September 3, 2013 Council Meeting

  1. CALL TO ORDER – Mayor Reinhardt called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
  2. ROLL CALL – Sippel, Williamson, Bren, Reinhardt.  Hughes is excused.
  3. INTRODUCTIONS – Reinhardt introduced the council and staff to the public.  Administrator Tolsma, Clerk Lewin Engineer Pearson, City Planner Brixius and Attorney Beck.
  5. ADOPT AGENDA – Williamson makes a motion and Bren seconds to adopt the agenda.  All votes ayes, motion carries.
  6. ADOPT CONSENT AGENDASippel makes a motion and Williamson seconds to adopt the consent agenda.  All votes ayes, motion carries.
    1. City Council Regular Meeting Minutes from August 19, 2013
    2. City Council Work Session Minutes from August 26, 2013
  7. PUBLIC FORUM – No one.
    1. Ordinance 13-02: Alternative Energy Regulations –

Brixius said the planning commission has worked on this for about four months.  He said the first steps were to provide model ordinances from other communities.  He said it was necessary to customize this to Spring Park.  Brixius said wind energy, solar panels and geothermal was addressed.  He said he knew there was concern about this due to the City of Orono’s issue.  Brixius said his concern is where on Spring Park lots can structures be placed, what’s the impact on neighboring properties and views from the lake.  Brixius said the first portion of the proposed ordinance amends the definitions affected.  Brixius said they set up a section addressing alternative energy systems and removing regulatory boundaries and created new criteria. 


Brixius said geothermal consists of horizontal or vertical pipes underground and circulates water to either cool or heat.  He said there is horizontal trenching or deep well piping.  Discussed was whether these can be extended into the lake and it was decided this would be prohibited within public water ways.  Setbacks will be 10 feet on sides and 25 feet off OHW.  All above ground equipment must meet building setbacks and not be located on the street side, equipment shall be screened and homemade inventions will not be allowed.  He said there will be standards and must meet building codes. Brixius said  abandonment constitutes removal and enforcement inspections will take place every three years.  He said vertical borings must be approved by the Board of Public Health. 


Wind Energy:  Brixius said wind generators are not as practical in dense urban environments as they need to be above structures to avoid turbulence.  He said turbans can be roof mounted on poles.  He said if they’re freestanding they need to be located center of the lot.  They need to be properly engineered and a rotor clearance 20 feet form the ground and from adjoining trees.  He said it’s a safety standard.  He said noise components were added as well as screening and none reflective materials will be required.  He said they can’t be illuminated nor display advertising.  Brixius said it will require a building permit and it will need to be periodically inspected.  He said enforcement was discussed and it would be treated with tracking logs.  Brixius said boat lift wind turbines would be allowed for boat lifts and recharging batteries. 


Solar Panels can be solar electric and solar thermal.  He said they can be treated like fences if they are ground mounted and can’t exceed six feet in height.  Roof mounting has to demonstrate structural load.  He said there are also solar systems for boat lifts.  He said safety standards, abandonment and permit requirements are the same as for wind energy. 


Sippel asked about the definition of a heat transfer fluid and reference to an industry standard as he assumes technology will change over time.  Brixius said he will look into this.  Sippel said what wasn’t clear was the horizontal and vertical wind turbine and the vertical axis are really the only practical one and he doesn’t see where there is prohibition of the other.  Brixius said they purposely left it open.  He said the horizontal needs about 30 feet of clearance to avoid turbulence.  Brixius said there aren’t really any areas in the community that could handle this except for maybe the Tonka building.  Sippel asked about inspections every three years at the property owners expense and he said he’d rather this be incorporated into the fee schedule.  Brixius said he can change this to a city established fee.  Sippel said under wind energy and noise, he asked if this referral was to standard noise; he feels these should be held to a lower noise standard than music.  Brixius said if council is comfortable, he can come back with decibel levels.  Williamson asked Sippel what decibels levels he was thinking.  Brixius said MPCA has standards and length of time and time of day.  Reinhardt asked if we know how loud turbines are.  Brixius said they don’t usually make a lot of noise unless they are malfunctioning.  Sippel said that’s is his concern because the noise will be going 24 hours a day.  Sippel wonders if there is an industry standard that could be referenced. Brixius said he’ll check this out. 


Williamson said he doesn’t think it can be capricious.    Williamson would like to distinguish between normal, well-maintained operating noise as distinguished from failing equipment.  He said persistence and repetition can become a nuisance.  Reinhardt asked about the boat lift capability for solar and wind.  She asked about wind generators on boat lifts.  Brixius said mostly are on the boats themselves.  Reinhardt said her concern is 20 feet above the water surface and she thinks that is very high.  She thinks a boat lift is 10-12 feet off the water and 20 feet seems high.  Sippel said if a big boat pulls up to a dock, it might be important to have it well above the dock. Williamson wonders about the LMCD having rules and regulations.  Brixius explained because they regulate docks and structures on the lake he didn’t want someone putting this out in the lake without being attached to a dock.  Brixius said he will clarify this for residential docks.  Williamson asked about screening solar energy systems.  He’s trying to imagine solar collectors on a roof.  Brixius said the words "ground mounted" should be added as that is what is being referenced.  He said it probably should say landscaping for screening. 


Reinhardt said she thinks the planning commission and city planner did a very complete and thorough job on working on this.  Brixius said this needs to have revised language so he suggests this be tabled for a future meeting or workshop.  Sippel said the impetus was what happened in Orono and the defense was if it wasn’t addressed, it was prohibited.  He wonders if Spring Park has the same and Brixius confirmed.  He said where Orono failed and Spring Park could too, Orono was allowing accessory uses such as playsets that did not require a permit and the property owner argued his structure should be treated the same.  Brixius said he thinks the city may have some protection as some of those things are included in Spring Park’s code.  Sippel said things change faster than can be kept up with.  He said he thinks if it’s not expressly allowed he wonders if it should require a conditional use permit.  Williamson said he thinks the answer is to set up a mechanism that the unknown things should be presented to city hall and the applicant can be advised accurately.  Brixius said conditional uses can be difficult in that if they meet the conditions, it will be allowed.  Reinhardt said as a private property owner there are rights but she said it also affects neighboring properties.  Williamson makes a motion to lay this over to the next regular council meeting.  Sippel seconds.  All votes in favor, motion carries.


    1. Resolution 13-17: Adopting 2014 Proposed Levy -

$980,000, the same as 2009.  Tolsma said this must be adopted by September 15th.  He said the League’s budget memo states the city can adopt on Monday the 16th.  He said the consensus seems to be to set it at $980,000.  He said the proposed levy can be reduced.  Tolsma said Truth and Taxation is required and needs to be set.  He said it has to be after November 25th and after 6 pm.  He said it usually coincides with the first meeting in December.  Reinhardt said the first meeting in December is December 2nd at 7:30.  Sippel moves adoption setting the general fund levy to not exceed $980,000.  Bren seconds.  All votes ayes, motion carries.  Reinhardt said to let the minutes reflect the T&T will be on December 2nd. 

    1. Mayor and Council - Reinhardt said a music complaint was received for Lord Fletchers music.  She said it was a Spring Park resident.  She said the caller also complained about fishing contests and announcing.  She wondered if staff could look at this within the ordinance.  She said she also had a phone call from someone complimenting on the new street lights. 
    2. City Administrator

                                          i.    Part-Time Seasonal Employee – Tolsma said it was decided this needed to be approved by the council and he includes what has been paid so far this year.  Bren makes a motion to hire a part-time worker for the rest of the season.  Williamson seconds.  All votes ayes, motion carries. 

    1. City Engineer – Pearson said regarding the street light project Goman indicated he is pleased with the work the contractor is doing.  Pearson said the completion date is scheduled for Friday, September 13th.  Pearson said as part of the contract work, the existing wiring has been tested.  He said about 60-70% of the testing has been completed and there are about three sections where the wire is not in good condition and may need to be replaced.  He said costs aren’t available yet and will be based on their location.  He said if it can be open trenched it will be less than a directional drill.  Pearson said there are five poles located adjacent to retaining walls.  He said the access panel at the bottom of the pole, during manufacturing, was placed on the backside and accessibility is not possible as it butts against the retaining wall.  He said it affects four of the poles.  He said they are working with Miller Bernd to solve this.  He said they know there is a solution.  Sippel said the budget allotted 40% for replacing foundations.  Pearson said so far the bolts have been cleaned and in the contractor’s opinion, they don’t expect any of the foundations to be removed but the project isn’t complete.  He said so far the structural integrity of the bolts and foundation appear to be in good condition.  Sippel said if money is being saved and if the total cost comes in under, he doesn’t want to hold up work to approve repairing the wiring.  Sippel wonders if Goman should be given authority to move forward.  Williamson wonders if the wiring can be done afterwards.  Pearson said it can be done independently. 
    2. City Attorney – Nothing.
    3. Utility Superintendent
    1. September 11, 2013 – Administration Committee – 1:00 PM
    2. September 11, 2013 – Planning Commission – 7:00 PM
    3. September 11, 2013 – LMCD – 7:00 PM
    4. September 16, 2013 – City Council – 7:30 PM
    5. September 17, 2013 – LMCC – 5:00 PM – Sippel said this is at 5:30 PM
    6. September 18, 2013 – Fire Commission – 11:00 AM
    1. Bills & Payroll – Sippel moves and Williamson seconds to pay the bills.  All votes ayes, motion carries. 
  4. MISCELLANEOUS (Information Only)
    1. July Financial Report – Sippel asked about the money in the money market account to pay for the street lights.  He wonders about the FDIC limits.  Tolsma said he will address this at Admin on Wednesday.  He said he’s been told that they pledge additional security above the FDIC limits.  Sippel said Ehlers has been consulted to see if there was a better rate than Wells Fargo and Ehlers has a better rate and he thinks it should be investigated.  Williamson said interest rates have been so low for so many years.  He said Community Investment Partners, used previously, were able to get some better rates. Reinhardt said Ehlers and CIP have merged.  Williamson said it’s important to conserve cash. 
    2. Williamson asked about Shoreline Place condos and the area where boatlifts are piled in the city right-of-way and noticed it’s been redone with gravel.  He said there is an original conditional use permit about permeable surface and he wonders who changed the landscaping and it was done on the city’s right-of-way.  Tolsma said he wasn’t aware of this change. 
  5. ADJOURNMENTSippel makes a motion and Bren seconds to adjourn the meeting at 8:46 PM.  All votes ayes, motion carries.