Wright County Board Minutes
City of Winsted
City Council Meeting
March 20, 2007
Present: Mayor Steve Stotko, Council Member Tom Ollig, Council Member Bonnie Quast, Council Member Tom Wiemiller, Council Member Dave Mochinski
Staff Present: Brent Mareck, City Administrator; Deb Boelter, City Clerk-Treasurer; Dave Meyer, Maintenance Lead; Mike Henrich, Police Chief; Jeremiah Jessen, Police Officer; Fran Eggert, City Attorney
1) Mayor Stotko called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.
a) The Pledge of Allegiance was taken.
2) Ollig motioned to adopt the Consent Agenda with an amendment to b) Workshop City Council to include a 5:00 p.m. workshop on April 3, 2007 to discuss planning efforts for the City Center and Lakefront Promenade. Wiemiller seconded. Motion carried 5-0.
a) Minutes Regular City Council Meeting March 6, 2007
Accepted the minutes of the Regular City Council Meeting of March 6, 2007.
b) Workshop City Council
Scheduled a workshop for April 3, 2007 at 5:00 p.m. to discuss planning efforts for the City Center and Lakefront Promenade.
Scheduled a workshop for April 3, 2007 at 5:30 p.m. to discuss revisions to the Employee Personnel Policy.
c) Change Order #4 Public Works Building
Approved Change Order #4 for the Public Works Building to add a hard water line and faucet for $210.
d) Salary Step Increase Jeremiah Jessen
Authorized a salary step increase for Jeremiah Jessen, based on a satisfactory review and recommendation by Chief Mike Henrich.
e) Time Clock Public Works Department
Authorized the removal of the time clock at the Public Works Department.
f) Financial Report February, 2007
Approved the February, 2007 financial report.
g) Building Permit Report February, 2007
Approved the February, 2007 building permit report.
h) Claims March 20, 2007
Approved the Claims List for March 20, 2007 as presented.
3) Public Hearings
a) Intoxicating Liquor Ordinance
Mareck presented the proposed amendments to the City of Winsted’s liquor ordinance. Mareck stated that the liquor ordinance was last revised in 1990. Since that time two (2) requests have been heard to allow on-sale until 2:00 am; both of those requests were denied by the City Council. The majority of the proposed language amendments deal with standard updates precipitated by law changes made by the State of Minnesota. The revision to the ordinance also includes a request to extend bar hours on Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. The existing ordinance allows for bars to be open from 12:00 noon to 12:00 midnight on Sunday.
The proposed revision does not include a request for 2:00 a.m. closings; however, Tom Sudheimer, Papa Tom’s Bar & Grill, contacted the City after the public hearing was set to request that the City adopt all on-sale hours as allowed under Minnesota State Statute (including 2:00 a.m. closings). The City does have the authority to make on-sale hours more restrictive than Minnesota State Statute. Sudheimer was informed that such a request could be made during the public hearing and would be acted upon at the discretion of the City Council.
The City of Winsted has more restrictive on-sale hours in the following areas:
1. With a special permit, the State of Minnesota allows on-sale until 2:00 a.m. Monday through Sunday.
The City of Winsted allows on-sale until 1:00 a.m.; Monday through Saturday and 12:00 midnight on Sunday. On-sale is allowed until 1:00 a.m. on Monday (Sunday) provided its New Year’s Eve Day.
2. The State of Minnesota allows on-sale on Christmas Eve Day and Christmas.
The City of Winsted restricts on-sale after 8:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve Day and all day on Christmas.
The City of Winsted’s off-sale requirements are the same as Minnesota State Statute.
Mareck presented an e-mail from Chip Guggemos, 621 Shady Creek Drive, stating his opposition to both the 10:00 a.m. bar opening on Sundays and the 2:00 a.m. bar closing.
Tom Sudheimer, Papa Tom’s Bar and Grill, stated that he is requesting the 10:00 a.m. bar opening time on Sundays to hold special events and to be able to serve alcohol at those events. Sudheimer stated that he would like the City to approve the 2:00 a.m. closing time so that the option is available to him if he would like to keep Papa Tom’s Bar and Grill open until 2:00 a.m.
Ernie Meyer, Ernie’s Bar and Grill, stated that he would like the City to approve the 10:00 a.m. opening time on Sundays so he can offer a breakfast brunch and be available for people who want to have something to eat after church services. He stated that if he cannot open until 12:00 noon most people have eaten by then. Ernie stated that he would like the City to approve the 2:00 a.m. closing time so that the option is available to him if he would like to keep Ernie’s Bar and Grill open until 2:00 a.m.
Ollig asked Eggert if Minnesota State Statute would allow the bar to be open at 10:00 a.m. to serve food as long as they have the alcohol covered until 12:00 noon. Eggert stated that he would have to review the Statute.
Neil Schlagel, The Blue Note Bar and Restaurant, stated that The Blue Note is currently not open on Sundays but if they decide to open on Sundays in the future he would like to have the 10:00 a.m. opening time to offer a breakfast brunch. Schlagel stated that he believes that the 2:00 a.m. closing time is inevitable in the future so he would like to see the Council approve it.
Brian Langenfeld, Keg’s Bar, stated that he would use the 10:00 a.m. bar opening time on only periodically on Sundays throughout the year, but believes that the other Winsted bars should have the right to be open at 10:00 a.m. to serve alcohol. Langenfeld stated that he would only use the 2:00 a.m. closing time if the City did not impose an additional liquor license fee for the extended hour.
Helen Guggemos, 137 Fairlawn Avenue East, stated that the bar owners purchased the bar businesses knowing that the City of Winsted’s liquor ordinance restricted hours of operation from 12:00 noon to 12:00 midnight on Sundays and 1:00 a.m. closing times Monday through Saturday. Guggemos stated that she did contact other surrounding communities to prepare a report that detailed their liquor ordinance’s Sunday hours of operation. She distributed a copy of the report to the Council members, staff, and Sudheimer. Guggemos asked the Council to consider how it would benefit the City of Winsted if the bars were allowed to open at 10:00 a.m. on Sundays.
Mary Barron, 540 Barrett Street South, asked the City to prepare a cost analysis of what the extended hours of service, (requested by the bar owners), would mean to the City in terms of additional police protection and other expenses to the City. Barron asked if the City of Winsted wants to be known as a “booze town”, and does the City want the added problems with the extended hours. Barron stated her concerns about the additional police hours that would have to be used due to the problems generated from the extended hours. She stated that she would like to see the Police Department spending their time serving in other ways.
Mochinski asked Henrich if he noticed an increase in problems when the bars were allowed to be open on Sundays. Henrich stated that he would have to review his statistical data to determine if the City of Winsted had an increase in problems when the bars began opening on Sundays. Henrich stated that currently only half of the Sundays have police coverage in the City of Winsted. Henrich stated that he is not concerned about the bars serving food but he is concerned about some of the events they may offer. A large motorcycle rally may require additional police coverage.
Henrich stated that he is concerned about the proposal to have the bars remain open until 2:00 a.m. Henrich stated that the extended hours will mean additional problems for the Police Department, which will result in an added expense to the City of Winsted in terms of increased overtime of the police officers.
Mochinski asked Henrich if he has an opinion. Henrich stated that if the request to open bars on Sundays at 10:00 a.m. is for food service and Vikings games, he does not have any issues.
Ollig motioned to close the Public Hearing. Quast seconded. Motion carried 5-0.
Ollig welcomed Tom Sudheimer, Papa Tom’s Bar and Grill, and Ernie Meyer, Ernie’s Bar and Grill, to the City of Winsted. Ollig stated that the City Council is not in the position to legislate morality. He stated that he is torn about the proposed 10:00 a.m. opening time and after evaluating it, does not see any compelling reason to open at 10:00 a.m. Ollig further stated that he does not want to see the bars remain open to 2:00 a.m.
Quast stated that in her twenty (20) years as a Council member she has never received so many comments and telephone calls regarding an issue as she has for the request to extend the hours of operation for the bars in the City. Quast stated that the residents voted for her because of what she stands for and she believes that Sunday is a time for God. She is opposed to the 10:00 a.m. bar opening time on Sundays and the 2:00 a.m. closing time due to the number of comments she has received.
Mochinski stated that the large majority of residents that contacted him asked him to leave the liquor ordinance hours of operation alone; therefore, he would like to leave the hours as presented in the proposed liquor ordinance.
Wiemiller stated that he has not received any comments in favor of changing the times and also believes that it is morally wrong to change the bar’s hours of operation. He stated that he believes that Sunday is set aside for God.
Mayor Stotko stated that he is neutral on the issue. He stated that he is not a church going person and does not drink alcohol. Mayor Stotko stated that he was elected to do what the community wants and the comments he received do not want the liquor ordinance hours of operation changed. Mayor Stotko agreed with Ollig that the City Council is not in the position to regulate morality but the community is what it is.
The Council discussed opening at 10:00 a.m. for food service and no alcohol service until 12:00 noon.
Mareck stated that he and Henrich had discussed this option and were concerned about how the City would enforce the bars to only serve food and not alcohol at 10:00 a.m. Ollig stated that if the bar owners want to risk losing their liquor license by serving alcohol before 12:00 noon that is their issue.
Stotko recommended that the City Council continue the public hearing for the proposed liquor ordinance until Eggert can do some research on the issues and questions brought forward.
Brian Langenfeld, Keg’s Bar, expressed concerned about how many of the comments the Council received are people who actually do not support the bars in Winsted.
Mochinski stated that Langenfeld was correct in his concerns but asked Langenfeld why the supporting patrons of the bars were not in attendance at the public hearing. Mochinski stated that they also could have called the Council members to express their support for the extended hours of operation.
Sudheimer presented the Council with a signed petition of patrons in favor of the bars being open from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. (Monday) on Sundays.
Wiemiller motioned to continue the Public Hearing to adopt Ordinance O-07-03 amending the Intoxicating Liquor Ordinance in the City of Winsted until the April 3rd, 2007 Regular Council meeting. Quast seconded. Motion carried 5-0.
Mayor Stotko thanked those in attendance at the Public Hearing that expressed their views on the proposed liquor ordinance amendments.
b) 2007 Fee Schedule
Mareck presented the proposed 2007 Fee Schedule.
Mareck stated that the City did not hold a public hearing in the past to approve the fee schedule but believed that it was important to receive public comment on the proposed changes.
Wiemiller motioned to close the Public Hearing. Mochinski seconded. Motion carried 5-0.
Ollig stated that it is important to note that the City of Winsted’s proposed fees are less than other surrounding communities.
Ollig motioned to adopt Ordinance O-07-04 setting the 2007 Fee Schedule for the City of Winsted. Wiemiller seconded. Motion carried 5-0.
4) Old Business
a) On-Street Parking Campers and Trailers Council Member Ollig
Ollig stated that he met with several City of Winsted residents that have campers parked on City streets in the summer months and presented the following for the City to consider:
1. Limit parking restrictions of campers, trailers and boats to certain streets in the City based on their traffic volume and street width.
2. On-street parking of campers, trailers and boats would not be allowed on 1st Street, 2nd Street, Linden Avenue, Baker Avenue and narrow streets such as those in Winsted on the Lake.
3. Campers, trailers and boats would be allowed to park on those streets but only for six (6) hours for loading and unloading.
4. On the streets of 1st Street, 2nd Street, Linden Avenue and Baker Avenue, this would take effect April 1st, 2007.
5. On the streets in Winsted on the Lake, they would be given a one year moratorium to allow the residents to make parking arrangements for their campers, trailers, and/or boats.
6. In the year 2010, the City propose a new ordinance restricting camper, trailer and boat parking to a maximum of 48 hours to load or unload on any City street.
Ollig recommended that Henrich evaluate all the streets in the City of Winsted to identify if they are high traffic and/or too narrow.
Ollig asked residents to give him a call if they have any additional comments regarding the camper, trailer and boat parking on City of Winsted streets.
Mochinski asked how many campers are being parked in the City of Winsted. Ollig stated that there are approximately thirty-five (35) campers. Ollig further stated that approximately twenty (20) residents park their campers on their property and twelve (12) park them on the City streets.
Ollig stated that the issues considered in regards to camper, trailer and boat parking on City streets include:
1. Public Works department’s ability to maintain the streets.
2. The aesthetics.
Quast stated that safety should be the Council’s main concern.
Mareck stated that he will use the recommendations from Ollig to prepare information on camper, trailer and boat parking in the City of Winsted, give the Council options to consider, and present at a future Council meeting.
5) New Business
a) Resolution R-07-07 Compliance with Reimbursement Bond Regulations
Boelter presented Resolution R-07-07, a resolution allowing the City of Winsted to use bond proceeds to be reimbursed for City Center and Lakefront Promenade expenses incurred prior to the issuance of the bonds for the project.
Quast motioned to adopt Resolution R-07-07 establishing procedures relating to compliance with reimbursement bond regulations under the Internal Revenue Code. Ollig seconded. Motion carried 5-0.
b) Business Subsidy Policy
Mareck stated that the State of Minnesota requires the City to have a Business Subsidy Policy to be used as a guide when using economic development tools such as tax abatement, tax increment financing and the JOBZ program. The policy outlines and distinguishes goals and benchmarks for the use of subsidies in economic development. Criteria in the policy include; redevelopment, attraction of new business, highest and best land use, needed services, unmet housing needs, economic feasibility, impact on city services, job creation, tax base and the but-for-test.
Mareck stated that the existing policy sets no threshold for job creation or retention. The proposed policy requires the creation or retention of at least ten (10) jobs and raises the minimum wage/benefit requirement from nine dollars ($9) per hour to twelve dollars ($12) per hour. The City of Winsted has several businesses that approach the City about locating or relocating in our community. This amendment to the Business Subsidy Policy would allow the City of Winsted to give potential businesses a more accurate assessment and to be more selective in what businesses they want to establish in the community.
Wiemiller asked if the proposed amendment would affect existing businesses in the City of Winsted. Mareck stated that it would not and would only be used in the consideration of new businesses.
Ollig motioned to amend the City of Winsted’s Business Subsidy Policy to set the minimum job creation/retention requirement at ten (10) employees and the minimum wage/benefit requirement at twelve dollars ($12) per hour. Quast seconded. Motion carried 5-0.
c) Appliance Recycling Winsted Brush Site
Mareck presented a proposal from McLeod County Solid Waste to expand appliance, e-waste, and electronic disposal by offering a drop-off program at the City of Winsted’s Brush Site. This would allow residents to dispose of appliances, e-waste, and electronics at any time the Brush Site is open. There are restrictions on the number of items a resident may dispose of in one year. Residents would have to come to City Hall to pay the required fee for disposal of their item and obtain a permit to present to the Brush Site supervisor.
Wiemiller motioned to authorize the City of Winsted’s participation in the McLeod County Recycling program at the Winsted Brush Site. Mochinski seconded. Motion carried 5-0.
d) Easement Request Papa Tom’s Bar & Grill
Mareck presented an application from Tom Sudheimer, Papa Tom’s Bar and Grill, requesting an approximately 2- feet easement into the City’s right-of-way on Main Avenue West to facilitate the installation of venting equipment for a fryer in his establishment. Sudheimer owns approximately 1- feet on the south side of this building and the venting equipment is about 50- inches (or just over four (4) feet).
Mareck stated that Eggert had informed him that the City would not be approving an easement and Eggert would explain.
Normally, other than building code issues, the City would not be required to take action for this type of request; however, since the City would be giving up right-of-way (via the easement) the Council can dictate placement. The unit could go on the roof, but would cost the applicant more in roofing expenses.
Mareck stated that if the City Council would proceed with this action; the applicant should provide a full survey of the easement area, along with approval of the proposed system from the Building Inspector and the Minnesota Department of Health.
Mareck asked the City Council to consider the impact this type of equipment would have on the Lakefront Promenade improvement being planned for in this area.
Mareck presented photographs of similar vents located at Mill Creek Restaurant in Buffalo, Minnesota and Alice’s Restaurant in Montrose, Minnesota.
If the Council approves the application, Mareck recommended that Sudheimer be prevented from installing a sidewalk under the venting to avoid someone slipping on the grease that drips from the vent.
Sudheimer stated that he would install a hose on the vent that would discharge the grease into a garbage can hidden by a painted box.
Mochinski stated that Sudheimer has expended a lot of time and money into making improvements on the building exterior and he believes that Sudheimer will be careful about the installation of the vent and how it looks.
Quast asked Sudheimer about the air exchange that he stated needs to be installed. Sudheimer stated that he checked with the air exchange distributor and it can be installed in the basement of the building.
Wiemiller stated that he would like to have the Downtown Renewal Commission review Sudheimer’s proposal. It is the first building that some people will see when using the Lakefront Promenade and the Downtown Renewal Commission had discussed painting a decorative mural on the side of the building.
Wiemiller asked Sudheimer how noisy the vent is going to be because an amphitheater is proposed to be constructed in Mill Reserve Park near Papa Tom’s Bar and Grill. Sudheimer stated that the vent should not interfere with events in the amphitheater. Sudheimer also stated that the grill and vent would be closed at 10:00 p.m.
Sudheimer stated that the vent would not be an eyesore and that it would allow him to serve food to inebriated people to help them become sober.
Quast asked if the vent could be painted to match the building. Mareck stated that he checked with the vent manufacturer and it could be painted with a specific type of paint.
Sudheimer stated that he would paint the vent and grease box to match the buildings exterior.
Wiemiller again stated that the Downtown Renewal Commission should review the application.
Eggert stated that there is a legal issue because it is a City street. Main Avenue is a platted street and so the City cannot give an easement but a permit. Eggert contacted the League of Minnesota Cities regarding this issue and they recommended that the City of Winsted adopt a right-of-way ordinance so that the City has a legal way to address Sudheimer’s request.
Mochinksi asked Eggert if the vent is considered an obstruction and needs approval through a right-of-way ordinance even though it is proposed to be installed on the building. Eggert stated that it still needs to be approved through a right-of-way ordinance. Eggert stated that the City needs to outline a process to grant such permits. Mareck stated that the City of Winsted’s Municipal Code does not have anything in place regulating requests such as Sudheimer’s.
Ollig motioned to schedule a Public Hearing on April 17, 2007 at 6:00 p.m. to consider adopting a right-of-way ordinance; and address Sudheimer’s venting request. Wiemiller seconded. Motion carried 5-0.
e) City Goals and Leadership Retreat
The Mayor and Council members expressed their appreciation for the City of Winsted’s Leadership, Planning and Team Building Retreat.
Mareck presented the 2007 Leadership, Planning, and Team Building Retreat’s Executive Summary.
Quast motioned to adopt the “Executive Summary” of the “City of Winsted’s Leadership, Planning and Team Building Retreat”; specifically including the 2007 Goals, City of Winsted Mission Statement and City of Winsted Values Statement. Mochinski seconded. Motion carried 5-0.
f) 2007 Squad Equipment and Install
Henrich presented the bids for equipment and labor costs to remove and install the police equipment from the old squad car to the new squad car.
Wiemiller motioned to accept the bid from LJR Services for police equipment not to exceed $6,981 and labor costs to install/remove squad equipment not to exceed $1,995. Ollig seconded. Motion carried 5-0.
6) Department Reports
a) City Clerk
Boelter reported on the following:
• Minnesota Clerks and Finance Officers Association Annual Conference
• Minnesota Clerks Institute Scholarship
• 2006 Audit Preparation
• Tree City Application
• Arbor Day April 27, 2007
7) No Open Forum.
a) Five Star Direct Air Compressor
Mareck gave an update on Five Star Direct’s air compressor that has been a noise nuisance for City of Winsted residents. Dick Borrell, Five Star Direct has asked to approach the City Council for financial assistance in mitigating the noise nuisance created by the existing air compressor. Mareck requested that Borrell be invited to the next City Council meeting to present his proposal. Mareck stated that this would allow him to present Five Star Direct’s mitigation ideas to the Council, and it would also give the residents an opportunity to present their issues with the air compressor. The Council directed Mareck to invite Borrell to the next Council meeting.
b) Lester Prairie Boys Basketball Team Letter of Congratulations Minnesota State Basketball Tournament
Mayor Stotko recommended that the City of Winsted send a letter of congratulations to the Lester Prairie High School Boys Basketball Team for their participation in the Minnesota State High School Boys Basketball Tournament.
Ollig motioned to send a letter of congratulations on behalf of the City of Winsted to the Lester Prairie High School Boys Basketball Team for their participation in the Minnesota State High School Boys Basketball Tournament. Mochinski seconded. Motion carried 5-0.
Quast motioned to adjourn. Wiemiller seconded. Motion carried 5-0.
Deborah R. Boelter
Published in the Herald Journal April 16, 2007.