December 16, 2013 Coucil Meeting

  1. CALL TO ORDER – Mayor Reinhardt called the meeting to order at 7:30 pm.
  2. ROLL CALL – Sippel, Williamson, Bren, Hughes, Reinhardt.
  3. INTRODUCTIONS – Reinhardt introduced the council and staff to the public.  Administrator Tolsma, Clerk Lewin, Attorney Beck, Planner Brixius, Engineer Pearson, various students of the MWHS Government class, Mason and Erickson of the Planning Commission, CUP Applicant Rick Rehman. 
  5. ADOPT AGENDAWilliamson makes a motion and Hughes seconds to adopt the agenda.  All votes ayes, motion carries.
  6. ADOPT CONSENT AGENDASippel makes a motion and Bren seconds to adopt the consent agenda.  All votes ayes, motion carries.
    1. City Council Regular Meeting Minutes from December 2, 2013
    2. Draft Planning Commission Minutes from December 11, 2013
    3. Administration Committee Minutes from 12, 2013
  7. PUBLIC FORUM – No one.
    1. Conditional Use Permit Application – 3942 Del Otero Accessory Structure Exceeding 1,000 sq. ft. (Resolution 13-25)

Brixius explains his planning report and that the initial application was for replacing an accessory building with a larger storage building garage.  Brixius said there was a change in the original plans responding to concerns from planning commissioners.  He said the application now meets all setbacks.  Another concern was building height and the applicant revised his plan to demonstrate compliance with building height and this in itself reduced the square footage. Brixius said the applicant was also pursuing an increase in impervious surface and it now stands at 36%. 


Brixius said in order to exceed the code’s limits of 1000 square feet, a conditional use permit is required.  Brixius said Rehman has contacted the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District and they have no concerns.  It has been suggested the driveway be pitched in order to direct runoff.  Brixius said the commissioners have concerns regarding the size of the building and whether it is in keeping with the character of the neighborhood.  Brixius said there are five criteria for evaluating this.  Brixius said the Planning Commission felt the proposed plan was not consistent with the single family neighborhoods of the city, over dominated the site as to which is the primary and accessory structures on the lot.  He said their recommendation was for denial of the CUP with the findings. 


Brixius has prepared two resolutions; one recommending denial and the other recommending approval.  Brixius said there is a correction in the square footage as it’s been reduced.  Reinhardt asks for questions from the council.  Williamson asked about the approval recommendation, under the resolved clause, the conditions that the garage not be used as commercial, residence or home occupation.  Williamson wonders about future owners.  Brixius said the CUP runs with the property and it would be recorded against the property.  Enforcement would be through administrative fine and a cease and desist order.  Rich Rehman, 3942 Del Otero Avenue, Rehman said he came to the city and asked about building a garage.  He said he was told it was by variance or by conditional use and he pursued the CUP route as he wanted to exceed the 1,000 square foot limit.  He feels he has met the code requirements.  He said there are difference of opinions.  Williamson wonders why someone would want to build something three times the size of the primary structure.  Rehman replied because that’s what he wants to do. 


Hughes said when reading the Planning Commission minutes and their thoughts, he is inclined to side with the Commission’s findings.  Bren said she also agrees with the findings of the planning commission.  She said if this was in her neighborhood she would have concerns about the size of this accessory structure.  Sippel said he’s conflicted but he’s sympathetic because he’s gone through a similar thing.  He said it’s the shear size of the building that bothers him and he feels it’s more suited to a country setting with a bigger lot.  Sippel said he feels it’s unfortunate that the CUP option was available as it gave a false impression that this was a possibility.  He said in his mind CUP’s are more appropriate for commercial districts and not for residential.  He said the concern is the building is two-three times the size of the primary structure. 


Williamson said he agrees with the comments, queries and conclusions reached by the Planning Commission given the character of the area and the character of the neighborhood.  Williamson is also concerned about the use of the CUP route.  Williamson said CUP’s are more appropriate for redevelopment within a residential district.  Williamson is also concerned about the standard that this would set. 


Reinhardt said she is also conflicted.  She said she agrees with the Commissioners’ findings but she is for personal property rights.  She said Rehman is within his rights to apply for this CUP.  Reinhardt said this was strategically chosen and is the correct way to go.  She wonders if there is some modifications that could take place, perhaps by connecting the garage to the house instead of a stand alone building.  Rehman said his opinion of Del Otero, there is everything in the neighborhood.  He said The Mist is oversized and he is right next to them.  He said there are twinhomes in his neighborhood and they are well over hardcover allowances.  Rehman said the 16 foot building height is in the code and he doesn’t think it overshadows and overpowers the neighborhood.  Rehman said his neighborhood is made up of many different types of buildings and his request is fitting into the neighborhood as he sees it.  Rehman said this cost him a lot of money and he feels he has met everything in the code.  He said he wants the biggest garage he can get and he said there isn’t one thing in the code that says the accessory structure can’t be bigger than the primary structure. 


Hughes said there are two documents with Resolutio 13-25.  He makes the motion to approve 13-25 denying the cup for an oversized single family accessory.  Bren seconds.  Sippel said he agrees with Rehman that there needs to be specification and there is false impression being given.  Sippel said this needs to be tightened up.  Reinhardt agrees with this as well.  On roll call vote, all votes ayes, motion passes for denial of the CUP application.  Reinhardt said to Rehman to keep in touch with staff as the next agenda item talks about the inconsistencies in the code.  She said the council does want owners to do what they want with their property and she appreciates his application. 


    1. Interim Ordinance 13-04: Establishing a Moratorium on Accessory Structures Exceeding 1,000 sq. ft. 

Brixius said the ordinance has to be more specific and there needs to be a tightening of the cap on square footage.  He said the Planning Commission will be looking at caps on square footage and height requirements and it needs to be researched and studied.  He said this takes time.  He said there is a moratorium being suggested on anything that exceeds the 1000 square feet.  Brixius said the ordinance has been reviewed by himself and the city attorney.  Reinhardt said there is a revised version in front of the council tonight.  She said it is a marked copy in order to view the changes.  Williamson asks Brixius in the marked up version a reference is made to applying to a detached accessory structure or attached garage.  Brixius said there is an inequity for detached or attached.  Reinhardt wonders if the 90 day moratorium is an adequate time frame for this.  Brixius thinks this is adequate and if there is feedback, he feels it’s important to let the administrator know.  Hughes wonders about rebuilding of something that is already built.  Brixius said it’s allowable under the legal nonconforming laws and the ability to rebuild.  Williamson makes the motion to approve and accept Resolution 13-04 for the moratorium on accessory structures exceeding 1000 square feet.  Reinhardt seconds.  Sippel said he questions the need for a moratorium versus just doing it.  He said the 90 days makes them get it done.  He said the other option could be to rescind the option of CUP in a residential district and evaluate it on its own merits.  He said if another application comes in he doesn’t want to hold it up.  He said his concern is this looks like this would prevent Rehman from reapplying right away.  Hughes said he thinks a joint work session with the Planning Commission could maybe get this done sooner than 90 days.  Williamson agrees.  He doesn’t want to hold this up any longer than necessary.  He said the moratorium can always be lifted if it’s completed sooner.  Brixius said this does not affect garage requests under 1000 square feet.  All votes ayes, except Sippel votes nay.  Motion passes 4-1. 

    1. Mayor and Council –

                                      i.    Water Tower Discussion – Mark Vyvyan –

Reinhardt said this is a closed session due to potential litigation.  She said the Council will go into closed section and excuses the students.  Reinhardt makes a motion to close the meeting for discussion and consultation with legal council.  Hughes seconds.  8:13 p.m.


The council meeting is reopened at 8:43 pm. 


                                        ii.    2014 Staff Wages –

Reinhardt said Tolsma has a report in the packet.  She said there has been previous discussion at the study session and there are some charts showing the employee benefits and wages.  Tolsma said the council can direct him to do more research and he can do that.  Reinhardt said she makes a motion to adjust staff wages with an increase of 3% for 2014.  Sippel seconds.  Reinhardt asks for discussion, comments or concerns.  Sippel said he doesn’t like blanket wage increases and feels there should be merit associated with this.  He said there has been talk about performance reviews and he would be more comfortable seeing the output of that review process.  Hughes said he thinks the staff does a good job.  Reinhardt asked about the review process and Tolsma said he has not done individual reviews but there have been some internal reviews based on observation.  He said staff reviews are many times spontaneous because of the small staff.  He said he commends staff on their ability to adapt or change based on the direction.  Tolsma said there has been some budget savings to the city and the upgrading to the bond rating is indicative to the performance of the staff.  Hughes said he can go either way.  Bren asks about the chart showing differences in the percentages and Reinhardt said that was last year’s percentages and this year the proposal is for 3% for each employee.  All votes ayes, motion carries. 

·         Reinhardt said she received a letter from the Department of Revenue letting cities know of the sales tax exemption for cities and if there are any questions.  She said this was received too late to have any affect on the budget. 

·         Reinhardt said she will be sending an e-mail for committee assignments. 

·         Williamson said the LMCC is establishing membership and six cities have reserved the right to withdraw from the franchise.  He said the number has changed but it does appear Tonka Bay is departing the LMCC and Minnetrista is voting tonight.  He said there could be a deferral to leaving the LMCC due to the new rules of the JPA.  Williamson said Medina, Victoria, Tonka Bay and Orono are leaving.  He said it looks like there will be twelve cities remaining but it will change the budget.  Williamson feels there will be unintended consequences.  Reinhardt encourages those to call their respective mayors who opted out of the LMCC to voice their views.  Hughes wonders about future costs that cities will have to pick up due to the departure of other cities.  Williamson said absolutely as they are dealing with a potential reduction of $300,000 to their budget. 

    1. City Administrator - Nothing
    2. City Engineer - Nothing
    3. City Attorney - Nothing
    4. Utility Superintendent – Tolsma said the high service pumps have been pulled and they are being sent to the shop for maintenance. 
    1. December 17, 2013 – LMCC – 5:30 PM – Williamson said this meeting was already held and there won’t be one on the 17th.
    2. December 18, 2013 – Full Police Commission – 8:00 AM
    3. December 23, 2013 – Work Session – 7:00 PM (reschedule or cancel) – Reinhardt asks if there is anything critical or pending or could the items be delayed.  Tolsma said the only thing is the moratorium.  Reinhardt is hoping this would be coming in January.  Sippel wonders about the second Monday of the month in January in order to provide some guidance to the Commissioners.  Reinhardt said it won’t work because the first council meeting in January is on the 6th and the PC meeting is on the 8th.  Reinhardt said she thinks the PC have ideas as to where they would like to direct this.  Sippel said he has some very specific thoughts on this and Hughes does also. Reinhardt makes a motion to cancel the work session.  Sippel seconds.  All votes ayes, motion carries.  December 2013 Work Session is canceled. 
    4. January 6, 2014 – Council Meeting – 7:30 PM
    1. Bills & Payroll – Sippel asked about the retaining wall and Norlings bill.  He said his question is about the allocation and he doesn’t know why that is split across two different accounts.  He said he’d rather see that dedicated to one account.  Tolsma said that could be done.  He said the rationale was to split it in order to account for adequate funds.  Sippel said his perspective is it looks like it’s getting buried. 


Hughes asked if there is a letter to let the hardware store know that we don’t pay sales tax anymore and all the vendors we purchase from for that matter and provide them the tax exempt ID number.   Tolsma said there is an effort to watch the claims and have contact with vendors in order to watch this.  Hughes makes a motion and Sippel seconds to pay the claims with the reallocation to the funds.  Williamson said this work is very close to where he lives.  He said when he investigated this he noticed a lot of the work was concentrated around the fire hydrant in order to have a clear space.  He said that’s maybe why it was partially allocated.  Tolsma said that is correct as it was part of an internal discussion that was held. Sippel said he questions that it was put in building improvement fund.  Sippel said he likes to keep the project costs together. Reinhardt wonders if staff should come back with alternatives as to where that project should be coded.  All votes ayes, motion carries. 


  1. MISCELLANEOUS (Information Only)
    1. WeCAN Correspondence
    2. Mound Fire Department Press Release
    3. Mound Fire Department November Report
    4. Final Pres Homes Payment Report
  2. ADJOURNMENTWilliamson makes a motion and Hughes seconds to adjourn the meeting at 9:19 pm.  All votes ayes, motion carries.