Dassel planning commission objects to fence by pond

October 29, 2007

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

The Dassel Planning Commission not only objected Tuesday to the idea of fencing holding ponds within the city limits, but also the look of the fluorescent-orange warning fence erected on the east side of the pond at Galiger’s Lane.

“It looks terrible,” Planning Commissioner Mike Scanlon said.

Parents must watch out for their children, and not expect others to be responsible, added Planning Commissioner Deb Suchy.

The orange fence serves only as a warning. It will not keep anyone out of the pond or away from its banks, because it is open in the middle, and lines only the east side of the pond, according to Public Works Director Dave Scepaniak Oct. 1.

The banks of the holding pond were not constructed according to specifications. The banks were supposed to be built at a slope of 4:1, but are 2:1, twice as steep as what was designed. The city intended to have them redone, but it is too late in the fall to start the reconstruction. The banks will be rebuilt to specifications in the spring, Scepaniak said.

Scanlon advised warning residents to stay away from the pond with a sign, instead of the orange fence.

The problem with the too-steep banks was discovered when residents from a 24-family group, Neighborhood Watch, complained to the city council Sept. 4 about the lack of fencing around the holding pond in the Galiger Lane development. The group feared a small child would drown in the pond.

Scepaniak had pointed out then that the too-steep banks were a maintenance nightmare. City engineers from Bolton & Menk examined the site, and found the banks were not built according to specifications.

McGrath pointed out to Brian Kimber, who represented Neighborhood Watch at the meeting Sept. 4, that holding ponds were never contemplated for fencing. If the Galiger Lane pond must be fenced, then so must the other five ponds within the city limit.

In addition, City Engineer Barry Glienke told the city council Sept. 17 that of the 30 to 40 cities in Bolton & Menk’s service area, only one requires fencing around holding ponds.

Planning commissioners at the meeting Tuesday insisted parents are responsible for keeping their children out of holding ponds, not the city or property developer.

Otherwise, a fence also would need to be erected around Spring Lake, pointed out Suchy.

Odds and ends

In other business, the planning commission:

• postponed discussion of Mike Corcoran’s plans for a housing development on the south shore of Spring Lake, because Corcoran didn’t attend the meeting. According to Corcoran’s most recent plan, there will be eight lots, including his own, in the development.

• questioned who is responsible for repairing the viaduct under the railroad tracks at Meeker County Road 6 and Highway 12, the railroad or the county. Big chunks of concrete and metal are falling into the road, Suchy said.

• noted a resident at 641 1st St. asked the city to cut down its walnut trees on nearby city property, because the trees were annoying. The resident offered to replace the trees at a different location.

• asked McGrath about inquiries businesses have made for the unused space in the liquor store building. McGrath said fast-growing Badboys Custom Cycle and a few others have looked into relocating there.