August 23, 2012 at 8:23 a.m.
If the Highway 8 rebuild in Lindstrom was a homework assignment and the city council was the instructor grading it-- the current work zone situation would probably get a D at best. Lindstrom council last week discussed numerous issues and complaints about loss of parking, the apparent poor design of the lake channel and shoreline formations, and issues with access to private property. The city is able to address some matters and acted on what it could. Other concerns will be brought to the attention of officials with the state transportation department. The city council last week directed the city engineer to put a rush job on laying out additional parking spots on Elm Street, from the Masonic Hall along the block south. The hope is to widen Elm a bit to incorporate angled parking on one side. The mayor offered a slice of his property (insurance business) on the west side of Elm if additional width is needed for more right-of-way. The hope is to keep parallel vehicle parking slots on the west side and angled parking stalls into the curb along the other side of Elm, optimizing parking available for that commercial district. Council also supported placing a ban on parking on the east side of Olinda, from Newell up to the highway corridor. The county engineer reportedly recommends this (Olinda is a county road) due to congestion creating poor sight lines at the Dairy Queen intersection. No parking signs will go up ASAP.
Improved Informational Signage in general in the highway work zone is going to be erected identifying appropriate crosswalk areas, etc. A business request for a designated handicap parking slot, on Highway 8, where First used to be, was left up to MnDOT which has highway jurisdiction. Concerns were expressed about the slope alongside the new channel between North and South Lindstrom Lakes. It appears there’s no erosion control or hardscaping to bolster the banks of the new channel. City Administrator John Olinger said, “we are asking questions” and meeting with designers to develop re-inforcing measures. Council member Curt Flug added the city is going to have to get “on top of this” because nobody else will fight for these concerns. An issue with access to curbside mailboxes was also aired. The city will paint no-parking caution yellow on curbs where the postal service’s mobile carriers have been unable to deliver to street boxes. In other matters: ~ Lindstrom adopted its preliminary levy for 2013. The council voted 5-0 to accept this first, maximum levy which is required to be acted on by mid-September, and the final levy is adopted in December. The amount set now can not increase-- but can be trimmed. The HRA levy is proposed for $60,000 and was $63,000 for 2012. The general levy is $1,640,000 which is decreased from the levy for 2012 by $40,000. The public hearing for citizen comment is December 20 at 6:30 p.m. at city hall. ~ Council voted 5-0 approving a self-storage facility proposed for a Conditional Use Permit. The project site is off the north side of Lake Lane, west of #14. Council member Joe Wishy pressed for adding conditions regulating what is allowed to be stored, saying he is a “protector of wetlands.” He doesn’t want quantities of fuels or chemicals leaking into the nearby marsh. Council agreed with wording the permit including that condition, and the plan, submitted by applicant Don Bluhm, was okayed. Wishy also questioned the basically flat roof proposed on the steel, manufactured structure. Bluhm assured council similar storage buildings, manufactured by the same company, also have flat roofs.
The storage units building will be 40 feet by 100 feet and there’s also 40 uncovered outdoor storage “lots” in the plan. ~ The firefighter pension fund requires a city contribution to meet projected demand. The council ok’d a 2013 contribution of $9,734. The department’s receipt of state fire aid, which is a percentage of household insurance premiums collected within a certain region, is tied to maintaining adequately-funded pension accounts. ~ On Council member Flug’s direction, as planning commission liaison, the purchase offer for a city lot that’s been for sale on Terryl Street was delayed indefinitely.
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