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September 21, 2019

8/22/2019 2:52:00 PM
Mentzer Trail utilities extension engineer study accepted by council

On the shore of South Lindstrom Lake it wouldn’t be overly dramatic to say there’s been a situation in the vicinity of Mentzer Trail.  There are 22 wastewater systems that the county reportedly identifies as functioning in an “unknown” manner, there are four parcels that have no sewer system at all;  seven homesites use a holding tank and 22 have a mound system.  According to the feasibility study for a project to extend city sewer out into the township, on Mentzer,  there are also 12 vacant lots.

The water situation along Mentzer is also far from ideal.

Known private wells are in poor locations and should they fail or become contaminated replacing them is not viable.  

In addition to existing conditions-- there’s a large undeveloped crop field opposite the lake-side of Mentzer Trail that, without city services,  is not attractive to builders.  But, should city utilities be extended to serve this area to solve serious infrastructure issues-- fees for new hook-ups in the field would help cover costs.

City Administrator John Olinger told the city council last week, while reviewing the engineering analysis for utility extensions, “...this is expensive” adding there are relatively few property owners to pay for needed work.  

The project might be eligible for pollution control monies and other public grants or financing borrowing options, but at potentially  $4.5 million to do the water, sewer and street, this might be a tough sell.  

Township properties also are involved. City staff reminded city council members last week the township needs to be engaged and an orderly annexation process has to be understood by all.  

The feasibility study, one of the first steps in setting up assessments, was adopted 5-0 by council.  Engineering was directed to  continue to make progress towards final details.

The timeframe calls for assessment hearings in December 2020.   This comes after bids are received so staff has identified specific costs.

City council members also unanimously advanced another infrastructure project in the area of the former Rosehill Resort.  There was a review of preliminary analysis for extending sewer and water and realigning and/or rebuilding 306th and council directed staff to keep moving forward.
City Engineer Jon Herdegen said the recommended option is a $1.368 million project.  Herdegen has met with property owners and will meet again before too much time passes, he said.  “I look to get feedback from another meeting with property owners,” he said.  

One design alternative  creates a connection of the now dead-end 306th street to where Rosehill Senior Living, an apartment complex, is to be built.  Herdegen explained that having another outlet for that development would be nice, versus only Lehigh Ave, but “...we should weigh the benefits of an extension” Herdegen explained, compared to costs.

There’s complicated property line issues too, and the city has a couple of outlots where the legal uses of these parcels (ie lift station maybe) have to be researched.

Herdegen will report back after his firm MSA does surveying and parcel research.

In other business the council adopted a “statue and monument” policy. This puts the application requirements in writing and provides direction on how to proceed when there’s a request for a statue/monument or to affix a plaque-- and what the criteria are for figures, etc erected in town.

~ Two lake lots were approved as a subdivision from open land on North Lindstrom Lake. One lot contains a couple sheds and an abandoned home now.  The parcels will have access off Maria Avenue.

~ A deck project was okayed that would exceed impervious surface percentage allowed on the new homesite, in Shores of Forest Ridge, at 315th Street. Council had a brief debate about how to get developers who install “ledger board” prepped for a deck to be attached to a house, to be more up front with buyers.  The homeowner goes through an expensive variance process to get special allowance to exceed allowed impervious coverage once they opt to add the deck.

~ Chief of Police Bill Schlumbohm said talks continue on the 2020 ARMER contract language. The next meeting was supposed to be (today) August 22.

He also shared that Target in Forest Lake hosted “Shop with a Cop,” an annual tradition where a non-profit funds a back-to-school shopping experience pairing needy kids and deputies, cops, EMTs, etc.  The North Branch ShopKo had historically been used for “Shop with a Cop” in this region,  but it has closed.


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