- DRAFT –
SUNFISH LAKE CITY COUNCIL MEETING – OCTOBER 3, 2017
7:00 P.M. - ST. ANNE’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Mayor: Richard Williams
Councilmembers: Mike Hovey, JoAnne Wahlstrom, Steven Bulach and Daniel O’Leary
City Attorney: Tim Kuntz
City Planner: Ryan Grittman
Engineer: Don Sterna
Building Inspector: Mike Andrejka
City Forester: Jim Nayes
City Clerk: Cathy Iago
and Members of the General Public.
City Treasurer Ann Lanoue and Police Chief Manila Shaver were 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.
Councilmember Wahlstrom moved to adopt the agenda, seconded by Councilmember Hovey.
Attorney Kuntz requested an addition to the agenda under Item 8.d. Other; Resolution Approving the Statement of Minnesota BCA Criminal Justice Data Network Master Joint Powers Agreement and Court Services Subscriber Amendment with Sunfish Lake on Behalf of Prosecuting Attorney.
The Mayor asked if there were any further additions and there was no response.
Councilmember Hovey moved to adopt the agenda as amended, seconded by Councilmember O’Leary and carried. (5-0)
3. CONSENT AGENDA: Mayor Williams asked if there were any corrections or comments relating to the September 5, 2017 Council minutes or other items on the Consent Agenda
Councilmember Bulach moved approval of Item 3.a. Regular Council Meeting Minutes of September 5, 2017 as presented, seconded by Councilmember Wahlstrom and carried. (5-0)
Mayor Williams asked if there were any questions relating to Items 3.b. List of Bills or 3.c. Monthly Financials. He stated that Treasurer Lanoue was on vacation but that he would attempt to respond to any questions.
There was no response.
Councilmember Bulach moved to approve the List of Bills and Monthly Financials as presented, seconded by Councilmember O’Leary and carried. (5-0)
4. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC: The Mayor asked if there were any comments from the public.
Dr. Sena Kihtir, 331 Salem Church Road, stated she had sent an email to the Council, City Attorney and City Clerk earlier today and she distributed copies of the letter that was attached to the email. She explained that she recently became aware of the fact that Council passed an ordinance delineating where and when trash cans could be placed on residential properties and when they must be stored from view.
Dr. Kihtir stated that in her opinion it appears that the ordinance was clearly directed at her and that her neighbors had not accurately informed Council of the details relating to the hardships of her property and the placement of the trash cans. She stated that her driveway is 165 yards long and is sloped with an incline both ways. She noted that the recycling and trash containers are quite heavy and that she had fallen twice due to slippery weather conditions. She further advised that she placed the containers on her own driveway, not the shared driveway portion, and that in her opinion the trash cans could not easily been seen from the adjacent properties.
Dr. Kihtir explained that she did not realize the placement of the trash cans was a problem for the neighbors until she found her cans were moved further onto her property without her consent, which is trespassing, and that an anonymous letter was taped to the trash can so that she was unable to open it. She advised that there was no neighborly discussion of the problem as indicated in the Council minutes when the ordinance was reviewed. She commented that she had introduced herself to her neighbors when she first moved to the area and that they could have called to discuss the matter with her. She advised that when the neighbor finally called her she explained that she was not doing anything against the rules by leaving the trash cans on her property. She pointed out that this neighbor would have to look behind him when exiting his driveway to see the trash cans on her property.
Dr. Kihtir stated that she was concerned that she would injure herself by moving the cans back and forth up the steep driveway and that to the best of her knowledge they were not stored on the shared portion of the driveway.
Councilmember O’Leary explained that the time to present this information would have been prior to the passage of the ordinance. He advised that the photos presented during the consideration of the ordinance clearly showed the trash cans were visible on the shared driveway and commented that if she had not placed them at that location they could have been moved. He advised that Council considered the fact that if all residents left their trash containers at the end of their driveways it would not be in keeping with the character of Sunfish Lake. He asked if there was an area with shrubs or tree cover approximately 50 or 25 yards from the shared driveway where the trash cans could be placed and not seen from the neighboring properties.
Dr. Kihtir stated she does not have an area near the end of her driveway that would meet that criteria. She explained that she was unable to attend the meeting when this matter was discussed, however, she noted that many of the facts presented by the neighbor were not accurate. She further advised that there were at least two occasions where the neighbor had trespassed on her property which she considered as bullying and harassment.
Mayor Williams stated he does not agree with bullying or harassment of a neighbor, however, he explained that he made some changes to the initial ordinance request to insure that it would be appropriate and fair to all residents. He pointed out that Council is not in the position to keep re-writing ordinances to fit specific incidents. He questioned if it would be possible to place the trash containers in an area on her property where they would not be visible from the neighboring sightlines.
Dr. Kihtir stated she was not aware of any area that would provide this type of cover.
Councilmember Wahlstrom explained that she relates to the problems of carrying trash to the end of the driveway as she also has a long driveway. She commented that she attaches “cleats” to her boots during the winter months to prevent falling on the icy driveway. She asked if it would be possible to place a building or structure near the end of the driveway to store the trash cans from the neighbors view.
Planner Grittman explained that an application for an accessory structure could be submitted and that it would be considered as a Minor Site Plan review that would be approved by staff. He indicated that the placement of the structure must meet setback regulations, otherwise a variance may be necessary.
Council concurred that they would most likely support an enclosure for the trash receptacles.
Councilmember O’Leary recommended that Dr. Kihtir work with the Planner to discuss the application and to determine an appropriate location for the structure.
Dr. Kihtir thanked Council for their time.
Rich Steinfield asked who would be responsible for communicating this information to the neighbors.
Councilmember Hovey explained that once the application is submitted the Planner usually notifies affected property owners.
Councilmember O’Leary also noted that the minutes of this meeting would be available for residents to review on the City website.
Councilmember Bulach questioned if Council should limit the size of the trash enclosure and pointed out that some residents may have more than two (2) trash receptacles.
Planner Grittman explained the application would be for an accessory structure, not specifically for trash cans. He stated the structure would not be designated for only storage of trash containers. He explained that if the property owner already has one accessory structure, they would have to make application for a Conditional Use Permit to place another structure on the property.
The Mayor asked if there was any further discussion and there was no response.
5. PUBLIC HEARING/PRESENTATIONS: None.
6. PLANNING COMMISSION/PLANNER’S REPORT: a. Report on Comprehensive Plan Open House of September 20, 2017: Planner Grittman referred to his report dated September 28, 2017 and explained that the City held an Open House on September 20 to discuss the proposed Comprehensive Plan update. He explained that those present discussed the following items for possible inclusion into the plan update;
Community Trail through the City: The Planner explained that residents expressed interest in a trail that could possibly utilize roads and possibly run along easements on private properties to move through the City.
Sound Barrier Wall Along I-494: Planner Grittman stated that residents recommended the City support installation of a sound barrier along I-494 that would be funded by MnDOT since the right-of-way is controlled by the State.
Tree Plantings Along I-494: The Planner stated that the City Forester had planted trees along I-494 in the past and residents wished to see this continue on a regular basis.
Deer Hunting: Planner Grittman advised a resident expressed interest in expanding deer hunting within the City and was advised that the City had taken steps to continue the deer management program.
The Planner stated the next step would be for the Task Force to meet and discuss inclusion of these items into the plan prior to submitting it to Council for their review and approval.
b. Planner’s Report: Planner Grittman referred to his report dated September 27, 2017 and stated that the September Planning meeting was cancelled due to lack of an application.
The Planner advised that the property owner at 55 Salem Church Road had painted the shed on his property to match the existing home as per the conditions of approval for the shed installation. Staff considers this project finalized.
Planner Grittman advised that staff is working on a zoning ordinance amendment to regulate small cell towers in the public right-of-way. He advised that recent changes to State Statutes allow small wireless tower to be constructed in the right-of-way. He explained that the Mayor requested the City Attorney review the current language in the ordinance that regulates cell towers and also to review the State Statute to determine what options the City may have regarding their installation.
The Planner advised that staff met with architects for the property owner at 245 Salem Church Road to discuss construction of a single-family home on this vacant parcel. He commented that an application may be submitted this winter.
Planner Grittman further stated that the City received two (2) complaints relating to a rooster at 315 Salem Church Road. He advised that this property was granted a permit to house chickens for a period of three years, which would not expire until the fall of 2018. He stated that he would send a letter next fall to the property owner.
Mayor Williams stated that in his opinion the complaint should be classified as a code enforcement issue since roosters are not allowed as part of the permit process. He commented that he misunderstood the Planner’s response that a letter would not be sent until next year.
In discussion, Council agreed that a letter should be sent as soon as possible to advise the property owner that roosters are not allowed as part of the chicken permit.
Councilmember Wahlstrom pointed out that this would be the second time the property owner had been advised that roosters are not allowed.
Council concurred to direct the Planner to send a letter to the property owner advised that complaints had been received that the rooster must be removed from the property.
Mayor Williams explained that he was present for the discussion of the trail through the City at the Open House and he noted that the trail might have to gain access through private property to connect throughout the City.
Councilmembers Hovey noted that in some cases the City may have easement on private parcels to connect the trails.
Councilmember O’Leary pointed out that Musser Park is a Land Trust and that any plan for a trail extension may have to be approved by them.
Forester Nayes explained that there was a trail system envisioned previously, however, when residents were asked if they were willing to give authorization for the trail through their property they said no. He noted that if the trail were installed, it would be open to the pubic and residents did not want the public walking through their property.
Mayor Williams indicated that should be a consideration prior to placing the trail into the Comp Plan update. He asked if there was any further information and the Planner responded no.
Council thanked the Planner for his report.
7. STAFF REPORTS: a. BUILDING INSPECTOR: Inspector Andrejka stated that he issued four (4) and closed thirteen (13) permits in September.
Council thanked the Inspector for his report.
b. CITY ENGINEER: Engineering Activities Undertaken in September: 1. A. Charlton Road Improvements Update: Engineer Sterna stated he received the title work from the City Attorney’s office and that the next step would be to prepare the easement documents and to obtain Council authorization to distribute them to the property owners in November. He further stated that he received the Wetland Delineation Report and obtained the Mayor’s signature prior to its submission for approval.
Councilmember O’Leary questioned if there were any problems with the Torrens properties and the Engineer stated he was unaware of any issues but would check and report back to Council.
B. 2017 Street Improvement Update: The Engineer stated he was working to finalize the project and prepare for final payment approval at the November Council meeting. He noted the assessment would be certified to the County in October.
C. TH 110 Intersection Resolution Update with MnDOT: Engineer Sterna explained that TH 110 was completed in late September with all lanes opened in both directions. He noted that MnDOT restored the emergency cross over at Sunfish Lane and will be working on the culvert extensions and guardrail removal west of Sunfish Lane and the pavement overlay on Angell Road to improve sightlines. He stated that the median height at Charlton Road remains in contention and that Fire Chief had expressed his concerns relating to this issue.
The Engineer stated that he talked with Jon Solberg at MnDOT to discuss the possibility of installing a frontage road and was advised that MnDOT was interested in studying a frontage road that would extend to the Mendota Road intersection. He explained that a frontage road could resolve the issue of U-turns at this intersection and may also assist with the proposed trail system throughout the City and it would provide a paved surface for access. He noted that residents who abut the road may have concerns with traffic and that it would be appropriate for MnDOT to hold a meeting to receive resident input. He commented that MnDOT may be willing to finance the improvement.
Mayor Williams asked if there would be an increase in traffic if backup occurs on TH 110.
Engineer Sterna discussed the placement of a proposed frontage road and indicated it may be difficult in some areas due to the adjacent wetlands. He noted there is right-of-way on Angell Road and he discussed placing a frontage road in that area with only one way in and out access. He advised he would continue to discuss this matter with MnDOT.
D. TH 110 Proposed Renaming to TH 62: Engineer Sterna explained that he was notified by MnDOT that they would be renaming TH 110 to TH 62 and that he are beginning an outreach/informational campaign next month. He stated that the purpose of the renaming is to make it less confusing for traffic and that the City does not have any control regarding the matter. He advised that MnDOT would be responsible for the outreach campaign and signage replacement costs.
2. Sunfish Lake Outlet: The Engineer advised the outlet is plugged and that he would close the outlet next month. He noted the lake level is up due to the amount of rainfall. He recommended leaving the outlet as is and conducting a review in the spring if the Charlton Road improvement proceeds; if the improvement does not proceed, he would recommend cleaning the pipe next spring.
3. Building and Site Reviews: Engineer Sterna stated he conducted three (3) site reviews and found issues on the property at 5865 South Robert Trail. He explained that the homeowner had added impervious surfaces and remove some rain gardens that were part of the conditions of approval for the new home construction. He further added and no trees were installed as required in the approval. He advised that the Certificate of Occupancy (CEO) had been issued and that he would continue to address the issues with the property owner and staff.
The Engineer explained that he asked the Building Inspector to contact him and the Planner prior to the final inspection before issuing the CEO in order to insure that all conditions of approval had been met before occupancy occurs.
Council agreed it would be wise to insure all conditions are met prior to occupancy.
4. Public Works Activities Undertaken in the Month of September: A. 2017-2018 Snow Plow Quotes: The Engineer explained that three (3) requests were sent for snow plowing and that only two (2) quotes were received. The two contractors were Professional Snow Removal Service and Executive Contractor, Inc. He advised that last year the City selected Executive Contractors, Inc. for the services and after comparing the quotes, based on a 6-hour snowfall event using 14-tons of sand, it was determined that Executive Contractors, Inc. provided the best value to the City. He also noted that there were no complaints filed regarding this vendor last year and that he would recommend Council award the bid to Executive Contractors, Inc. for the 2017-2018 season.
Councilmember O’Leary moved to award the bid to Executive Contractors, Inc.
The Engineer explained that this matter was slated for discussion later on the agenda.
Councilmember O’Leary withdrew his motion.
Anticipated Engineering Activities for October: A. Charlton Road Improvements: Engineer Sterna stated that he would meet the City Attorney to discuss Charlton Road easement preparation and the next step would be to prepare the easement documents for distribution to property owners. He advised that he anticipates this next step should be discussed and considered at the December Council meeting. He reviewed the final steps which would include a second public meeting with residents, finalizing the feasibility report and completion of the final constructions documents in preparation for the proposed project to be bid next year.
Anticipated Public Works Activities for October: A. 2017 Improvement Project: The Engineer stated he would prepare the final paper work for final payment on the project at the November Council meeting.
Councilmember Hovey pointed out that at previous meetings with MnDOT the changes to the Charlton Road access were supposed to be handicapped accessible for crossing purposes. He questioned what would happen to the water flow when the guardrail corrections are made.
Engineer Sterna explained that MnDOT should install a berm in the area and the water should be directed toward Highway 110. He stated he would contact MnDOT Engineer Molly Kline to advise her that the water should be contained within the ditching area. He commented that he would also raise the issue of the handicapped accessibility, however, in his opinion they may state that they prefer not to have pedestrian traffic cross the highway in that area. He further explained that MnDOT usually refers that type of omission to the persons who finalize the road design or state that the request may have been lost in the review process.
Shannon Werb, 2165 Charlton Road, asked if there was a final roadway configuration for Charlton Road.
Engineer Sterna stated that he should have that information available at the November meeting after finalizing the easement documents. He noted that if some easements cannot be obtained and the roadway is shifted at the south end of the road, the small “cabin” home may gain some additional distance from the road since the road would move away from the property.
Kitzie Nye, 2140 Charlton Road, questioned if emergency vehicles would be able to cross over the existing curb and if the Fire Chief would agree to crossing over the curb as it now exists. She supported the fact that MnDOT would be willing to consider a frontage road and she asked that they be encouraged to bring the frontage road all the way to Charlton Road.
Engineer Sterna explained MnDOT had discussed a frontage road from Delaware to Charlton Road in the past. He explained there is some excess right-of-way along Hwy 110 and MnDOT has funding they designate as “safety money” to be used for such studies when 25 or more residential properties are affected.
Kitzie Nye pointed out that several church visitors proceed south on Charlton Road now because they can no longer make the westerly turn onto Highway 110.
There was discussion relating to traffic issues with the installation of a frontage road connecting Delaware and Charlton Road and whether or not traffic would increase once the new Viking training facility opens.
Councilmember Hovey asked if the Engineer planned any additional grading on Charlton Road.
Engineer Sterna advised that a light grading could be done in a few weeks prior to the snowfall and that he would contact Pine Bend Paving if Council authorized the expenditure.
Councilmember O’Leary moved to authorize the expenditure for a light grading on Charlton Road prior to the winter, seconded by Councilmember Wahlstrom and carried. (5-0)
Council thanked the Engineer for his report.
c. CITY FORESTER: Forester Nayes stated that is issued one (1) burning permit in September. He stated that permits are still available, however, he suggested the permits be used in the winter when there is snow on the ground. He advised that he placed the tree tubes in Musser Park to deter the deer rub, although he saw the deer had already done some damage to the trees.
The Forester stated he met with a representative from the Musser Park Land Trust to conduct the annual review and there were no issues raised. He explained he mowed the Musser Park trail and around the young trees in Harmon Park.
Forester Nayes stated that he met with the contractor who had done some clearing of trees at 245 Salem Church Road and advised him that no live trees 6” in diameter or larger may be removed without prior approval by the Forester. He also advised that the buckthorn and honeysuckle removal may continue without permission. He commented that the lilac hedge near Musser Park was almost totally gone and sightlines along Salem Church Road are improved.
The Forester advised that he received an email from a resident whose daughter contracted Lyme disease. He stated that residents should be extremely careful and cover their bodies as much as possible since the ticks are active all year.
Council thanked the Forester for his report.
d. PUBLIC SAFETY: Mayor Williams explained that Chief Shaver was unavailable to attend the meeting and he reviewed Public Safety report dated September 28, 2017. He stated there were two (2) false police alarms and one (1) false fire alarm. He noted that there was burglary on Zehnder Road and that the burglar broke into the home and ransacked the property during daytime hours.
Council thanked the Mayor for reviewing the report.
8. NEW/OTHER BUSINESS: a. Consider Award of 2017-2018 Snow Plowing Bid: Mayor Williams referred to the Engineer’s report dated October 3, 2017 regarding the snow removal quotes for the 2017-2018 season. He noted that the Engineer had discussed this item earlier and recommended that Executive Contractors, Inc., last year’s contractor, be award the bid.
The Mayor asked if there were any questions and there was no response.
Councilmember O’Leary moved to award the 2017-2018 Snowplowing Bid to Executive Contractor’s, Inc.as outlined in their quote, seconded by Councilmember Bulach and carried. (5-0)
b. Consider Rescheduling the November 7, 2017 Regular Council Meeting Due to the District 197 School Board Election: Clerk Iago referred to her report dated September 27, 2017 and explained that Council cannot hold a public meeting until after the polls close at 8:00 p.m. on November 7, 2017. She stated that Council has the option to either reschedule the meeting to start at 8:00 p.m. on November 7 or to change the meeting date to Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.
After a brief discussion, Council concurred to change the starting time for the November 7 meeting to 8:00 p.m.
Councilmember Hovey moved to change the starting time for the November 7, 2017 regular Council Meeting from 7 to 8:00 p.m., seconded by Councilmember Wahlstrom and carried. (5-0)
c. Discuss Ordinance Amendment Relating to Small Cell Tower Legislation: Mayor Williams explained that he asked the City Attorney to review the newly passed legislation allows the placement of small cell towers on public right-of-way without paying any fees. He stated that the law appears to provide a competitive advantage to communication companies and prohibits cities from deciding appropriate locations where the cell towers may be placed within the City. He noted there also could be safety issues related to the cell tower installations.
The Mayor commented that fortunately there is not a lot of public right-of-way in the City, however, he asked that staff research what other cities may be doing to limit the location of the cell towers. He suggested that the Planner and Attorney conduct research and report back to Council at the November meeting.
Attorney Kuntz commented that the Mayor had basically summarized the legislation and explained that the driving force behind the small cell tower installation was to provide a boost in the “dead spot” areas where cell phone communications are problematic. He stated he would review the regulations to determine what would be appropriate for installation on public right-of-way and if they are allowed on private property right-of-way.
Mayor Williams commented that it appears that the company want to obtain the space for installation without any cost to install the hardware and then lease the locations for profit.
d. Other: Resolution Approving the Statement of Minnesota BCA Criminal Justice Data Network Master Joint Powers Agreement and Court Services Subscriber Amendment with Sunfish Lake on Behalf of Prosecuting Attorney. Attorney Kuntz referred to the report he distributed to Council dated October 3, 2017 and explained that the City had entered a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) that allows access to the BCA systems and tools and the e-Charging system. He advised that the agreement between the State of Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the BCA and City is renewable every five (5) years and the previous JPA was approved on November 7, 2012. He recommended that Council adopt the proposed resolution and approve the Court Data Services Subscriber Amendment to CJDN Subscriber Agreement as presented.
Councilmember O’Leary noted the expected cost appears to be between $120 and $150 per year and that there does not appear to be any language that limits the fees in the contract.
Attorney Kuntz advised that historically the fees have been steady and not created any problems.
Mayor Williams asked if there were any further comments or questions and there was no response.
Councilmember O’Leary moved to adopt Resolution No. 17-18 titled, Resolution Approving State of Minnesota Bureau of criminal Apprehension’s Criminal Justice Data Network master joint powers agreement and court services subscriber amendment with the City of sunfish lake on behalf of its prosecuting attorney and approve the Court Data Services Subscriber Amendment to CJDN Subscriber Agreement, seconded by Councilmember Hovey and carried. (5-0)
Mayor Williams asked if there was any further business and there was no response.
9. ADJOURN: Mayor Williams adjourned the meeting at 8:15 p.m.
Catherine Iago, City Clerk Richard A. Williams, Jr., Mayor