8/17/2017 4:42:00 PM North Branch Council seats new planning commission
The newly-seated North Branch Planning Commission will consist of five members; with the four year terms going to Joel McPherson and Brian Voss, three year term to Mackenzie Guptil, a two year term to Laurie Warner and the one year term to Gary Schaefer.
North Branch council members disbanded the planning commission several months ago to address procedural and related issues in the existing system, and in the hiatus the council reviewed proposals.
There were 12 applicants for the five seats. The five were seated August 8 with Council member Robert Canada opposed. He wanted council to interface with the applicants some more, saying full council wasn’t present at a work session the first week in August when these five rose to the preferred list.
The council also went into a convoluted discussion about recommended revisions to the city services hook-up regulations.
Council voted down a motion to table (2-3) and embarked on discussion without a motion to adopt (minus a second for a lengthy period of time.) The motion to adopt the new ordinance wording by Kathy Blomquist never got a second and ultimately a new motion by Council member Kelly Neider to table (again)was approved 3-2.
The wording has to do with an existing ordinance regulating when new hook-ups are mandated.
As it stands-- the definitions of when service is “available” and the window of when hook-up becomes mandatory and the term “compliant” for existing septic are vague, said City Administrator Renae Fry.
The new wording would allow for 15 years total for new service hook-up-- with proof of a compliant septic system, where the existing wording allows only 90 days.
Council member Jim Swenson didn’t point out language he had trouble with, but said he wanted “more time” to review the recommended clarifications.
Council member Canada said people come to North Branch to get off municipal services and he didn’t want to make it onerous to retain individual water and septic.
Council member Kathy Blomquist said people have to have a septic system pumped every three years already-- so they can just get a compliance certificate when they are servicing their system. Under the proposed language they can retain the septic for 15 years, with compliance assured every three years.
Mayor Kirsten Hagen Kennedy had staff clarify that the 100 foot distance from available service for a hook-up trigger-- is service to a lateral-- not just a new extended forcemain.
This action also only pertains to new builds in the urban service area. Administrator Fry displayed a map and said all parcels in the 100 foot existing access area now, are hooked-up. A developer may come in and extend services but the city has no plans for a project itself. Still-- council tabled action to the next council meeting Auguse 22 on a 3-2 vote.
The council approved a reduction in fees, for the Oak Park Villas development project for 15 lots that have gone tax-forfeit and purchased by a new developer.
Three builing permits are pending at city hall and a developer request to reduce the owed trunk fees were the issue. Instead of the approximately $65,000 the former builder had agreed to remit-- the new owner Paxmar was okayed to pay $14,097.
Parks Department head Nate Sondrol said people have been asking about the splash pad and recreation events that Blue Cross and Blue Shield is funding through a grant the city won. Summer is almost over, but the city only recently received the grant, Sondrol explained. Meanwhile, the healthcare giant is reviewing the “press release” for the program and funding and nothing happens until it gives the okay. Sondrol said Aug. 21 is the tentative first event date for now.