June 16, 2014 Council Meeting

Al Luehmann, 4300; Doug Smith, 4308; Hackneys, 4372; Joel Shoop, 4336; John Perry, 4516; Catherine and Gerald Palen, 4352; Bergers, 4318. 

  1. CALL TO ORDER – Mayor Reinhardt called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
  2. ROLL CALL – Sippel, Williamson, Bren, Hughes, Reinhardt.
  3. INTRODUCTIONS – Reinhardt introduced the staff to the public. Administrator Tolsma, Clerk Lewin, Engineer Pearson, Planner Brixius, Planning Commission Chair Hoffman.
  5. ADOPT AGENDA – Hughes makes a motion and Bren seconds to adopt the agenda. All votes ayes, motion carries.
  6. ADOPT CONSENT AGENDA – Sippel makes a motion and Bren seconds to adopt the consent agenda. All votes ayes, motion carries.
    1. City Council Regular Meeting Minutes From June 2, 2014
    2. Administration Committee Minutes From June 11, 2014
    3. Planning Commission Minutes From June 11, 2014
  7. PUBLIC FORUM – No one.
    1. Petition for West Arm East Drainage/Road Improvements –

Catherine Palen, said she visited with her neighbors about their concerns. She said various comments were received such as Luehmann is concerned about the unfinished street, Mr. Smith has had expensive sewer problems, the Bergers were flooded, the Diettrichs, Palens and Kilbys suffer continuously from the runoff which has increased since the paving of the trail. She said she’s lived there for 19 years and they did have to suffer from runoff but it has increased since the paving. She said the storm drain has collapsed and that needs attention. She said there are drains by Luehmanns and the tilt of the road is not running to the storm drain.  She said if there is a problem with sewer, it needs to be looked at. She wonders how long has it been since there's been an upgrade to the sewer line.  Palen said some residents are below street level so they take the brunt of it.  She said there is heaving that occurs during the winter months and can sometimes be as high as eight inches.  Palen said in front of her driveway it can heave as much as three inches.  She said she thinks investigation needs to be done. 


Hughes asked Luehmann if the drain was ever combined with the Townhouses on West Arm Drive. Luehmann said that was addressed about a year ago as the drain carries a lot of water from West Arm Drive and it empties.  He said he thinks the drainage has been addressed.  He planned on bringing this up.  He said 8-10 years ago a top coat was put on the road but it stopped before Luehmann’s property and didn’t go to the end of the road. 


Reinhardt said the process is if the council receives a petition for a road improvement project, if the petition is accepted, staff can be directed to put together a feasibility report. She said an estimate and proposed method of financing the project is brought forward.  Reinhardt said the petition has nine of the eleven residents affected. 


Tolsma said he spoke with Pearson and there have been plans to examine the street at next week’s staff meeting. Tolsma said Pearson agrees that would be the time to assess the situation and he would have more ideas as to what to include in a feasibility report. Palen asked about the elements that are examined.  Pearson said typically they gather information and the input from the residents is valuable.  Pearson said a field evaluation looks at the concerns.  He would look for resolution regarding the frost heaving with a soil engineer as that is a typical cause.  Pearson said it’s called a windshield survey to observe what is there.  He said with technology there is GIS data, contour information from aerial photos.  He said that’s the beginning.  The next step is if the city orders a feasibility report which is more analysis for alternatives.  He said with alternatives there are costs and that is the information the council is looking for to evaluate for the best solution. 


Sippel said we're talking about drainage and the road surface but infrastructure will be examined as well. Palen asked about checking the age and the condition of the sewer and water.  Pearson said with the sanitary sewer system, the city has televised the system and there are records.  He said sewers can be evaluated from that for required improvements.  Pearson said Goman, who is knowledgeable about the utilities, will offer his analysis and information.  Palen is hoping for a proactive versus a reactive analysis.  Williamson said there have been similar discussions about road projects and infrastructure will be examined at the same time.  He said the televising is systematic and repairs can be done at the time to caulk cracks.  He said this has been going on for about 10-12 years.  He said a sleeve can also be applied to sewer lines.  He said they’ll look at the age of the line in this case.  Williamson is sure all of this will be examined along with assigned costs.  Pearson said he would be cautious about “replacement” because with today’s technologies, sleeves can be applied versus digging up and replacing and they use a cured-in-place operation.  Reinhardt asked about the windshield survey and she wonders about the difference between a feasibility report.  Pearson said a windshield would be required regardless but Pearson said it’s difficult to determine the cost of a feasibility until they see what they are faced with. 


Luehmann said there is a pumping station on West Arm Road and he wonders about upcoming changes for that. Pearson said they are in the process of receiving bids for improving this lift station.  Pearson said the intent is to complete the work in October and traffic will be maintained at all times.  Luehmann said it seems like a good time to look at an entire street project at that time.  Pearson said that is something the council can evaluate.  He said it’s been discussed but the opinion is the contracts can be separated and a lift station can be competitive and they are hoping for good bids.  Pearson said he doesn’t see a need to tie the projects together.  Luehmann said he’s never heard the designation of east, central and west West Arm Rd.  Palen said Lord Fletcher Apartments are multi family and she didn’t think to notify them.  She wonders how this affects the analysis.  Reinhardt said they are zoned multi-family and they would be included as a property along with everyone else on West Arm East.  She said there are proper notifications and they would have an opportunity to voice their opinion.  She said when it comes to costs, there are numerous ways to look at it.  It can be frontage, per property, a combination. She said that’s down the road yet. 


Sippel said per the special assessment policy there is not a special assessment for the sewer and water. He said the road reconstruction requires the property owner to pay 25% and the city pays 75%.  Sippel said because the trail borders the south side, it’s not shared by others.  Sippel said this Thursday there is an open house for potential improvements for West Arm Central.  He said it might be beneficial to come in order to get a better feel for how this project unfolds.  Reinhardt wonders about a motion and Tolsma said staff has enough direction to work from.  Sippel wonders if there is a reason to withhold a feasibility study.  He wonders if this should be commissioned now.  Williamson said that might be jumping the gun and he doesn’t want to skip steps.  He said an initial analysis will describe a scope of a project.  He said contract staff needs to be clear about what is requested.  Hughes said if the windshield could be done in a day, it might be nice to have it at a work session.  Tolsma said it would be possible to get this done this week after consulting with Pearson and bring it to the work session.  Sippel asked about making a motion to accept the petition.  Reinhardt said she looks to the policy.  Williamson believes in acknowledging the petition but he wonders about a process standpoint.  Reinhardt suggests since it’s on the agenda they will wait until the windshield study is brought forward. 


    1. Ordinance 14-02: Lakeside Accessory Structures –

Brixius said graphics were provided to the Planning Commission (PC) meeting last week. He said a public hearing was held and there was discussion about one point of the accessory structure ordinance. He said additional language was added by the council that prohibited accessory structures (AS) between the principal structure and the lakeshore.  He said the PC in the original recommendation did not include this prohibition. Brixius explained the council asked this be taken back to PC for further discussion.  Brixius said a planner report was presented dated June 5th outlining pros and cons.  He said in 2006 the city adopted a shoreline ordinance. Previous to this lakeshore averaging was allowed.  Brixius said the building envelope setbacks were established.  He said now principal buildings can expand to 50 feet of the shoreline.  Brixius said since 2006 site lines have not been preserved.  He said the PC looked at this issue.  He said the square footage of an AS was expanded based upon foundation size and scale was considered.  Brixius said the Spring Park ordinance is different from the DNR ordinance.  He said the model ordinance tries to protect the lake users’ view.


Brixius said the PC considered all the information and took testimony from John Perry who is interested in an AS on his property. Brixius said Perry’s property is unique due to a sanitary sewer easement that divides his property in an east west direction that prevents future expansion of his home and limits his garage and dwelling space. Perry is proposing a 500 square foot building, two stories, tucked into the hill.  Reinhardt wants to caution the council that this is an ordinance for the entire city, not one property.  Brixius said the recommendation from the PC is to repeal the disallowance of AS between the principal structure and the lakeshore.  Brixius said PC argues that other things can be put between the principal structure and the lakeshore that can affect views such as trees.  Reinhardt asks for questions from the council to staff.  Williamson asked about the status of this meeting.  Brixius said this is not a public hearing but is for consideration.  Reinhardt opens this up for public comment. 


John Perry, 4512 West Arm Rd said he inquired about building a secondary structure last year because of the sanitary sewer easement restricts him from adding on to his house. Perry said he has consulted with the city, Mnspect, ,the Watershed and the DNR.  He initially thought about a one story structure but he discovered he would be allowed something 16 feet in height allowing him a two story.  He said because it would be built into the hill it would look like a one-story building.  He said the peak of the AC would be one foot above his basement level due to the drop off.  He said he won’t be blocking views.  Perry said this was examined previously but then he was informed that his plans could be restricted.  He said he went from being allowed to put a structure that would be 1200 square feet to now nothing.  He said he is losing 130 feet of property that can’t be used.  He said boat houses on the lake are allowed.  He said he is concerned that his neighbor could, by ordinance, tear down the existing house and build 50 feet from the lake and that would block his views. 


Reinhardt said there is a document outlining other cities and how they treat AS between the principal structure and the shoreline. She said it’s all over the board.  Some are very restrictive.  She believes this has been deliberately researched.  Jeff Hoffman said Brixius did a good job reviewing the PC meeting recently held.  Hoffman said discussed in great detail was the question of view.  He said this was previously raised with the condominium projects of the Mist and the Lakeview Lofts.  He said at that time views were not guaranteed.  Hoffman said the other issue discussed was the size of the structure and the equality.  He said there are a lot of unique situations and it was felt that someone who doesn’t have lake access and would be allowed to build, why would that be different for someone who has lakeshore.  Hoffman said the size was increased from 1000 sf to 1200 sf.  Hoffman said if there is more direction or more discussion or more areas to explore, he would encourage this go back to the PC again. He said they went the direction they thought they had. 


Bren said she was present at the PC meetings and she said they did a lot of hard work and research. She said she agrees with Hoffman's assessment regarding equality for lakeshore and non lakeshore owners. She said there are other things that can affect views.  Bren believes there is a problem with the property with the sanitary sewer splitting the property. 


Sippel moves adoption of the proposed language striking the language for no principal structures between the principal structure and the lakeshore. Hughes seconds. Reinhardt said she will not support striking that language.  She said in looking at the bigger picture she wants to consider how Spring Park is viewed from the lake.  She said there are many properties that could potentially put very large accessory structures on the lake side.  She said many times the architectural standards are not the same for an accessory structure.  Reinhardt said for Perry, there is a variance procedure. She hesitates to remove the language for the good of Spring Park.  Sippel said as a practical matter, lakeshore owners probably wouldn’t build an AS unless there is a reason.  He said the height restriction actually improves the situation versus houses being built up to 50 feet of the lakeshore. 


Williamson said this issue is a good example about how ideals can be had and expectations in the community and then there is practical living. He said the lake was first lake cabins and the cabins were upgraded to residences.  Williamson said many times this happened before lot lines were even established.  He said structures fitting together are very eclectic.  Williamson said sometimes changes and needs evolve.  He said this isn’t a one size fits all community.  There isn’t the opportunity to have a master plan and it should be recognized that there will be creative development.  Williamson said he’s torn between two things.  He doesn’t like structures being built closer to the lake.  He prefers houses being set back.  He said everyone pays for cleaner water as a result of hardcover.  Williamson said he believes a property owner should be allowed to do what they want provided it meets all of the city’s requirements.  He feels when addressing an AS close to the lake, maybe other restrictions should be looked at. He feels the wisdom is to follow the recommendation of the PC and work further on this.  Reinhardt said one of the issues for AS also has to do with plumbing being allowed.  She said there is a concern about additional plumbing being added and soon it becomes more than just a boat house but becomes a weekend facility and/or a rental facility. Motion passes on rollcall, Bren and Reinhardt vote no and Sippel, Williamson and Hughes vote yes.


  • Reinhardt said she received a complimentary remark from a resident on Channel Road about the city's efforts to assist on the flooding on Channel Road. Special thanks go out to Goman, Tolsma and Pearson for their diligence.
  • Reinhardt said there is an ordinance that prohibits illegal dumping. She said there are two clean up events twice a year and there have been incidents of dumping after the clean up event.   She encourages residents to call 911 if dumping is witnessed. Hughes said in the clean up event, t.v.s, electronics are not accepted.       He said this continues to happen.       Reinhardt said there is no reason for anyone to illegally dump anything. She said if this continues to be abused, the clean up event may not happen.
  • Hughes said the LMCD safety committee has the ability to fly over the lake by helicopter and was surprised to see the debris left over from the winter fish houses. He said there was a lot of discussion about the high water declaration and how to handle this. Reinhardt said a postcard was received in the mail to lakeshore owners regarding the high water.


    1. Mayor and Council
    2. City Administrator - nothing
    3. City Engineer – nothing unless the council has questions.
    4. City Attorney – nothing.
    5. Utility Superintendent – nothing.
    1. June 19 – West Arm Central Improvements Meeting – 7:00 PM
    2. June 23 – City Council Work Session – 7:00 PM
    3. June 25 – LMCD – 7:00 PM
    4. July 7 – City Council – 7:30 PM
  3. UNFINISHED BUSINESS – Williamson said he received an email invitation from the Mayor of Minnetrista to attend a presentation about their water plans. Williamson said if three or more council members attend, he wonders about open meeting violation. Reinhardt said she won’t be able to attend and Sippel can’t attend either. Hughes is also not going and Bren said she didn’t plan on attending.       Hughes wonders about a refresher from Beck on open meeting law.
    1. Bills & Payroll –

Sippel questioned the bill from Centurylink and wonders if voice over service has been investigated. He thinks this should be looked at as it seems high for phone service.  Williamson said this came up years ago and some charges are for water plant alarms, lift station connections, etc.  Reinhardt said it should be easy to pull the line detail.  Sippel makes a motion and Bren seconds to pay the claims. All votes ayes, motion carries.

  1. MISCELLANEOUS (Information Only)
    1. Tobacco/Alcohol Compliance Checks – Reinhardt said compliance checks all passed.
    2. May Fire Department Report
    3. Mound Fire Department Press Release
    4. LMCD Newsletter
  2. ADJOURNMENT – Williamson makes a motion and Sippel seconds to adjourn the meeting at 8:52 pm.       All votes ayes, motion carries.