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Collaboration is key for Howard Lake City Council
Aug. 18, 2017

Nan royce
Staff Writer

HOWARD LAKE, MN – The City Council of Howard Lake took several collaborative actions at its meeting Aug. 15.

Mayor Pete Zimmerman and Councilor Tom Kutz, representing the Intergovernmental Council Committee, reported a successful meeting with the school board of Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Schools in regard to a park plan at the former site of the middle school.

School and city representatives determined there was enough interest and value in developing a collaborative park plan for the site.

Moving forward, city staffers will work with SEH, Inc. to create a park plan which will outline potential park amenities, planning and zoning details, and estimates for the construction process of the park, as well as potential maintenance costs.

Both the City of Howard Lake and HLWW Schools agreed to contribute $5,000 toward the scope of services and fee to complete the collaborative park plan.

Collaboration continued

City Administrator Nick Haggenmiller, speaking on behalf of Police Chief David Thompson and Wright County Engineer Virgil Hawkins, presented a memorandum of understanding with Wright County for the installation of dynamic speed signs.

The speed sign project was initiated by the city, and calls for the installation three dynamic signs.

Two of the signs would be placed at the city limits on County Road 6 North and South; the other would be placed on County Road 7 North.

Haggenmiller noted the placement of the signs, which show the posted speed limit at the top, and a live LED display of the speed of vehicles passing the sign on the bottom, “framed in the jurisdiction of Howard Lake.”

Haggenmiller also reported city staffers have received numerous complaints regarding excessive vehicle speeds on County Road 6 North coming into the city.

Wright County will pay for half of the signs and their installation costs along county roads if the requesting city agrees to pay the remaining half.

Attaining the county funds requires the city to enter into the memorandum of understanding.

The council approved entering into the MOU with city costs not to exceed $13,500.

Toppling treehouse

Assistant City Administrator Aurora Yager asked the council to consider a resolution to direct city staff to abate a hazardous building.

The hazardous structure is a treehouse, which Yager said is tilting precariously in a tree located on property at 1121 2nd Avenue.

City staffers have been in contact with the property owner, who has been agreeable about lowering the tree house or setting it down on the ground.

To ensure the process moves forward, the council passed Resolution 17-23 directing staff to abate a hazardous building.

The resolution officially declares the treehouse a hazardous structure and gives the property owner 20 days to take corrective action.

If, after 20 days, the issue is not resolved, the city may obtain a court order to abate the nuisance via district judge.

“It’s cheaper and far more agreeable to let the property owner take care of the situation,” Haggenmiller noted.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• approved summary publication of an ordinance for fire services fees.

• heard a report from Councilor Al Munson regarding a recent Wright County Area Transit meeting, at which providing services for the entirety of Wright County was discussed.

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