8/13/2013 12:58:00 PM Dodge Center City Council
Geocaching in city parks approved
By Larry Dobson
Dodge Center City Council members approved a request from Kasson Junior Luke Buehler Monday evening to be allowed to place geocaching receptacles in city parks as part of the international game of geocaching, a treasure hunting game where you use a GPS to hide and seek containers with other participants in the activity. The council gave city approval for three months with the stipulation that all sites where the receptacles will be placed must be pre-approved by city staff.
Amanda Duerr, Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC), reported to the council on state legislation this session that impacts cities. She said the main successes for the CGMC are a new formula for Local Government Aid, an $890 million increase in funding for LGA. She said Dodge Center's LGA will increase from $624,000 to $682,000. Duerr said the state also approved a $2 million a year internship tax credit program and $7 million for a business expansion program sales tax exemption, both of which could benefit Dodge Center.
Barb Bidwell addressed the council on behalf of the Harvest Fest Committee and asked the council to keep the Harvest Fest celebration in mind while planning Main Street improvements. Mayor Bill Ketchum assured her that the council always includes the Harvest Fest when considering options for the improvements. He asked the committee to research the cost of the features it would like to see and about where the money may come from for them.
In routine business, the council approved minutes of the regular council meeting July 22, 2013; the special council meeting August 1; the Park Board meeting July 16; the Airport Advisory Board meeting July 17; and payment of bills in the amount of $113,718.81.
Mark Barwald presented the council with an estimate from Pearson Brothers, Inc. to chip seal 1st Street NE and Center Avenue North. The $22,952 estimate was accepted and approved by the council.
The council approved the recommendation of the Planning Commission that the city adopt Ordinance No. 116, amending the city zoning code, primarily with changes regarding accessory structures. City Administrator Lee Mattson reported that the following changes would result:
Add a definition for utility shed to clear up potential confusion over types of buildings that the code currently treats differently.
Change the minimum lot size requirements of R-1 districts to require larger lots. The larger lots were felt to be necessary to allow increases in the size of accessory structures within the R-1 zone.
Limits both the number and total area of accessory structures and utility sheds in all residential districts. There are a number of properties in town which do not conform to the proposed standards, and those lots would become existing non-conforming lots, where the use would be allowed to continue. "I believe that the state statute also provides protections to rebuild those structures within a specific time frame should something happen to an existing structure," Mattson said.
Creates new regulations for R-1 Districts, allowing a taller overhead door and larger buildings than would be allowed in other districts.
Mattson said these amendments were undertaken in response to a petition from John Schouweiler, in which he asked the Council to change the overhead door provisions. The Council indicated support for considering the request and the Planning Commission developed the proposed amendments. If this amendment is approved by the Council, the City will then continue with a petition to rezone Rolling Meadows Subdivision to an R-1 Zone. Currently, there is no R-1 zoned area in Dodge Center.
The council approved the request of McNeilus Properties to split Lot 9, Block 3 in the North Park Subdivision in half and adding one half to Lot 10 and the other to Lot 8. The request was previously approved by the Planning Commission.
The council briefly discussed the failure of Advance Disposal to respond to the city regarding collecting garbage on Mondays in violation of it license requirements. The council also discussed a complaint that GarbageMan was contracting with an unlicensed hauler to collect dumpsters. A representative of GarbageMan was present and agreed to stop the practice, so no council action was required.
In other business, the council approved:
continuing to remain under existing monetary limits on municipal tort liability;
increasing the amount approved for services by HRA Executive Director Amy Van Raam from $6,566.67 to $7,585. Mattson had not accounted for some fixed costs when the original amount was approved;
reducing hours at the Aquatic Center the last week of the season due to some lifeguards becoming unavailable. The pool will remain open until August 25 but will close at 5 p.m. the last week;
waiving the Community Center fee for the annual Dodge Center Fire Relief Association fundraiser;
rescheduling the closing of portions of 12 Ave NW and 7°' St. NW for the annual Boeck's Ribfest;
closing 1st Street NW between Central Avenue and 1st Ave NW on August 25 for an auction being held for David Vrieze's late mother's estate. He is concerned that the lot is too small;
Resolution No. 2013-018 Certifying Delinquent Utility Charges to the County Auditor for seven properties with outstanding utility bills;
denial of a transient merchant license to Justinas Bliudzuis with Southwestern Company.