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January 27, 2023

12/2/2022 11:28:00 AM
Chisago City orders specs for street work bidding

The Chisago City Council on Nov. 22 ordered preparation of plans and specifications for 2023 street improvements.

City Engineer Ryan Goodman of Bolton and Menk told the council that a second neighborhood meeting on the 2023 Southeast Downtown Street Improvement project drew a good turnout. The project involves new surface on Railroad Ave., Wallmark Lake Dr., East and Bloom streets. It will also include sidewalk on the north side of Railroad Ave. and the west wide of East St., and street lighting on Railroad Ave. that will match the lighting on Old Towne Rd.

“Reception was very positive, and the project was well-received by business owners,” said Goodman.    

The street project, estimated to exceed $990,000, is set to go out for bids by Feb. 28 with bids to be awarded March 28.    

In other business, the council:
- certified $114,378 in delinquent sewer and water bills to the Chisago County Auditor to be applied to 2023  taxes for the affected properties. City Administrator John Pechman pointed out that this year’s total was higher than usual because of an error last year. The Auditor’s office never received the email containing last year’s delinquent bills. Amounts owing for 2021 were added to this year’s outstanding bills. Accounts owing more than $300 after Nov. 15, 2023, meet the definition of delinquent.  

Pechman told the Press that water is shut off to a property when the water bill reaches $1,200, but a property owner can get the water turned back on by keeping the outstanding bill under $1,000.

- also certified to the county auditor $1,350 (paid to Affordable Lawn Service for clean up of five unkempt yards in the city this past summer.) Per ordinance, the fee can be applied to taxes as a special assessment.

- renewed annual tobacco and liquor licenses for 2023. The license fees range from $100 for a cigarette license and an off-sale liquor license, to $250 for a taproom, $500 for a wine license and $2,500 for an on-sale liquor license (which can be paid in two equal installments). Onsale and Sunday liquor licenses were approved for Smitty’s, Scooter’s, the Northern Tavern, Don Julio’s, The Stone Inn, Uncommon Loon Brewery and WineHaven Winery.  License approval is contingent on completion of police background checks and payment of fees.

- received a complaint from resident Daniel Miller, of 302nd St. regarding the condition of the end of his driveway due to delays in completion of street reconstruction there.  Miller said all the gravel on the old road had been removed when paving of the new road was delayed. Administrator Pechman explained that a ceramic gas line was discovered in the roadway at a shallow elevation, and the gas line cannot be replaced until next summer. This means the road cannot be paved this fall as planned. The area becomes very muddy when it rains. Miller said construction equipment has gotten stuck at the end of his driveway. He also said that the elevation of the new road is four to five inches higher than his driveway. He expressed concern about drainage, and asked what the final elevation of the new road will be.
He also wanted assurance that the ground between the curb of the new road and the beginning of his driveway will be restored to its original condition.
Engineer Goodman told Miller, “We will be working with the contractor and the developer to make sure you are satisfied.”

- approved proposed amendments to the zoning code to clarify when a lean to is a temporary structure and when it is a permanent structure that requires a building permit.

- tabled a recommended change to the minor subdivision ordinance that would have required property owners to wait at least five years between requests for lot splits. The change, which had been reviewed and approved by the planning commission, was intended to encourage owners of large properties to submit a complete plat for approval rather than splitting off one or two lots every year or two.

Council Jeremy Dresel questioned the action, saying, “We had talked about cleaning up our ordinances relative to minor subdivisions, and determining when we need developer’s agreements and when we don’t. We need to standardize that a bit more.”

Dressel then moved to table the proposed resolution on the frequency of lot splits. He suggested that, instead, the council hold a workshop session to consider potential changes to its subdivision ordinance.

It was also noted that Nikki Battles will be joining the council in January and will need to be brought up to date on the subdivision issues. Battles was elected in November to the seat currently held by Mark Anderson, who did not run for reelection. Battles was in attendance at the Nov. 22 council meeting. Dresel’s motion to table passed.

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