December 17, 2018 Work Session Minutes

DECEMBER 17, 2018 – 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; Mike Kuno, City Engineer; Bob Kirmis, Acting City Planner; and Mary Tietjen, City Attorney


City Administrator Tolsma provided an update on the direction of the Planning Commission regarding a rental ordinance in the City. He requested feedback to ensure the Planning Commission is moving in the right direction so that their time can be utilized efficiently.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that the Planning Commission is looking at a licensing procedure for all rentals with requirements for both short-term and long term rental properties. He further discussed the rental ordinances of several surrounding communities.

The City Council discussed inspections and associated fees, the diversity in the City’s housing stock, dock issues especially at short-term rental properties, and parking issues in the City.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that currently there are few remedies in place for rundown rentals; this licensing process is to ensure that from the get-go the City’s rental stock is up to health and safety standards.

Council Member Pavot stated she was in favor of rental licensing since there is nothing in place right now to prohibit renting unsafe properties in the City.

Council Member Kane Palen agreed adding that basic safety features are necessary.

Mayor Rockvam encouraged advertising for major public participation so that many points of view are considered while shaping this ordinance.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that there would be a massive push for public involvement similar to the outdoor storage ordinance. He added that this ordinance would serve two purposes in protecting renters but also protecting neighbors from living next to unsafe rental properties that can cause safety issues and decrease property values.

Council Member Pavot stated that some people in the community want to the opportunity to operate a short-term rental and this would provide clear guidelines on how to accomplish that.

Council Member Kane Palen agreed but noted she wanted to make sure there was adequate parking on these sites and that potential operators are educated about how to operate their short-term rental in the City.

The City Council consensus was that the Planning Commission is moving in the right direction and should proceed.


City Administrator Tolsma provided a summary of nuisance properties from the past year. He discussed certain properties that are ignoring the City’s requests for clean-up. He asked City Attorney Tietjen to provide a summary of options for these owners who refuse to bring their properties into compliance.

City Attorney Tietjen discussed the pros and cons of the three basic options available to the City including criminal prosecution, civil action, and the City’s current process of administrative citations and abatement agreements.

City Attorney Tietjen suggested the City continue to pursue signed abatement agreements with these non-compliant properties because the agreement is very clear with a deadline and what will occur if they do not meet the agreed upon terms. She added that the City technically doesn’t need a signed agreement but added that it helps so that the homeowner is fully aware of the process that will occur.

Mayor Rockvam responded that he would like to stay away from civil and criminal action because even if you win the lawsuit you don’t necessarily get the site cleaned up and that is the ultimate goal. He is in favor of gaining signed agreements and also prefers the abatement process since the City pays the cost up-front but will recover those funds eventually.

City Attorney Tietjen stated she mainly wants feedback as to the Council’s desire for court action.

The Council consensus was that court action should not be a first route on these properties and that abatement is preferable.

City Attorney Tietjen responded that if the City had a property where the abatement process was unsuccessful she would come back to the Council for approval to initiate the legal process.

The City Council consensus was that the goal of the ordinance was to clean up the city and it is not fair that we would enforce on some properties but not others who choose to ignore the City’s efforts for clean-up. The Council prefers signed abatement agreements whenever possible; court action should be the last possible action.

Council Member Pavot asked if there are services available for people to seek help especially with the mental health component that can sometimes accompany homeowners of nuisance properties.

City Administrator Tolsma responded there are services and he has notified homeowners of these services but they are always refused because the homeowners simply do not want to clean up their properties or do not feel their property constitutes a nuisance.


City Administrator Tolsma presented a summary of the options for staff wages in 2019.

The City Council consensus was to make a motion at the regular Council meeting in January 2019 to approve the 2019 City of Spring Park staff wages with a 3% increase.


City Administrator Tolsma asked Council to review the current appointments and give him feedback prior to January 2.


Item #4 – Miscellaneous was moved prior to Item #1.

City Engineer Kuno stated he needed council feedback on two issues after a recent meeting with Hennepin County; push-button pedestrian crossing near Bayview Place and flashing yellow left turn signals at two intersections on Shoreline Drive (Interlachen Road and Sunset Drive).

City Engineer Kuno stated that Hennepin County is very opposed to a push-button pedestrian crossing on the eastern side of Bayview Place but would be in favor of a regular pedestrian crossing with safety area on the western side of Bayview Place. City staff relayed concerns about use and safety but the county asked if the City would be willing to partner on the county’s proposal.

The Council consensus was that they have been very clear about their safety concerns in that area and are not in favor of putting City money towards something that they don’t believe will increase safety.

City Engineer Kuno stated that both the City and Hennepin County are trying to improve pedestrian safety in the area but are in disagreement over how best to get that result. The county still states that there is a putting a push-button pedestrian crossing too close to Bayview Place to install another one.

City Engineer Kuno stated the county’s version of the pedestrian crossing would cost approximately $12,000 and are asking the city for a 50/50 split of the cost.

The Council directed City Engineer Kuno to notify Hennepin County that the Council does not agree with their proposal and will not partner on this particular project.

City Engineer Kuno asked the Council for feedback on the county’s proposal for flashing yellow turn arrows on Shoreline Drive at Interlachen Road and Sunset Drive. Hennepin County has asked if the City would like to participate in this project as they tend to be very popular and have been receiving multiple requests for these types of signals.

Mayor Rockvam asked about the costs associated with installation.

City Engineer Kuno responded that this agreement would have the City pay for the equipment and Hennepin County would pay for labor and installation. The estimated cost to the City for both signals would be $9,200.

The City Council directed City Engineer Kuno to inform Hennepin County that the City is interested in partnering on this project and are agreeable to the estimated costs.

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

Date Approved: January 22, 2019

Dan Tolsma, City Administrator

Theresa Schyma, City Clerk