January 21, 2020 Council Work Session Minutes

JANUARY 21, 2020 – 6:00 PM

CALL TO ORDER - The work session was called to order by Mayor Rockvam at 6:05 p.m.

Council Members Present: Jerome P. Rockvam, Mayor; Pamela Horton; and Gary Hughes

Council Members Absent: Mark Chase

Others Present: Jeff Hoffman, Planning Commission Chair; and Michael Mason, Planning Commissioner

Staff Present: Dan Tolsma, City Administrator; Al Brixius, City Planner; Mary Tietjen, City Attorney; and Theresa Schyma, City Clerk

a. Exhibit A: Long-Term Rental Ordinance
b. Exhibit B: Short-Term Rental Ordinance
c. Exhibit C: International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) Ordinance
d. Exhibit D: Tiered Property Rating System

City Planner Brixius presented a summary of the proposed long-term and short-term rental licensing ordinances as well as the IPMC that were recommended by the Planning Commission. He also provided an overview of the entire process including questions asked and points raised at the three public hearings that occurred for the proposed ordinances.

Mayor Rockvam asked why representatives of the Orono Police Department were not called to testify during the public hearing portion of the process. He stated that he has spoken with the Orono Police Department and he says they have only received a few calls over the past few years regarding issues at short-term rental houses.

City Planner Brixius responded that party houses were not the only issue with short-term rentals; parking has also been identified as an issue.

Mayor Rockvam agreed that parking is an issue but he stated that it doesn’t appear to be a police problem and he just wants to find out both sides of the issue.

City Planner Brixius responded that the ordinance does protect the City from worst case scenarios.

Mayor Rockvam asked who would be paying for the inspection program.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that the chart provided in the presentation shows the actual cost of inspections and how it could impact tenants per unit. Keep in mind that this chart only shows the cost of the licensing process; the City is unable to know what costs could arise from landlords needing to make repairs that are necessary and the landlord might need to adjust their rental fees accordingly. However, critical repairs should be made anyway.

Mayor Rockvam asked about the criteria for inspections.

City Planner Brixius showed a draft checklist for inspections.

City Planner Brixius stated that tonight’s presentation was to give the Council a general overview of the proposed ordinances, this issue will come back to later work sessions to get into more detail.

Council Member Hughes responded that he wanted to give some feedback and direction tonight; he stated that he is not in favor of short-term rentals in the City.

City Planner Brixius stated that the question of whether or not to allow short-term rentals in the City was the first question he asked when this process began.

City Administrator Tolsma added that the Planning Commission did a good job of writing an ordinance for short-term rental properties if the City Council decides they want to allow them but the ultimate decision regarding short-term rental properties is left to the City Council.

Mayor Rockvam asked about what would happen if someone wants to have a bed and breakfast.

City Attorney Tietjen responded that there is a legal distinction between a short-term rental and a bed and breakfast.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that this issue will stay at the work session level until the Council is ready for a decision. He recommended having individual work sessions to discuss short-term and long-term rental properties separately.


City Administrator Tolsma discussed upcoming City Council meetings and asked the Council for direction as to which meetings they would like to reschedule and/or cancel.

The Council consensus was to cancel all City Council meetings in February and to reschedule the March 2 City Council regular meeting to March 9, 2020 at 7 p.m.

Council Member Hughes stated that the City Council could schedule an emergency meeting if there was an urgent issue that needed to be discussed in February.

City Administrator Tolsma discussed the current City Council liaison appointments and asked the Council for their preferences of committees.

Council Member Horton stated she is no longer on the Lake Minnetonka Cable Commission (LMCC) and that she would like to be the alternate weed inspector.

City Administrator Tolsma added that Council Member Chase said he has an interest in the Police Commission and LMCC.

City Administrator Tolsma also discussed the proposed ordinance for allowing a Planning Commissioner to serve concurrently on the City Council. If that ordinance passes, the liaison appointment for the Planning Commission could be eliminated if the Council chooses to appoint a current Planning Commissioner or if a current Planning Commissioner were to be elected to the City Council.

3. ADJOURN – The work session was adjourned by unanimous consent at 7:03 p.m.

Date Approved: March 9, 2020

Dan Tolsma, City Administrator

Theresa Schyma, City Clerk