Herald JournalHoward Lake-Waverly Herald, Aug. 12, 2002

Loud parties expected to go elsewhere

By Lynda Jensen

Howard Lake noisemakers may be subject to a fine up to $1,000, following a noise ordinance adopted by the City of Howard Lake during its regular meeting Tuesday.

Loud radios and other noises that are clearly audible from 50 feet away any time of day or night may be subject to a fine, with a police officer being the judge of what is too loud, according to the ordinance.

A "quiet" time frame between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. weekdays, or between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on weekends or holidays, is expected to be observed in relation to power equipment such as lawn mowers. There is an exception for snow blowing.

Language in the ordinance addresses CD players, musical instruments, phonographs, yelling, shouting, screaming, singing, and whistling, among other noises.

The city council entertained the ordinance for several months, with the subject originating from noise complaints emanating from the school parking lot.

Free mulch at city's compost site

The council turned its attention to the city's compost site.

The city recently chipped wood and is offering free mulch for interested residents.

Mayor Gerry Smith encouraged people to contact the city or help themselves to the mulch, which is located at the compost site.

Tree removal was ordered at the corner of Seventh Street and Eighth Avenue, awarded to Tree Top Service of Delano, for a bid of $200.

Meanwhile, the city decided to solicit additional bids for removal of the existing compost dirt pile.

The compost is full of plastic and garbage, making it unusable as traditional compost. The city will have to pay to haul it away, said Public Works Manager Tom Goepfert.

One bid of $3,800 from Tree Top was received so far to remove the contaminated compost.

Turning to other subjects, the council approved a land swap with the Shoreline Drive Homeowners' Association.

The parcels of land are located across the street from each other, being identified as Outlot E (the city's parcel) and Outlot D at the Shoreline Homes Addition.
A developer is interested in making a project on the city's portion of land, which is tagged for park development.

Currently, the association mows the property anyway, said Jay Pettit of the association. "It just sits there and we mow it," he said. The association planted trees on the property in the past.

The city decided to go ahead with the swap, as long as the developer would commit to making accommodations for a park or playground idea.

As part of the deal, the city pledged to leave the newly swapped land undeveloped for 10 years, although a majority vote by the association can break this.

Smith expressed reluctance to go for such a long period of time. "Ten years is a long time. Things change," he said. He also alluded to the newly formed park commission, saying that they may want to make plans for the parcel. However, in the end, other council members persuaded him to go ahead with the deal.

The council also discussed an assisted living housing study proposed by Winkelman Building Corporation of St. Cloud, who asked for a contribution from the city of $5,400.

The council tabled the idea, although it spent time weighing the need for assisted living in the city.

"People are happier at assisted living facilities," Administrator Kelly Bahn noted. She also indicated that it would be a good idea to keep seniors in town, instead of sending them to Buffalo or Cokato.

Assisted living is not like a nursing home, but allows the senior to live independently with various levels of care, such as served meals and other help.
Smith noted that assisted living was a common thing asked of him.

If an assisted living project was developed in Howard Lake, it could be based on income if the city financed it with tax increment financing money, Bahn said. The city would also benefit long term with created jobs, she added.

Next, the council discussed a financial request from the Initiative Foundation, which is a non-profit entity that serves businesses across several counties, including Wright.

The city pledged $1,200 annually for a five-year period, upon reviewing the Initiative's long record of helping Wright County businesses and cities.
The Initiative Foundation has dispersed the following funds during the past several years:

In 2002, it sponsored business loans to Chase Communications of Waverly and Milo's Cafe of Dassel. The Initiative also granted the City of Waverly $10,000 for Healthy Communities Partnership training in 2002.

In 2001 it granted the City of Waverly $2,500 for a housing market analysis, and the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District $8,000 for proposed agriculture learning center planning.

In 2000, it granted the City of Howard Lake $5,000 for capital planning. In 1999, it granted the proposed Hubert H. Humphrey Museum Learning Center $25,000 for design and development. In 1996, it granted the proposed Humphrey museum $3,500.

In other subjects, the city noted that traffic counted at the intersection of 12th Street and Second Avenue did not warrant a three-way stop, since the numbers fell well below what was required or recommended.

Traffic was counted at 250 going west, 336 going north and 312 going east over a 24-hour period, with 500 per 8 hours being recommended by the state. If there are five or more reported accidents in a one month period, this would qualify for a stop, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The city engineer recommended against installing the stop sign, which is also consistent with the police department.

In other matters, the council:

· noted that Ruth Licht of Cokato was hired as the new secretary at the city hall, joining existing staff.

· renewed an agreement for the Safe & Sober program on behalf the Howard Lake Police Department.

· purchased two large pumps with hoses from Burly Pumps of Plymouth for $12,880 each.

The pumps are 6" x 6" with 4035 Cat engines, with auto shut downs, and mounted on their own trailers.

There is a one-year warranty on the pumps.

· approved sidewalk removal at Seventh Avenue and 11th Street for about $1,770.

· tabled landscaping in front of the municipal liquor store.

· set a public hearing for Tuesday, Sept. 3 in relation to increasing fees for trunk sewer and water main hookups to developers.

· decided it was too late in the season to spray for mosquitoes, despite noted concerns about West Nile virus, which is transmitted by them.

It was decided to make plans for next year for a regular schedule of spraying.

· denied a request for capital planning software, which Bahn said she didn't necessarily need. The software was previously used by former administrator Doug Borglund.

· renewed its dental plan coverage for city employees. There was an increase, but the Buffalo agent stressed that the plan is still the best deal around, Bahn said.

· briefly discussed the property owner who has a retaining wall built onto the right of way at 10th Avenue and Seventh Street. The city plans to meet with the home owner and a new landscaper to take down the wall and create a slope there instead.

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