By Gabe Licht
DELANO, MN A public hearing regarding the development of additional lots in the Parkview Hills 5th Addition resulted in several comments from the crowd at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
City Planner Al Brixius explained that the preliminary plat was approved in 2004, but it was not finally platted before 2006, when the area was rezoned. To allow Backes Companies Inc. to develop the area, a variance would need to be approved.
The council approved the variance with contingencies following a lengthy discussion with property owners from that neighborhood in southwest Delano near Wright County Road 16.
Adam Steffl, whose property is adjacent to the plat in question, asked about storm water management in the area, saying the area already has problems with water in back yards. He was joined by neighbors Jeff Ellingson and Brett Anderson, who also expressed concerns about grading and storm water management.
“I know there is a concern about additional water in the emergency overflows [EOFs] or pipe,” City Engineer Vince Vander Top said. “Looking at 100-year flood events, where are the EOFs and how do we minimize water in backyards?”
When Councilwoman Betsy Stolfa asked if a solution had been found, Vander Top responded that the developer said it was addressed.
“We want to revisit it and improve it,” Vander Top said. “We want to revisit it. There is a temporary storm sewer proposal. I’m not in favor of it because it may cause problems for people who move into the new addition.”
Steffl asked for the motion to be tabled and Mayor Dale Graunke said the final plat could not be approved until all conditions are met.
Addressing Steffl’s concerns, Vander Top said he would like to have a meeting with residents of the neighborhood. A contingency of the final motion will require a grading plan including the property owners already in the neighborhood.
In addition to drainage issues, Steffl said traffic speed is an issue in the area, with speeds higher than 45 mph at times on 85th Street Southeast.
Graunke advised Steffl to share his concerns at a public safety meeting and Councilman Jack Russek said he would bring up the issue at the next meeting regardless.
Russek asked if there would be a trail on 85th Street Southeast, but Brixius said there would not be one at this point. Sidewalks and street lighting will be required, however.
“Not having a trail on 85th is a mistake,” Steffl told the council.
Stolfa suggested that a trail be considered if funds can be secured.
A start date for construction of the development has not yet been set because the developer’s contract has not been approved, Brixius said.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• accepted a bid from Robert W. Baird & Co. in the amount of $1.01 million over 20 years with a 3.2 percent interest rate to fund turn lanes on Highway 12 into the West Metro Business Park. Doug Green, of Springsted Incorporated explained the loan could be refinanced or paid off in 2024. Stolfa clarified the project will be paid for by the business owners in the industrial park, not taxpayers.
• authorized advertisement for bid for the 2014 Storm Sewer Improvements Project aimed at controlling floods in the downtown area. Bids will be opened Tuesday, Oct. 7 to give contractors the option to start in the fall, with a tentative completion date of June 30, 2015.
• learned that the lowest bid for flood-prevention improvements to the Central Park ball field was $120,000, compared to the budget estimate of $69,000. For that reason, the council opted not to move forward with the project, opting instead to focus on working with the Delano Athletic Club to have sod placed before snowfall at an estimated cost between $5,000 and $10,000.
• approved new hours for the city compost site, along with hiring a part-time attendant to monitor the site on evenings and weekends when city maintenance staff are unavailable. The hours will be noon to 6 p.m. Mondays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays, with the site closed Tuesdays and Thursdays. The new hours will begin once an attendant is hired, expected to be in early October.
City staff hopes the change will improve the quality of compost material and prevent nonresidents from using the site.
• heard from resident Kevin Kangas regarding the ballot question to determine whether or not the City of Delano Water, Light and Power Commission be abolished. Over the past six years, Kangas said electric rates have decreased by 5 percent, water rates have increased 10 percent and sewer rates have increased by 90 percent, with the latter being controlled by the city.
Council members countered that individual utilities cannot be compared because each is affected by different factors.
When Kangas suggested the Oct. 14 open house should be an official city council meeting, council members explained that not all community members are comfortable speaking on the record at an official meeting.