Herald JournalHerald Journal, Oct. 13, 2003

It's official: no more planning commission for New Germany

By Dave Cox

The New Germany City Council affirmed its earlier decision of making the last meeting of the planning commission its final one.

City Clerk Shelly Quass relayed to the council at its meeting Tuesday the minutes from the final planning commission meeting.

Quass said that Paul Engelhart, a former mayor and current planning commission member, stated that in his opinion the council should have come to the commission and asked about ways that they could save money rather than disbanding the commission.

Engelhart also stated that the lack of a planning commission will discourage development in the city, Quass reported.

Quass also gave the council a letter from City Attorney David Hubert. He suggested that as an alternative to disbanding the planning commission, the city could cancel its regular meetings and allow the commission to "lay dormant until such time as action was needed and it could be reactivated."

The council chose not to adopt this suggestion. Council member Steve Van Lith pointed out that it would be difficult for the city to maintain the commission under those conditions.

"If we did that, and a commission member's term expired, we wouldn't get anyone to apply for the office because there would be nothing for them to do," said Van Lith.

A new ordinance would be required to reestablish the commission. Quass said that the city could have a form of the ordinance ready for such time as it may be needed.

Van Lith stated that the city should also have job descriptions for planning commission members in place prior to that time.

Mayor Franklin Schoenke stated that since the council passed a motion to disband the commission at a previous meeting, no further action was needed at this time.

The council passed a motion to increase the license fee for intoxicating liquor from $1,800 to $1,950 and set a date for a public hearing on this subject for Wednesday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. prior to the regular council meeting.

Quass asked the council to review the minutes from the May 6, 2003 meeting when Engelhart had asked the city to take responsibility for a blocked sewer line between his property and the main line.

Engelhart had said at the time that he did not feel that he should be responsible for the cost because it was beyond his property line. Engelhart brought this subject up again at the Sept. 17 council meeting.

Schoenke stated that in his opinion, the resident was responsible for any problems up to the point where the sewer joined the main line, regardless of whether the problem was on his own property. The council agreed with Schoenke.

In other business, the council:

- changed the Oct. 15 meeting to Wednesday, Oct. 22, and the Nov. 4 meeting to Wednesday, Nov. 5.

- heard from Van Lith that the fire department gave $10,000 to the city to help with the city hall re-roofing project. The department also paid for a new hand dryer and some cleaning supplies for city hall.

- approved a request from the Carver County 4-H Shooting Sports Program to use the city hall for training during the 2003-04 season.

- approved a six-month extension on the preliminary plat for Sam Montgomery.

- heard from Van Lith that there will be another Kids Against Hunger meal packaging session at the fire barn Wednesday, Oct. 15.

- heard that the Commercial Club fish fry will be conducted Sunday, Oct. 19.

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