10/3/2012 11:05:00 AM Lanesboro council approves vacating portion of Beacon Street
By Dr. Jan Meyer
The Lanesboro City Council held a public hearing on Monday evening, Oct. 1, prior to its regularly-scheduled meeting. This was a time when "any members from the public can speak in regards to the petition by Rick and Cheryl Lamon for the vacation of a portion of Beacon Street."
Cheryl Lamon had appeared before the council at its September meeting with the request, the result of which would enable the Lamons to move a duplex from property they own in LeRoy to the Lanesboro site, which they also own.
Several neighbors spoke at the public meeting to clarify some issues including purpose and placement of the building. Because the area is zoned commercial, it can't be used for single-family residential housing, and Rick Lamon assured that its use will be rental, and could be either long- or short-term. He added that the size of the duplex is 28' x 48'; the two units are on the same floor and there will be storage and walk-out from the basement.
Lamon indicated that every effort will be made to ensure the external image of the building fits in as well as possible with the Historical District, because in future expansions of that district it is possible this building will be included.
Several Council members also had questions. Council member Tom Dybing asked City Streets Supervisor Andy Drake how it would affect snow removal. Drake said that he thinks "it will work" but he will check it out once the stakes showing proposed location for the building are in the final place.
City Attorney Tom Manion explained that one requirement for a vacation of property is that doing so would fit the public interest, such as economic or planned development. He said another concern would be if the project "happens as proposed," and if not, would it revert back to the City. After discussion, council member Ceil Allen summarized that it would appear to be a low risk if a clause were added that if it did not proceed as planned within a year from the vacating, it would revert back to the City.
After closing the public hearing, the council convened and quickly approved the vacation, with the restriction that, if not developed within one year of approval, ownership will return to the City, and also the addition of an easement for snow removal purposes.
Allen reported from the Library Board that representatives from the library will attend the next council meeting to give a report on its activities. She also said there will be a visiting author event at the library on Oct. 24.
Council member Joe O'Connor, speaking for Public Utilities Commission, said the commission had rescheduled its meeting for next Monday. In response to a question, he reported that the newly-installed water meters are working out well, and "some glitches" were still being worked out.
Julie Charlebois represented the Chamber of Commerce and reported that it was getting a team together to look over the city right-of-way ordinance in the downtown area and make suggestions for changes. The ordinance is intended to keep the sidewalks safe and not impeding foot traffic. The topic will appear on the November Council's meeting agenda to discuss changes.
She also said the chamber would like an update on the study of downtown traffic which was done in June. Mayor Steve Rahn responded that he would be discussing this again with Police Chief Matt Schultz.
City Administrator Bobbi Vickerman has discussed with MnDOT some problems such as speeding trucks. She said the speed limit is almost never lowered to less than 30 mph, and she is exploring options, one of which might be a stop sign to deter speeding.
Storm sewer issue revisited
The question of replacing or repairing the storm sewer line under the Riverside on the Root property was again discussed.
At last month's meeting, the possibility of it being an assessable item was considered. Manion stated at this meeting that "it would be hard to assess the property owner for any cost since the owner was not adding any water to it."
Riverside co-owner Mike Charlebois expressed concern for timing due to the spring melt, pointing out that if not done this fall, spring runoff could contribute to the problem. The council approved a feasibility study to be reviewed at its November meeting.
According to Vickerman, the council approved a mock accident to be staged at the Lanesboro Public Schools at a date to be announced. Also granted was a request by the Sons of Norway to be fiscal agent for an upcoming historical grant application. Also, the Ambulance Department has been awarded a $1,000 grant from AgStar to be used for radios.
The City was awarded a $300,000 grant from the Minnesota Historical Society to be used for the dam repair. The DNR has also indicated that it will match 50 percent, or $900,000 of the money raised. Vickerman indicated that means that $1.2 million has been secured out of the total $1.8 million needed.
Changes to the river/glass ordinance were reviewed, and it will be sent back to outfitters and other businesses for comments and on the agenda again for the November meeting.