By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN With this year’s construction behind them, members of the Delano City Council reviewed plans for next year’s construction focusing on a new look for the Highway 12/Bridge Avenue intersection and a new entrance into downtown.
Next summer, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) will be reconstructing the roadway from the railroad bridge north on Highway 12 to the area of Rancher’s Auto Sales. At that same time, work will be done on Bridge Avenue east into Delano.
Council members reviewed a rendering of the plans, which include leaving several on-street parking stalls in the area of Delano Municipal Utilities, as well as a dedicated right-turn lane for traffic wishing to turn northbound onto Highway 12. Next to it will be a lane to allow left-hand turns and also through-traffic. City Engineer Vince Vander Top of Wenck Associates said traffic that goes straight through that intersection is minimal.
Pedestrian traffic in that area was also a concern brought forward by council member-elect Betsy Stolfa, who was in attendance at the meeting. From here, concept plans for the area will be submitted to MnDOT.
Because part of the Bridge Avenue area has also been known as Wright County Road 30, the council brought up the question of funding and if it had been figured out exactly who was paying for what.
City Administrator Phil Kern said the position the county has taken is that the roadway had been turned over to the City of Delano, which means the city would be responsible for the project.
However, the city is disputing the county turning the roadway back over to the city in November 2007, without any knowledge of the city. County Commissioner Jack Russek, who was in attendance at the meeting, said the county can’t really do that without the city knowing, and said he would speak with the highway department about the issue.
Meetings set up for amendment to Independence’s comp. plan
As a neighboring community, the City of Delano has received a request from the City of Independence to review a comprehensive plan amendment on a proposed land-use change for land located at the intersection of Highway 12/County Line Road.
Discussion has been taking place regarding the land being used for commercial development, with the anchor tenant being a “big box” store. The City of Delano has until Monday, Dec. 29 to review and comment on the proposed change.
This summer, city officials began discussions with Independence officials regarding the potential change along Delano’s eastern border. Independence is looking to reguide the property from residential agriculture to commercial. The change in land use has been initiated by Ryan Companies, a Minneapolis-based development corporation.
Discussions between Delano and Independence officials have stemmed around Delano providing utilities to the site. The Metropolitan Council, which oversees land uses within the seven-county metro area, has told Independence officials they need to prove the ability to get utilities from Delano to the site, said Delano City Administrator Phil Kern in a memo to the council. Because of this, representatives from the two cities have been discussing the framework for such an agreement.
Without a utility service agreement in place, Delano officials have said they cannot support the land use change. This means the two cities essentially have until Dec. 29 to reach an agreement on utility services.
Concern was brought up by several in attendance and on the council about conducting a public hearing regarding the issue that would allow residents a forum to voice their opinions on the issue.
“I would like to see a public hearing happen,” commented Council Member Brad Hotchkiss.
After discussion on the format of the hearing/meeting, it was decided to conduct an open house/public hearing with the Delano City Council Thursday, Dec. 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Delano City Hall.
Representatives from Ryan Companies and the Delano Planning Commission will also be asked to participate.
Plan approved for business relocation to Delano
David Kotula of Sensors Incorporated purchased a building located on Kelsey Street, south of Doc Holiday’s, to relocate his business from Maple Plain to Delano.
Kotula’s company specializes in sensors and engineered sensing solutions. The site purchased is 2.4 acres and contains a 6,195-square-foot building. A building and site plan for the property were originally approved in 1998, with two conditional use permits and one variance.
Now that Kotula has purchased the property, he wishes to maintain the past approvals for the property, which was given the city council’s approval.
Kotula’s site and building plan also involves a conversion of the existing warehouse space to office and production, and a 1,940-square-foot building expansion on the south end of the existing building. The addition will be used for storage of materials and the trash dumpster.
The Delano Planning Commission reviewed the plans for the property at its most recent meeting and approved the plans. Kotula, in attendance at the meeting Wednesday, said his company helps advance technology in packaging. He added the relocation will bring approximately 10 new jobs to Delano.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• approved the replacement of carpeting in a Crow River Villa apartment by Waverly Flooring for $1,263.
• hired Richard Nordling as a seasonal employee in the public works department from Dec. 1 through April 1, working approximately four hours per day.
• approved the annual audit report from the Delano EDA/Crow River Villa Apartments for its fiscal year ending March 31, 2008.
• approved the purchase of a replacement computer workstation for the fire chief at the Delano Fire Department, at a cost of $1,700, from Dell.
The last computer purchase for any of the workstations at the fire department took place in 2002.
• approved the certification of delinquent utility and other charges to the Wright County Auditor for collection with real estate taxes in 2009.
The charges consist of both delinquent sewer and water charges, as well as unpaid charges from the city’s noxious weeds and rank growth vegetation. Property owners in violation of this ordinance were sent notices to comply with it, but if the grass and weeds were not cut, the city hired a service to complete the mowing.
All property owners included in the list of unpaid charges were mailed a notice of delinquency and of the intent to assess the amounts to the tax roll.
A flurry of meetings coming up soon
Monday, Dec. 1 - The City of Delano will conduct a Truth in Taxation hearing at 6 p.m. at the Delano City Hall. The regular council meeting will follow that same evening at 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 2 - Delano Public Schools’ Truth in Taxation hearing will take place at the Delano City Hall at 7 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 4 The open house/public hearing on the request from the City of Independence to provide feedback on the proposed land use change will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Delano City Hall.
Monday, Dec 8 Delano Planning Commission will meet at the Delano City Hall at 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 16 Delano City Council’s regular meeting at 7 p.m. at the Delano City Hall.
This is likely the last scheduled meeting city officials can take action on the review and comment on Independence’s request.