changed if deemed necessary.
Councilmember Hovey moved to approve the Final Draft of the 2017-2021 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) as presented by the Engineer, seconded by Councilmember Wahlstrom and carried. (5-0)
d. Consider Cooperation Agreement for the Dakota County Community Development Block Grant Program: Mayor Park explained that the Dakota County Community Development Agency requested that the City continue its participation in the Dakota County Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program for a three-year period beginning 2017-2019. She stated that the City does not have any subsidized housing, however, continued participation in the program would show the City’s support for the program and assist the CDA with obtaining federal grants.
The Mayor asked if there were any questions and there was no response.
Councilmember Wahlstrom moved to authorize the Mayor to execute the Cooperation Agreement for the Dakota County Community Development Block Grant Program on behalf of the City of Sunfish Lake, seconded by Councilmember Bulach and carried. (5-0)
e. Other: Letter to MnDOT: Mayor Park explained that she had edited the letter prepared by Councilmember Williams to send to MnDOT which outlined the City’s concerns relating to the intersection at Mendota Road and Highway 110 in conjunction with their proposed 2017 improvement project. She asked that Council review the draft as distributed this evening and authorize her to send the letter on behalf of the Council. She thanked Councilmember Williams for his work on the correspondence.
Council concurred to authorize the Mayor to sign the letter on behalf of the Council and send it to MnDOT.
Mayor Park asked if there was any further business and there was no response.
9. ADJOURN: Councilmember Bulach moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:25 p.m. seconded by Councilmember Wahlstrom and carried (5-0)
Catherine Iago, City Clerk Molly Park, Mayor