March 18, 2019 Work Session Minutes

MARCH 18, 2019 – 6:00 PM

CALL TO ORDER - The work session was called to order by Mayor Rockvam at 6:00 p.m.

Council Members Present: Jerome P. Rockvam, Mayor; Pamela Horton; Gary Hughes; Catherine Kane Palen; and Megan Pavot

Staff Present: Dan Tolsma, City Administrator; Correy Farniok, Orono Police Chief; Mary Tietjen, City Attorney; and Theresa Schyma, City Clerk

a. Orono resident Gina Kosek will be in attendance to share some feedback regarding the annual concert series at Lord Fletcher’s Restaurant. Police Chief Farniok and Management from Lord Fletcher’s will also be in attendance to provide their thoughts regarding the permit. Attached for review are several documents to provide background information to the Council:
i. Approved 2018 Permit Conditions
ii. Draft 2019 Permit Conditions as proposed by City Attorney
iii. Third Party Sound Measurement Test Results from 2012, 2013, 2015, & 2017
iv. An Excerpt from the MPCA Document “A Guide to Noise Control in Minnesota”

City Administrator Tolsma presented a summary of the annual summer music concert series permit application process for Lord Fletcher’s Old Lake Lodge, 3746 Sunset Drive. He stated the last time the City significantly altered the list of conditions for approval was approximately five years ago; since that time the list of conditions has been consistent. He further explained that the City received feedback from Ms. Kosek about noise concerns on her property.

Representatives from Lord Fletcher’s Old Lake Lodge were present and available for questions including Tom Emer, Peter Peyerl, Thomas Pivec, Chad Nelson, and Tammy Copeman. Also, in attendance was Paul Stibel of Metropaulitan Entertainment which is the sound company for Lord Fletcher’s.

Police Chief Farniok discussed the four noise complaints his department received in 2018. He stated that officers sometimes use a store-bought decibel reader just to give them an idea of the noise level but is not MPCA-approved equipment; the readings from those complaints were within MPCA standards. He added that sometimes when the equipment isn’t available, they will use the readings from the soundboard equipment.

Gina Kosek, 1875 Shadywood Road, Orono, discussed the noise issues on her property due to music at Lord Fletcher’s Old Lake Lodge. She stated that she believes all previous noise level testing results are invalid due to the tests not being administered in one location for one complete hour each time.

City Administrator Tolsma discussed the difference in testing equipment available. He stated that the tests have been completed by professionals with MPCA equipment and with this higher power equipment a test can be done in 15 minutes and then the professionals extrapolate what a full hour of sound would be.

Police Chief Farniok stated the common difficulty for officers responding to noise complaints relating to live music is that they do not have the sophisticated MPCA-approved equipment to administer accurate testing. He added that testing for one continuous hour is not possible for responding officers. He also discussed how car and motorcycle traffic can cause spikes when testing for noise.

John Motzko, 1855 Shadywood, Orono, stated he has lived at his home for 19 years but the noise issues have worsened in the past few years. He stated that his neighborhood is the “perfect storm” for noise issues from Lord Fletcher’s due to the homes being at lake level and experiencing the “lake effect” with regard to sound. He added that he is no longer able to sleep on his porch in the summer due to the live music from Lord Fletcher’s. Mr. Motzko read a text from another homeowner in his neighborhood experiencing noise issues that was unable to attend the meeting.

City Administrator Tolsma played a video provided by Ms. Kosek that gives an example of the sound that can be experienced on her property from live music at Lord Fletcher’s.

Ms. Kosek stated that there should be a common-sense rule when it comes to noise; her expectation is not a “north woods lake” noise level but the current situation is unacceptable. She added that the music is often so loud that she can sometimes feel the bass inside her home and she believes that four nights a week with four continuous hours of live music at that sound level should not be allowed.

Mr. Emer responded that bands do not play four hours straight.

Mayor Rockvam stated the testing by experts has never shown a violation of MPCA standards; and therefore, asked Ms. Kosek what she would consider a reasonable solution.

Ms. Kosek responded that she wants no amplification of music or possibly no music at all.

Mr. Motzko stated that he just wants a compromise because the bands face a long, narrow bay and the speakers face out to the wharf. He would like a system that is more contained to the patrons and not carry across the water to the neighborhood. He added that he does not have an issue with music or amplification but does have an issue with the current volume level.

Council Member Kane Palen stated that the Council is hearing the concerns of the Orono residents in attendance and is sympathetic but added that sound will travel across water and Lake Minnetonka can get very busy in the summer. She added that Lord Fletcher’s has been part of the community for 50 years and therefore asked Ms. Kosek what she is trying to achieve.

Ms. Kosek responded that no other restaurant in Hennepin County has this amount of live music, especially on Lake Minnetonka. She asked why the music needed to be amplified and why the music had to point to her property. She added that the music used to be acoustic but now the music is amplified and gets louder every year. She stated that the noise issue is common sense and just because Lord Fletcher’s is a restaurant on Lake Minnetonka does not mean that they should be able to infringe on private properties.

Mr. Emer responded that all professional tests have come back within MPCA standards. He added that the speakers are not pointed at the houses across the water; the speakers are pointed at the customers in attendance for their enjoyment and at the bars to help absorb some of the sound.

City Administrator Tolsma discussed sound volume and decibel limit versus “presence of sound”. The one-hour cumulative testing was done at four locations or 15 minutes each and the tests were significantly under MPCA standards, but Ms. Kosek and her neighbors can still hear the music across the water.

Mayor Rockvam stated that the City Council would not be able to solve this problem at this work session. He suggested moving forward with the list of proposed conditions for this year while monitoring the situation more closely and changing the testing standards so that the test results can be re-visited at the end of the summer.

Police Chief Farniok stated that the issue gets difficult when residents want the police to enforce something that is not outside of the MPCA standards.

City Administrator Tolsma discussed the possibility of moving forward with the permit approval tonight but adding some conditions to the approval. He asked the representatives from Lord Fletcher’s if they would be open to testing at the beginning of the season to allow follow-up meetings in a closer time frame, site variations based on noise mitigation recommendations from expert sound engineers, or possibly removing Friday nights from the permit application.

Mr. Emer responded that they are open to additional conditions but are unsure what the appeasement level would be from the neighbors because they have tried to acquiesce to every request in the past and have not been able to find common ground.

Council Member Hughes stated that during this year’s concerts the City can look at the method of testing and work with the expert engineers to see if anything can be done to minimize the sound traveling along the channel.

Mr. Emer stated that if there is something that Lord Fletcher’s can do on site to help the neighborhood then they will do it.

Mayor Rockvam stated that Lord Fletcher’s Old Lake Lodge has a history of being a good neighbor and they will do all that they can to help the situation.

Mayor Rockvam asked City staff to keep the Orono neighbors comprised of the situation.

a. Police Chief Correy Farniok will provide the Council with a brief update on police matters.

Due to timing, Police Chief Farniok stated he would send an informational email containing an update on police matters to City Administrator Tolsma which will be forwarded to the Council.

3. H.F. 1076 UPDATE
a. Included for review is a copy of House File 1076, which has been introduced at the State Legislature by Rep. Kelly Morrison. The proposed bill allocates five million dollars for the City of Spring Park to use for critical infrastructure projects.

City Administrator Tolsma provided a brief summary of House File 1076 and his recent visits to the State Capitol. He stated that the City is currently awaiting a decision to see if our infrastructure projects were selected to move forward with this bill.

a. City Attorney Mary Tietjen will provide the Council with a brief overview of recent changes to small cell facilities laws and discuss any recommendation she may have for modifying the City’s existing right of way ordinance to better protect the City’s interests.

City Attorney Tietjen gave a brief summary of the options regarding small cell facilities.


6. ADJOURN - The work session was adjourned by unanimous consent at 6:59 p.m.

Date Approved: April 1, 2019

Dan Tolsma, City Administrator

Theresa Schyma, City Clerk