SUNFISH LAKE CITY COUNCIL MEETING – JUNE 7, 2022

7:00 P.M. – ONLINE MEETING

Attendants:


Mayor:  Dan O’Leary

Councilmembers:  Mike Hovey, Steven Bulach, and Ginny Beckett

City Attorney:  Tim Kuntz

City Planner: Lori Johnson

City Engineer:  Jeff Sandberg

City Treasurer:  Ann Lanoue

Building Inspector: Mike Andrejka
City Forester: Jim Nayes
Police Chief:  Brian Sturgeon

City Clerk:  Cathy Iago

     and Members of the General Public.

Councilmember Shari Hansen was absent.

1.   CALL TO ORDER:  Mayor O’Leary called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.  

2.  APPROVE AGENDA:  Mayor O’Leary asked if there were any additions or corrections to the agenda and there was no response.  

Councilmember Hovey moved to adopt the agenda as amended, seconded by Mayor O’Leary and carried. (4-0)

3.  CONSENT AGENDA:  Mayor O’Leary asked if there were any questions or comments relating to any items on the Consent Agenda.

Mayor O’Leary noted the False Alarms were higher than this time last year. He asked the Police Chief if the reports of “suspicious activities” that noted people were walking around on properties either canvassing or stalking, were related or separate incidents.   

Chief Sturgeon explained that the reports were of separate incidents, most were related to solicitors seeking clients after the recent storm.  He stated that he spoke to the City Engineer regarding placing signage on both ends of Salem Church Road and Charlton Road prohibiting solicitation.  He noted that the City Engineer created a sign that could be placed on existing sign poles on the streets at a minimal cost.

Engineer Sandberg stated that he would seek quotes for purchasing “street” grade signage to be installed on existing signs within the city that prohibits solicitors.

Mayor O’Leary expressed his support for the signage and asked that the Engineer seek cost information to present at a future meeting. He thanked the police department for all the extra patrols.

Councilmember Hovey asked if the signs would be placed on the weight limit sign posts and if so, would the weight limit signs be replaced.

Engineer Sandberg stated that the weight limit signs would not be used for the solicitation signs. He explained that there are other signs, such as the “No Parking” signs along Charlton and Salem Church Road that would accommodate these signs. He commented that he would work on the design and then seek quotes for Council to consider at the July meeting.

Mayor O’Leary thanked Jim Nayes for all his work on the Arbor Day celebration and also thanked all those who were present for the planting of the Tulip tree in memory of former Councilmember JoAnne Wahlstrom. 

The Mayor asked if there were any further comments or questions and there was no response.        

Councilmember Beckett moved approval of the Consent Agenda as presented, seconded by Councilmember Bulach and carried. (4-0)

a.   Regular Council Meeting Minutes of May 3, 2022

b.   List of Bills

c.   Monthly Financial Statements

d.   Receive Building Inspector Report

e.   Receive Forester Report

f.    Receive Public Safety Report

 

4.  COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC:  The Mayor asked if there were any comments from the public and there was no response.

5.  PRESENTATIONS:  a.  Dakota County Regional Visioning Plan Update, Erin Laberee, Dakota County Engineer and JoNette Kuhnau, Kimley-Horn Consultant:   Engineer Sandberg introduced Dakota County Engineer Erin Laberee and JoNette Kuhnau, Consultant with Kimley-Horn, who were present to provide an update on the Dakota County Regional Roadway System Plan. He explained that the original plan was developed in 2010 and that Dakota County had conducted an open house last week to receive questions and comments from the pubic on the plan updates.

Dakota County Engineer Erin Laberee referred to the PowerPoint presentation and explained that Dakota County would be meeting with the cities involved in the study, Eagan, Mendota Heights, Inver Grove Heights and Sunfish Lake to review the update and receive input.  She stated that the study area included Northeast Eagan, Northwest Inver Grove Heights, Mendota Heights and Sunfish Lake, including borders by Highway 62, Highway 35E, T.H. 3 and Diffley Road.  She advised that JoNette Kuhnau would review the updates to the study.

JoNette Kuhnau, Kimberly-Horn Consultant, stated that the study was to identify transportation needs based on traffic capacity, traffic safety, roadway network/connectivity and environmental and property impacts. She explained that since the 2010 study, development has occurred with less intensity than originally forecast.

Mayor O’Leary asked if this was due to COVID.

Ms. Kuhnau stated this was not related to COVID.  She noted that since 2010, development in Inver Grove Heights and Eagan occurred with less intensity than forecast, including less intense retail development. 

Mayor O’Leary questioned if there was an analysis as to why less development occurred.

Ms. Kuhnau stated that those questions were not part of the study project, but that development is generally driven by market demand. She noted that the traffic capacity for Eagan and Inver Grove Heights were lower than forecasted for 2040.  She also noted that traffic conditions were evaluated and it was found that no roadway segments in the study area had a crash rate above the critical crash rate.

Councilmember Hovey asked if the roadway changes would decrease since the forecasts were not as high as predicted.  He questioned why no changes were made to the plan if the area is not growing as fast as anticipated.

Ms. Kuhnau explained that the growth rate appears to be lower than anticipated but it is still greater than today.

Mayor O’Leary asked why it didn’t change the analysis.

Ms. Kuhnau explained that the analysis had changed and was scaled back from the original study. She referred to the roadway network/connectivity information and described the areas that would be impacted by growth. She stated that Dodd Road and Delaware between Hwy. 62 and I-494 would need improvements.  She advised that roadway expansion would have environmental impacts and those were also included in the study.

Mayor O’Leary explained that Sunfish Lake residents have a difficult time trying to access T.H. 3 from Salem Church Road. He questioned if a signal could be installed at that intersection since it may not be possible to widen the roadway.

Ms. Kuhnau stated that T.H. 3 has been identified for “spot” improvements but not any additional through lanes. She indicated that this could mean additional turn lanes, signalization, or having round-abouts installed.

Mayor O’Leary noted that the state changed the speed limit on T.H. 3, which made it more difficult to access the roadway. He asked if Dakota County would take these concerns into consideration as part of the study.

Erin Laberee explained that T.H. 3 is owned by MnDOT and that Dakota County has no authority to install signals or change the speed limit.  She further explained that there is a study planned for the area of I-494 and T.H. 3 which would include where turn lanes, signals or round-abouts may be needed.  She commented that she could mention the concerns raised this evening to MnDOT.

Mayor O’Leary noted that there was an Open House to review the study on June 1 and he asked if the County could talk to the State to ensure that Sunfish Lake residents are notified in advance of the public meetings.

Engineer Sandberg explained that the Open House meeting that was scheduled on May 15 was postponed and he did not notify Council of the June meeting due to the fact that the regular Council meeting was not until after the rescheduled meeting date. He stated that he did would work with Councilmember Hovey to place the meeting notice on the City website.

Councilmember Beckett stated that she attended the Open House meeting and she talked about the increased speed limit on South Robert Street.  She noted that it is frightening to get mail from her mailbox that is adjacent to Robert Street because of the speeding traffic. 

Mayor O’Leary stated that it would still be preferrable to have sufficient notice from Dakota County when public meetings are scheduled.

Engineer Sandberg stated that he would contact MnDOT to ask that notices be sent in a timely manner for future public meetings.

JoNette Kuhnau stated that all the materials discussed this evening and input from those attending the Public Open House meeting are on the Dakota County website. She stated that Dakota County would be taking comments from the public through June 24 and residents are encouraged to visit the site and leave comments. 

Mayor O’Leary asked Engineer Sandberg to send the link for the Dakota County website to Council and Engineer Sandberg responded he would do so.

Ms. Kuhnau reviewed the type of roadway improvements that are being considered and explained that the focus corridors are T.H. 3 (Robert Trail), T.H. 149 (Dodd Road/Jefferson Rail), T.H. 55, CR 26 (Lone Oak Road/70th Street), CR 28 (Yankee Doddle Road/80th Street) and CCR 63 (Argenta Trail/Delaware Avenue).  She noted that Delaware Avenue and Dodd Road north of I-494 are not being considered for roadway expansion.

Ms. Kuhnau stated that there are 15 draft recommendations which include a new interchange at Argenta/I-494 and the proposed interchange would be located east of Delaware Avenue (CR 63) and does not connect north of I-494.  She noted that this would address transportation needs of a full development build-out.

Councilmember Hovey explained that there are residents whose driveways are on Delaware Avenue and there are some very difficult sightlines onto the roadway.

Ms. Kuhnau explained that the proposed interchange should reduce or maintain traffic as it is today and not increase traffic on Delaware.  She also noted that the update had scaled back recommendations for T.H. 3 as it was previously recommended that it be expanded to 4-lanes. She noted the update recommends that T.H. 3 remain a two-lane road, with some minor intersection changes such as turn-lanes or signals. She commented that the previous study suggested six (6) lanes would be needed on Argenta, however, the updated plan recommends 4-lanes when the interchange is constructed.  She advised that 70th Street in Inver Grove Heights was originally recommended for a 4-lane road and that has now been reduced to 3-lanes with a median or turn lane added. 

Ms. Kuhnau advised that the updated study found the need for intersection improvements on Highway 62, Highway 149, Dodd Road and Delaware Avenue.

Mayor O’Leary asked how it would be possible to find out how many Sunfish Lake residents use ingress and egress onto Delaware Avenue. He stated it would be helpful to know what percentage of residents use Robert Street vs Delaware Avenue. 

Erin Laberee explained that there are several methods for counting the number of cars that access Delaware Avenue, however this study did not have that level of detail.

Mayor O’Leary asked if the City could make a formal request to MnDOT or Dakota County to get that information.

Ms. Laberre stated that a formal request could be made to both entities to request a formal study be undertaken.

Ms. Kuhnau stated that the improvement time would be driven by development and the rate of traffic growth. She noted that the plan would require the four (4) cities’ participation. She noted that changes in interstate access require significant analysis. She advised that comments would be taken from the public through June 24, 2022. She explained that the group would then work to finalize recommendations and adopt the final plan updates in late summer or fall of this year. 

Councilmember Beckett noted that there are two (2) projects currently under construction on Argenta and T.H. 26 and asked when those would be completed.

Erin Laberre stated that she was not sure, but she indicated that those projects would most likely continue through 2023. She recommended that Councilmember Beckett check the Dakota County website under the Argenta and Lone Oak Road improvement projects.

Mayor O’Leary asked Engineer Sandberg to compose a letter to Dakota County that outlines Sunfish Lake’s concerns discussed this evening. He noted that the letter should include a formal request for a traffic study relating to accessing Delaware Avenue vs Robert Street and listing safety concerns regarding traffic speed on South Robert Trail.  He noted that it recently took him 9 minutes to access South Robert Trail from Salem Church Road.

Engineer Sandberg explained that he would include the concerns expressed this evening, however, the types of traffic studies discussed are beyond the scope of this study. He commented that this study reviews regional traffic flow issues but it is not reviewing the specific access issues for residential streets.

Mayor O’Leary suggested that the Engineer send a request to MnDOT outlining only the Sunfish Lake traffic concerns that were discussed this evening.

The Mayor thanked Engineer Laberee and Consultant JoNette Kuhnau for their presentation. He stated that Sunfish Lake would appreciate them keeping in mind the safety issues and other concerns expressed this evening when drafting the final recommendations.

Engineer Erin Laberee thanked Council for their time and stated that all their concerns were noted.  She reminded everyone present that all information could be reviewed on the Dakota County website and that comments could be left on the website relating to the study.

6.  PLANNER’S REPORT:  a. Planner’s Report:  Planner Johnson explained that there was no Planning Commission meeting in May due to lack of applications.  She reviewed the following information listed in her report dated June 7, 2022:

  1. 300 Salem Church Road: No updates on this unpaid escrow amount of $2,709.35.
  2. June 16 Planning Commission meeting: An application for a Major Site Plan review and a Conditional Use Permit for 15 Sunnyside Lane will be reviewed at the June meeting. The applicant proposes to construct a new home with a pool and walkway to the lake. There are some drainage concerns on this site and the Mayor, City Engineer, City Forester and Planner met with the property owner, applicant and contractors on site to discuss the proposed drainage system. Based on the meeting and some additional adjustments on the plan, staff is comfortable moving forward with the application at the June planning meeting. An onsite meeting for Commissioners, Council, neighbors and others is scheduled at 5:15 p.m. on June 16.
  3. Zoning Ordinance Update: The Planner will work with the Mayor over the next few months on the Zoning Ordinance update.
  4. 345 Salem Church Road: The future property owner has inquired about altering the nonconforming structure on this site by adding a second floor to the structure or demolishing the building. Council may have received messages from the property owner regarding his plans. No formal application has been submitted at this time.
  5. 410 Salem Church Road: Tim and Kristal Barber submitted a site plan for preliminary review for the addition of an indoor sport court and an attached garage on their property. After review, staff determined that the previous planner interpreted the definition of a side yard incorrectly and the Barber’s proposed addition did not meet the side yard setbacks. The Barber’s home appears to be nonconforming with the current ordinance. The Planner and City Attorney reviewed various options in the ordinance that would provide the property owner with an option for expanding a nonconforming structure. 

    Mayor O’Leary explained that the City Attorney’s legal assistant received a deed for the property with a recorded easement and this was discussed with the Barbers and the adjacent property owner.  He suggested a meeting be scheduled with the Planner, City Attorney and the Mayor to further discuss this matter in an attempt to resolve the issues.
  6. 2184 Charlton Road: The MacDonalds and their architect submitted a variance application to allow for the addition of a third garage stall to their existing garage. This lot and all buildings on the lot are nonconforming since they were constructed prior to current ordinance requirements. The property owners are trying to increase the livability of their nonconforming structure and the ordinance does allow for this addition to increase livability of a nonconforming structure.  The property owners were asked to revise their request to include a Minor Site Plan review and to submit all site development plans that were not included in the first submittal.  The request may exceed the percentage of building coverage allowed on the lot and may need a variance.  This request maybe reviewed by the Planning Commission at their July meeting if the proper materials are submitted in time.

The Planner advised that she and the City Engineer conducted an on-site visit to the property located at 2150 Charlton Road. She stated the Engineer would review this item in his report.

Council thanked the Planner for her report.

7.  ENGINEER’S REPORT:  1. Engineering Activities Undertaken in May:     A.  Meetings Attended:  Staff attended a meeting for the Dakota County Regional Roadway System Visioning Study.

B.  Dakota County Regional Roadway System Visioning Study – Open House:  An Open House was held on June 1 from 5-7 p.m. at the Veteran’s Memorial Community Center in Inver Grove Heights.  Staff from Dakota County and from the Kimberly-Horn Consultants were present this evening to review the updated study plan.  Staff will send a link to the Dakota County website for Council to review the information and submit comments prior to the June 24 deadline.

C.  2022 Street Maintenance Project:  Contracts have been signed and the work most likely will begin in later this summer.  Staff will attend pre-construction meetings.  Staff will send notification to affected property owners with the project schedule and contact information. 

D.  No Solicitation Signage:  Per the request of Chief Sturgeon, staff researched potential signage for unpermitted solicitors.  Staff will bring a mock-up concept street sign for Council to consider at their July meeting.

2.  Building and Site review in the Month of May:  A. Staff conducted reviews for the following properties in May: 

-  15 Sunnyside Lane:  Staff participated in an on-site meeting with the property owner, contractor, engineer, Mayor O’Leary and Councilmember Bulach.  Staff reviewed two submittals in May and provided comments for this application that would be heard by the Planning Commission in June.

- 2150 Charlton Road:  Staff met on-site with the property contractor and city staff and found no erosion controls in place at that time.  Staff worked with those present to get the erosion controls installed prior to the start of construction.

3.    Public Works Activities Undertaken in the Month of May:  A.  Staff worked with the snowplow contractor to perform the annual spring street sweeping.  This work is included in the contract for snow plowing at no additional cost to the City.

B.  Staff worked with a contractor to clean a catch-basin sump on Charlton Road as part of an annual maintenance obligation outlined in an easement agreement between the City and an affected property owner.

C.  Staff is working with a contractor to replace/repair various street signs in the City.

D.  Staff is working with Xcel Energy to repair damage to the shoulder on Salem Church Road that was caused by their utility contractor extending a new gas service to a new residence.  Engineer Sandberg thanked Forester Nayes for reporting this damage to staff.

4.   Anticipated Engineering and Public Works Activities for June:   A. Staff will continue to work with the sign contractor to replace and repair street signs in the City.

Council thanked the Engineer for his report.

8.  NEW/OTHER BUSINESS:  a. Other:  Mayor O’Leary asked if there was any further business.

Councilmember Beckett explained she received a phone call from a resident who advised that the City website states that in-person meetings would begin as of January 2021. She also asked if the Meeting ID number is placed on the website for the Zoom Council meetings.


Councilmember Hovey explained that the meeting ID number is listed on the Council agenda and that the agenda is placed on the website.

Engineer Sandberg showed the website which stated that the City Council meetings would be moved to the new church location in January 2021, but it does not state the meetings would be “virtual”.

Councilmember Hovey stated he would go to the “Agenda” tab on the website and remove the notice stating that meetings would be moved to First Calvary Church as of January 2021. He also advised he would post a notice that meetings are not being held “in-person” at this time.

Mayor O’Leary asked if there was any further business and there was no response.


9.  ADJOURN:   Mayor O’Leary adjourned the meeting at 8:05 p.m.


____________________________                              ________________________________

Catherine Iago, City Clerk                                             Dan O’Leary, Mayor

We are a small community proud of our heritage and committed to the preservation of our pristine, rural character. We cherish our privacy, yet know we are part of a thriving Dakota County and the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area. With these partnerships in mind, we strive to preserve that unique spirit which is Sunfish Lake, Minnesota.