BY GABE LICHT
DELANO, MN In a first for the city of Delano, residents in the neighborhood surrounding Krienke Park, at the corner of First Street and Franklin Avenue, are turning volunteer work into a new playground.
It’s part of a pilot program that the Krienke Park neighborhood began participating in four years ago. Residents take care of typical maintenance activities, saving the city about $2,000 per year.
That money has been set aside for a new playground.
With $8,000 in hand, and a commitment from residents to continue maintaining the park, the Delano City Council approved up to $20,000 for the playground and the related site preparation during Tuesday’s meeting.
The playground will be purchased from Landscape Structures Inc. at a cost of $10,800, discounted from the standard retail price of more than $15,000. Site preparation is being estimated at $9,000, though City Administrator Phil Kern believes the actual price will come in below that amount, with help once again from neighborhood residents, who will assist with the build in July or August.
Councilwoman Holly Schrupp, who lives in the neighborhood and abstained from voting, said she planned to look for more support for the park from more individuals.
Kern offered to assist by having city staff develop an informational flier to explain to neighborhood residentss why they were getting a new playground and how they could contribute to the cause.
Draft alternative energy ordinance
Before the Delano Planning Commission reviews the draft alternative energy ordinance, City Planner Alan Brixius provided highlights to the council, and asked for feedback.
The city currently has an ordinance regarding wind energy conversion systems (WECS). A new, all-inclusive ordinance is set to replace it.
In residential areas, WECS would only be allowed on rooftops, and can only protrude 15 feet above the roof. In industrial and commercial areas, the maximum height would be 150 feet, though taller units would be allowed by conditional use permit in industrial areas. Because of the height restriction, Brixius does not believe WECS would cause flicker or pose much of a threat to birds.
He said they could be annoying to neighbors if they squeak, though, so that will need to be taken into consideration.
“My approach has always been not protecting the person who wants to do it, but the neighboring property owners,” Brixius said.
In regards to WECS, the following will be considered: whether they are appropriate for the atmospheric conditions of Minnesota, rotor design, lightning protection, aesthetics, feeder lines must be on the ground except for connection areas, no lighting unless required by the Federal Aviation Administration, and noise.
WECS would require administrative permits for zoning compliance, processed by office staff, and building permits that would have to be approved by the planning commission.
Solar panels would be restricted to rooftops only in residential areas, and not more than 25 percent of the total area, regardless of the area.
In order for WECS or solar panels to be placed on rooftops, applicants would have to demonstrate the roof could handle it. Solar panels would also need to be placed in a manner so firefighters could walk between them in case of an emergency.
Geothermal systems would also be included in the alternative energy policy.
Horizontal systems are shallow and take up more space, while vertical systems go deep into the ground and utilize an antifreeze type of material.
Council members had concerns about containment of that liquid, how deep into the ground a system could go, and how far a part the pipes are from each other.
Brixius said he would research those topics.
Alcohol served on sidewalks?
In late 2015, the city council established an ordinance allowing furniture on city sidewalks with the stipulation that alcohol not be served to individuals using that furniture.
Bonde Bistro has asked the city to reconsider that condition, which the council decided the planning commission should consider.
Brixius identified potential issues with amending the ordinance.
Alcohol consumption in the public rights-of-way would only be defined by the placement of tables and chairs.
Access to the dining and drinking area would not be through the principal building, which is currently required.
There would be no physical barrier preventing people from leaving with drinks or enlarging the service area.
The open area would reduce the supervision of customers.
All other downtown serving establishments were required to pursue a conditional use permit and meet specific standards, such as a fence, for outdoor dining and drinking, so Brixius asked if it would be equitable to change the rules.
“I know we just did South Fork (Brewing) and said, ‘You have to have a fence, you have to have a door, and redo your building,” Councilwoman Betsy Stolfa said.
“If we’re going to look at this not being fenced, I’d have to know what makes this unique because we have three right now, and they all have fences,” Schrupp added.
Councilman Jack Russek questioned amending an ordinance so quickly after establishing it. He also raised the possibility of minors gaining access to alcohol.
“We could have someone go to the restroom, and a kid could come by and finish their drink,” Russek said.
Brixius said if alcohol wasn’t properly monitored and a minor gained access, that the establishment’s liquor license would be in jeopardy.
On the topic of equity, Kern said, “If we consider the change, it would be available for all establishments, but that doesn’t get away from the point that they already invested in this.”
If the change is approved, three standards may be considered, Brixius said.
The liquor license would be expanded to serve liquor beyond the property.
The applicant would be required to provide insurance that names and indemnifies the city from any potential liability that may arise from serving liquor on a city right-of-way.
The applicant would be responsible for policing and patrolling the outdoor dining area with regard to alcohol consumption, nuisance issues, litter, and maintain all operations within the approved area.
Riverfront landscape plan
After the council tabled a landscape plan for the riverfront park during its May 17 meeting, and discussed it more during a May 31 workshop, Assistant City Engineer Shawn Louwagie brought the amended landscape plan before the council.
The plan, which the council approved, will cost $3,349 for plants, compared to $7,800 for the original plan.
Of the new amount, the Big Woods Garden Club is donating $1,000, Randy’s Environmental Services is donating $250, MacLean Law is donating $50, and Dave’s Town Club is donating $50.
Originally, the plan called for a wide variety of annuals and perennials, including along the retaining wall, which will now be a mulched area available for future plantings.
Mayor Dale Graunke explained the rationale behind planting fewer plants than originally proposed.
“Because of the 4th of July, there will be a lot of people here. Because of the influx of people, we were afraid they’d get trampled,” Graunke said. “We wanted to see how it would be treated this year.”
Final completion of the riverfront park is planned for June 26.
Volunteer help will be needed to reach that goal. Russek asked if Sentence to Serve had been contacted, and Louwagie said he would do so. Another suggestion was for National Honor Society students to help with the planting.
Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Louwagie at (763) 479-4200 .
In related business, the council approved a $10 change order in order for the contractor to do a surface treatment on sidewalk that has leaf imprints in it.
“This is something they want to do so they don’t have to replace everything,” Louwagie said. “We’re going to try this first. If it doesn’t work, we’re going to tear it out.”
If the concrete needs to be torn out between now and June 1, 2018, it would be under warranty, due to the change order.