Herald JournalHerald Journal, April 7, 2003

New Germany OKs policy related to construction sites

By Dave Cox

A plan that would help New Germany comply with a new Carver County water quality ordinance was presented by Paul Waldron at the city council meeting Tuesday.

Waldron, of Paul Waldron and Associates, currently does building inspections for the city. Under the proposal, he would also do inspections to ensure compliance requiring controls for erosion and sedimentation on building sites.

The ordinance covers any construction project where the ground is disturbed.

Among other things, it requires that all areas along curbs be completely fenced. Storm sewer inlets must be covered, and waterways must be protected by erosion control devices.

In order to implement the proposal, the city would have to modify its contract with Waldron and Associates. The city would also have to require certified surveys of any new home building projects.

Waldron would use information from these surveys to conduct the inspections. Waldron stated that the city would need to implement a $35 site inspection fee and a surcharge of .0004 percent of the permit value to pay for the service.

Based on these charges, the cost added to the permit fee for a $150,000 house would be $35 for the site inspection fee and $60 for the valuation surcharge, for a total of $95.

The surcharge would not apply to building permits for decks, interior remodels, or general permits.

The council approved a motion to modify the contract and adopt the proposal.

On another subject, Dawn Pistulka of Waldron and Associates presented information about a new software program that Waldron has implemented.

The software, designed by Active Logic, is connected with the county database and allows building permits to be processed online.

Applicants could apply for building permits online, and could even pay for some permits online without ever having to visit city hall.

Building inspectors will be able to input data into a hand-held device in the field, which would dramatically reduce the time needed to process reports.

"We could do an inspection at 2 p.m. and transmit the data to the county and to the city, and you would have the information on your system by 2:05 p.m.," Waldron said.

The advantages of the system are speed, efficiency, and rapid availability of data. Carver County has been using this system for the past year, and the other six cities that use his services have already approved the program, according to Waldron.

The council originally received information about this program in June 2000. Waldron sent a follow-up letter to the council Aug. 1, 2002 to give them the opportunity to include this in the city's budget. At that time Waldron's goal was "to have this system up and running by January 2003."

In order to participate in the program, the city would have to spend $3,000 for software to be loaded on the city's computer. Waldron stated that part of this cost goes to the county for accessing its data.

Waldron recommended that the council approve the program now if it thinks it would eventually do it, noting that the charge to implement it now is less than it might be in the future.

"I don't want to have to come back here in six months and tell you that the price of the software has gone up," Waldron said. He added, "If you are at all interested, we could cover the expense for now, and the city can spread the cost over a year."

The council tabled the issue, citing the fact that there is no money in the budget for this program.

The council wrapped up some old business when it followed the recommendation of City Attorney David Hubert and approved a resolution allowing the continuation of existing encroachment and setbacks to improvements to the Kenny B. Cookie Company.

This item had been tabled while attorneys for the city and for the cookie company worked out mutually acceptable language for the resolution.

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