SUNFISH LAKE CITY COUNCIL MEETING – MARCH 7, 2017
7:00 P.M. - ST. ANNE’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Mayor: Richard Williams
Councilmembers: JoAnne Wahlstrom, Steven Bulach and Daniel O’Leary
City Attorney: Bridget Nason
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.
Councilmember Mike Hovey was absent.
1. CALL TO ORDER: Mayor Williams opened the meeting at 7:00 p.m.
2. APPROVE AGENDA: Mayor Williams asked if there were any additions or corrections to the agenda and there was no response.
Councilmember Bulach moved to adopt the agenda, seconded by Councilmember Wahlstrom and carried. (4-0)
3. CONSENT AGENDA: Mayor Williams asked if there were any questions or comments relating to any items on the Consent Agenda
Councilmember O’Leary referred to page 1 of the February 7, 2017 council meeting minutes and noted that the first sentence under Item 5 was duplicated. He also referred to the third paragraph on page 2 of the February 7 minutes and questioned if the cost sharing for the improvement project was correct.
Mayor Williams explained that the cost share for the “collector” road designation was correct with the City paying 60% and the property owners paying 40%. However, he advised that the cost share for the “local” road designation was incorrect and should read 20% paid by the City and 80% paid by the property owners.
Clerk Iago stated she make the corrections as noted.
The Mayor asked if there were any further comments or corrections and there was no response.
Councilmember O’Leary moved approval of the Consent Agenda with the corrections to the minutes as above-listed, seconded by Councilmember Bulach and carried. (4-0)
a. Regular Council Meeting Minutes of February 7, 2017
b. List of Bills
c. Monthly Financials
4. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC: The Mayor asked if there were any comments from the public.
Ibby Hammett, 2196 Charlton Road, explained that she had some questions for the Engineer and asked if she should wait until his report or ask them now.
Engineer Sterna stated he could respond at this time.
Ibby Hammett questioned if the City recommends reconstruction of the outlet for Sunfish Lake as part of the proposed improvements on Charlton Road would the costs be incurred by the Lake Association property owners or the City.
Engineer Sterna explained that the original outlet was paid for by the Lake Association and that the City did not accept ownership of the outlet as it was designed. He explained that if the outlet is redesigned and installed as part of the proposed Charlton Road improvements, he would recommend the Lake Association property owners pay the cost for the installation of a new outlet since it is not owned by the City. He further explained that the current design of the outlet requires high maintenance and it is costly.
Mayor Williams pointed out that the drainage from the outlet also causes problems on the roadway and should be redesigned to work properly.
The Engineer stated that the City has the right to close the outlet when it causes problems on the road. He commented that with Council direction he could recommend the design for a new outlet, but he would recommend the Lake Association homeowners pay the costs associated with the design and installation.
Ibby Hammett asked if the results of the core drillings on the road would be included in the Engineer’s feasibility report and the Engineer responded yes.
Shannon Werb, 2165 Charlton Road asked for an explanation of events that occurred on the road that caused flooding of the residence near his home.
Engineer Sterna explained that the outlet was left open due to the extremely wet weather conditions and that the water began flowing over the neighbor’s driveway because the culverts downstream were frozen. He also advised that a property owner had plowed and left a large pile of snow over the culvert that froze and caused the water flow backward toward the home causing the flooding. He explained that the culvert was cleaned and should now be working properly.
Mayor Williams explained that there is no public right-of-way owned by the City in that area of the roadway which limits what the City may do to correct problems.
Shannon Werb commented that this type of incident and the lack of public right-of-way demonstrates the broader need for road improvements.
Councilmember Wahlstrom asked if paving the road would alleviate the problems.
Engineer Sterna explained that the installation of proper culverts, ditching and curbing along the road would divert the water to the north ponding area and then it could be controlled. He pointed out that the current ditching areas and the surface of the road cause the problems.
Ibby Hammett commented that she was advised the area on the north end of Charlton Road was a swamp and that it could not be paved due to the wetland area.
Engineer Sterna explained that there are methods and materials that have been successfully installed to accommodate paving wetland areas; he explained a project that was completed in Nisswa, Minnesota with substantial wetland soil.
There was a brief discussion relating to soil conditions and Mayor Williams suggested the matter be revisited at the April meeting when the Engineer presents the feasibility report for Charlton Road.
Mayor Williams asked if there were any further comments from the public and there was no response.
5. PUBLIC HEARING/PRESENTATIONS: None.
6. PLANNING COMMISSION/PLANNER’S REPORT: a. Planner’s Report: Planner Grittman reviewed the following information listed in his report dated March 1, 2017. He stated the February planning meeting was cancelled due to lack of applications.
The Planner advised that the City of Inver Grove Heights proposed an amendment to their Comprehensive Plan to rezone acreage along Highway 55 between Argenta Trail and South Robert Trail from a Regional Business District to a Multi-Family District. He explained the project would include two (2) apartment balding for a total of 400 units. He advised that staff signed off with no objections from Sunfish Lake to the project.
Planner Grittman stated that the property owners at 415 Salem Church Road inquired about constructing a single family home on the 2.5 acre parcel.
Mayor Williams asked if it is a buildable lot and the Planner responded yes.
The Planner advised that prospective buyers of the lot at 245 Salem Church Road inquired about constructing a single family home on the parcel which is a 2.5 acre buildable lot.
Planner Grittman advised that he found the sport court lighting is still in place and recommended that the City Attorney be directed to send a letter advising the property owners they are in violation of the Conditional Use Permit requirements and would be issued a citation if the lights are not removed.
Mayor Williams agreed and explained that he does not support residents doing such things without asking permission.
Councilmember Bulach stated that he viewed the lighting with former Mayor Park, Planner Grittman and the property owner in October, 2016. He explained that one of the lights is directed toward the sport court and the other light is directed toward the pond area.
Planner Grittman explained that the light directed toward the pond could remain as it is considered security lighting, but the light directed toward the sport court is in violation of the CUP approval.
Councilmember O’Leary asked if the Planner has had a conversation with the property owner about removing the light.
Planner Grittman responded yes and explained that the property owner indicated he would not remove the lighting.
Councilmember Bulach commented that he has seen the lighting and, in his opinion, the light does not affect any of the neighboring properties. He further commented that the property owner has a huge lighting display for Christmas that would more likely affect neighboring properties. He stated that he understands the Mayor’s concern that by allowing the lighting to remain it would set precedent, however, he personally knows the property owner who has indicated he was unwilling to take down the lighting. He pointed out that this may be a neighbor dispute since the lighting would not be visible to neighboring properties. He stated that he supports Council taking steps to have the sport court lighting removed to be in compliance with zoning regulations.
Councilmember O’Leary commented that he would be more compassionate to the property owner’s dilemma if the lighting had not been denied as part of the original request for the sport court. He agreed that there may be underlying circumstances with a neighbor dispute since the lighting is not that visible.
Attorney Bridget Nason asked if Council wished to have the City Attorney draft a letter to the property owner formally requesting the lighting be removed for their review at the April meeting.
Council concurred and directed the City Attorney prepare the letter for their review at the April meeting.
Council thanked the Planner for his report.
7. STAFF REPORTS: a. BUILDING INSPECTOR: Inspector Andrejka stated that he issued three (3) and closed sixteen (16) permits in February.
Council thanked the Inspector for his report.
b. CITY ENGINEER: Engineering Activities Undertaken in February: A. Charlton Road Feasibility Report: Engineer Sterna stated that the field work was completed in January he would present the draft Charlton Road Feasibility Report at the April meeting. He explained that he would ask Council to schedule an open house meeting to discuss the project with residents prior to finalizing the report.
B. 2017 Street Improvement Update: The Engineer stated the advertisement for bids would be published March 12 and 19, the bids would be received on April 7, 2017 and the results presented to Council at the May meeting.
C. Snow Plowing for February: Engineer Sterna explained that to date the City has spent approximately $12, 750 of the $30,000 budgeted funds. He noted the costs incurred for February totaled $3,300.
D. Sunfish Lake Outlet: The Engineer advised that the outlet was temporarily closed while driveway culverts and ditches were cleaned to restore drainage along the road. He advised the cost for maintaining the outlet thus far was 43,000. He advised the outlet was reopened and should now be flowing well. He commented that the lake level was up 6 inches.
E. Spring Load Limits: Engineer Sterna advised the load limits were posted on February 20 and would remain in effect through most of April. He advised the City Forester assisted with the postings. He stated he would monitor road conditions and remove the limits sometime in May.
F. SWPPP Yearly Pubic Hearing: The Engineer stated the annual public hearing to discuss the Storm Water Pollution Prevention (SWPP) and National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) would be held at the April Council meeting. He advised that Meghan Litsey would present an overview of the City’s permitting program. He noted that he would contact the City Attorney to discuss some “housekeeping” amendments to the current City ordinances that should be adopted as part of the program.
Public Works Activities Undertaken in the Month of February: None.
Anticipated Engineering and Public Works Activities for March: A. Charlton Road Potential Improvements: The Engineer advised he would discuss the preliminary plan, proposed easements necessary and cost estimates for the Charlton Road Improvements at the April meeting and schedule an open house with the residents.
B. 2017 Improvement Project: Engineer Sterna stated the bids would be advertised in March, opened in April and presented to Council in May.
C. Snow Plow Monitoring: The Engineer stated he would continue to monitor the streets over the next month to insure issues are resolved and asked that any unsafe conditions be reported to him.
Council thanked the Engineer for his report.
c. CITY FORESTER: Forester Nayes stated that two (2) burning permits were issued this month and that he advised property owners not to burn is conditions are dry. He noted that he placed the spring weight limit signs on City streets in February.
The Forester stated the first meeting of the citizen committee to prevent mosquito borne disease was held on February 15 at St. Anne’s Church and the next meeting is scheduled for March 15 at the same location. He explained that residents Ann O’Hagan and Jake Crandall would attend to discuss their personal experiences with contracting encephalitis. He noted that he plans to schedule an educational event during the latter part of April to provide information to residents on how to remove items from their yards that could serve as breading areas for mosquitos.
Forester Nayes stated that McLean of Metro Mosquito Control would be present at the April Council meeting to provide information on controlling mosquito breading in the City.
The Forester stated that he identified Oak wilt on the property at 27 Sunnyside Lane and the property owners advised they would remove the trees.
Forester Nayes stated he attended a Gardening for Pollinators seminar at the new U of M Bee Lab on February 23 and that the Bee Lab personnel also help with native bee introduction in Musser Park.
Mayor Williams commented that the bees introduced in Musser Park are not aggressive bees that sting.
Forester Nayes agreed and explained that they are solitary bees that are pollinators.
The Forester advised that while checking the Sunfish Lake outlet he found evidence of Emerald Ash Borer in the City. He stated he would advise the property owner of his findings. He commented that the disease was also found in Mendota Heights and, therefore, it was only a matter of time before it reached Sunfish Lake.
Council thanked the Forester for his report.
d. PUBLIC SAFETY: Chief Shaver reviewed his report dated March 3, 2017 and reviewed the summary of calls for service. He noted that there were no false alarm calls this month.
Council thanked the Chief for his report.
8. NEW/OTHER BUSINESS: a. Consider Appointments to Citizen Assisted Monitoring Program (CAMP) for Sunfish, Horseshoe and Hornbeam Lakes : Clerk Iago explained that the City annually appoints citizens to assist with monitoring the three (3) lakes in the City and that resident Jim Stowell had agreed to continue monitoring Sunfish Lake. She advised that Forester Nayes agreed to monitor Horseshoe Lake. She stated that in the past Scott Spaeth had volunteer to monitor Hornbeam Lake and suggested that the City Engineer contact Mr. Spaeth to determine if he was willing to do the lake monitoring.
Engineer Sterna stated he would contact Mr. Spaeth.
The Clerk stated she would place this item on the April agenda for action.
b. Consider Resolution of the City of Sunfish Lake, Minnesota Granting Comcast of St. Paul, Inc. a Franchise Extension to December 31, 2017: Clerk Iago explained that Jodie Miller, Executive Director of NDC4, had sent correspondence to the Dakota County Cities to request they extend the Comcast Cable Franchise agreement to December 31, 2017. She stated that Jodie Miller was present this evening to discuss this matter.
Jodie Miller explained that the extension would allow time for NDC4 to continue to negotiate the terms of the franchise agreement with Comcast and also allow time to assist I-Net Users to gather information on various connectivity options to continue use of critical fiber connections to public buildings. She pointed out that the first extension adopted by Council was caused by a pending merger with time Warner/Charter which was not approved and the second extension was due to the Century Link request for a franchise. She commented that it may be beneficial to Dakota County cities to extend the agreement a bit longer to allow NDC4 to continue negotiations.
Mayor Williams asked if there were any questions or comments and there was no response.
Councilmember O’Leary moved to adopt Resolution No. 17-07 titled, RESOLUTION OF THE CITY OF SUNFISH LAKE, MINNESOTA GRANTING COMCAST OF ST PAUL, INC., A FRANCHISE EXTENSION TO DECEMBER 31, 2017, seconded by Councilmember Bulach and carried. (4-0)
c. Discuss Efforts at the Legislature to Limit Local Control: Mayor Williams stated that he sent correspondence to State Representative Regina Barr on behalf of the Council to express opposition to the proposed bill, House File 739 that was introduced by State Representative Joe Hoppe of Chaska. He explained that the bill as currently written encroaches on traditional city control over its right of ways and other public lands and was apparently introduced at the request of certain wireless carriers to allow these organization to place equipment on any property in which a local government unit has an interest. He noted this legislation prohibits cities from negotiating zoning, rates, and permit timelines and eliminates the cities options to recover the cost of maintaining public assets which the proponents of the bill want to obtain for free. He also noted that if the legislation is passed, if would in effect make the industry “free riders’ and force the residents of every city in the state to make involuntary capital contributions for the benefit of the for-profit companies proposing the legislation. He advised that every city in Dakota County opposes the bill as it will not benefit residents, business or taxpayers and may provide unmanaged and uncoordinated installations of equipment that may not meet safety, aesthetic or technical needs of the community at-large. He further stated that he sent copies of his letter to all State Representatives and Senators.
The Mayor commented that these organizations should be required to pay their way for placing equipment on public lands. He further noted that towers to support the equipment could be placed along public roads or on public buildings and the City would have no authority to prohibit the installation or charge any fees.
Jodie Miller, Executive Director of NDC4, stated that she had also sent correspondence to Representative Barr on behalf of the NDC4 cities in Dakota County. She noted that the bill allows for the equipment not only to be placed on right-of-ways, but also on City owned utility poles. She stated that the bill was passed by the Commerce Committee, with Representative Barr voting in favor of the bill. She explained that Representative Barr explained to her that the proposed bill was a “work In progress” and that the organizations would continue to work with cities on the legislation. She explained that the Senate Committee would review the bill this week and she encouraged Council to continue to send letters of opposition to State legislators. She commented that it appears the bill may be due to the companies wishing to provide faster service due to the Super Bowl being hosted in Minneapolis next year.
Councilmember Wahlstrom suggested that information should be placed on the City website to encourage residents to contact State legislators to oppose the bills.
Councilmember O’Leary advised that he also responded to the emails and offered congratulations to Mayor Williams for the excellent responses he sent to State legislators. He stated he appreciates the work Mayor Williams has done relating to this issue. He commented that after reviewing the bill he was of the opinion it may be unconstitutional. He suggested that Sunfish Lake also work with the League of Minnesota Cities to support their efforts to oppose the legislation on behalf of all Minnesota cities.
Council thanked Jodie Miller for providing information on this matter.
d. Other: Mayor Williams asked if there was any further business and there was no response.
9. ADJOURN: Mayor Williams adjourned the meeting at 7:55 p.m.
Catherine Iago, City Clerk Richard A. Williams, Jr., Mayor