1/17/2019 2:26:00 PM Chisago City Council installs new member; considers future land redevelopment
After being duly sworn in, newly elected council member Craig Meyer took his seat with the Chisago City Council at the Jan. 8 organizational meeting. He joins Mayor Bob Gustafson and Council Members Marie Rivers, Jeremy Dresel and Mark Anderson.
Prior to the Jan. 8 meeting, the council devoted a one-hour workshop session to reviewing concepts for two large tracts on land on either end of the city, that are due to undergo changes in land use.
City engineers from Bolton and Menk presented potential ideas for future development of the Lakeside School property situated between Highway 8 and Green Lake and the Fairview property (old hospital site) located on the east end of Chisago City. Both are currently designated as public use and will need to be rezoned in the city’s comprehensive plan as their use changes.
The concepts reviewed by the council included the possibility of commercial development on part of the Lakeside School property close to Highway 8 coupled with apartments and townhomes closer to the lake. Council member Mark Anderson questioned commercial development for the area, but other council members voiced support for offices and small service-oriented businesses near the highway and possibly a daycare center and playground to serve additional residents of the higher density apartments and townhomes. Sewer requirements for the area were also discussed.
Possible concepts for the old hospital site included multifamily housing and tri-plexes with separate entrances designed to look like traditional multistory homes. City Administrator John Pechman explained, “The idea is to make it look like a neighborhood, not like a bunch of square apartments.” He showed a photograph of similar structures in the City of Chaska. The possibility of some mixed use on the hospital property was also discussed, perhaps services related to the adjacent medical clinic which will remain. Overall the council looked favorably on the concepts which will help guide future rezoning and development.
Annual fire department report: • The Chisago City Fire Department logged more than 1,036 hours of training and recruited three new provisional members in 2018, according to the annual report Fire Chief Zach Reed presented at the Jan. 8 council meeting. The department is authorized to have as many as 25 members.
The opening of the new fire hall and an increase in the pension plan have also helped in recruitment and retention, according to the chief.
Reed reported that in 2018 the department purchased a “new” used truck for $100,000, half the price of a new vehicle. The rescue truck will be used for car extrications, ice water rescue, etc. “We’re going to use some capital funds to improve the extrication equipment,” Reed said.
• The council then approved an agreement accepting ownership of seven mobile and 18 portable 800 MHz radios previously owned by Chisago County. The agreement releases the county from any future warranty, repair or liability for the radios transferred to the city.
In other business:
• No members of the public appeared at a public hearing on the 2019 city fee schedule. The primary change was a three percent increase in fees for water use and a small increase in sewer use charges ranging from nine to 12 cents per gallon. The increase had been recommended to keep the water and sewer fund in the black. Also increased this year were rental fees at Ojiketa Regional Park.
After some debate, the council agreed to keep the fee for conditional use permits at $750 but eliminate an optional refund of up to $250.
The complete 2019 fee schedule, including all city license, permit and rental fees, can be viewed at city hall.
• At the suggestion of auditors, the council reviewed and approved a list of all electronic checks paid by the city during 2018 as these had not previously been included in bills approved in council minutes. City Administrator Pechman indicated that in the future the list of bills submitted for council approval will include the e-checks.
• The council approved official appointments for 2019, retaining Thomas Miller as city attorney, and Ryan Goodman of Bolton & Menk as city engineer. The Chisago County Press will continue as the official newspaper and monthly council meetings will continue to take place at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday (and the second Tuesday as needed), with Councilmember Rivers serving as acting mayor in the absence of Mayor Gustafson. The council designated MidwestOne Bank, 4M Fund, Dain Rauscher ,and Citigroup as official depositories.
• The council reappointed citizens Josh Dresel and Kyle Peterson to terms on the city planning commission and EDA commission respectively. The EDA appointment is for six years. Councilman Jeremy Dresel abstained from voting on the Josh Dresel reappointment. A full list of 2019 council committee appointments can be viewed at city hall.