City Council Meeting Minutes - September 23, 2013

Date: 
September 23, 2013

MINUTES OF THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING

SEPTEMBER 23, 2013

 

Pursuant to due call and notice thereof, a regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Saint Peter was conducted in the Governors' Room of the Community Center on September 23, 2013.

A quorum present, Mayor pro tem Pfeifer called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.  The following members were present:  Councilmembers Zieman, Pfeifer, Kvamme, Eichmann, Brand, and Carlin.  Absent was Mayor Strand.  The following officials were present: City Administrator Prafke, City Attorney Brandt, and City Engineers Domras and Loose.

Approval of Agenda – A motion was made by Brand, seconded by Eichmann, to approve the agenda.  With all in favor, the motion carried. 

Public Hearing – Gateway District Regulations – City Administrator Prafke reviewed the rules and procedures the Council has adopted for public hearings.  Mayor pro tem Pfeifer opened the public hearing on expansion of Gateway Overlay (GO) District regulations at 7:04 p.m.  Community Development Director Wille provided an overview of the proposed changes which involved expansion of the district regulations to additional properties north of Union Street.  Wille stated the GO District regulations were put in place to promote high quality development within the Highway 169 corridor and to establish and image and character that is distinctly Saint Peter.  Wille indicated that should the regulations be expanded to additional properties, nine parcels would be impacted and should the use classification of those parcels change in the future; the properties would be required to adhere to the GO standards.  Wille reported the owners of Kwik Trip had expressed their appreciation for the GO regulations because the regulations ensure that any future development in their area would be done at the same high standard as their business.  Wille specifically stated that the proposed ordinance only expanded the number of properties that must comply with the regulations and did not change the regulations as previously adopted.

Wille read into the record a letter submitted by First National Bank, Nicollet County Bank, and Hometown Bank officials, asking the Council to reconsider and rescind the GO district regulations or modify the regulations so that only new construction or substantial exterior reconstruction is subject to the requirements.

Michael Bresnahan, President of First National Bank and one of the authors of the letter, addressed the Council to indicate the banker’s feelings that the regulations inhibit the fair valuation and marketing of properties and would not allow property owners to sell their property for fair and equitable prices. 

Ed Lee, President and CEO of the St. Peter Chamber of Commerce, addressed the Council on behalf of the Chamber members to ask that the Council “be as business friendly as possible” when enacting regulations and to consider the ideas presented in the letter from the bankers.

Jim Tucker, Assistant Chief Financial Officer of Cambria, expressed his agreement with the previous speakers and expressed concern about the possibility of future zoning changes in the area.  Tucker also expressed concern that his only notification of possible changes regarding Cambria’s property is when he receives letters from the City.  Tucker asked for as much advance contact as possible so Cambria isn’t surprised by proposals from the City.

There being no further speakers, the hearing was declared closed at 7:20 p.m.

Approval of Minutes – A motion was made by Kvamme, seconded by Zieman, to approve the minutes of the September 9, 2013 regular City Council meeting.  With all in favor, the motion carried and the minutes were approved.  A complete copy of the minutes of the September 9, 2013 regular City Council meeting is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Proceedings 18. 

Consent Agenda – In motion by Carlin, seconded by Brand, Resolution No. 2013-133 entitled “Resolution Approving Consent Agenda“ was introduced.  Councilmember Zieman questioned whether the deposits to the Wilson Development trust account were close to ending.  City Administrator Prafke indicated the $4,000 deposit was projected to be the end of the monies needed for moving expenses for the Washington Avenue Link Improvement Project.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-133 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19.

General Obligation Municipal State Aid Bond Issuance – City Administrator Prafke recommended authorization be provided for sale of bonds to finance City costs associated with the Washington Avenue Link Improvement Project, the Old Minnesota Avenue/Union Street intersection work; and the Old Minnesota Avenue/St. Julien Street project.  Shannon Sweeney of David Drown Associates provided information on the possible bond sale which would occur on October 28th and be callable on February 1, 2020.  Sweeney recommended a competitive sale of the bonds and acquiring a bond rating from Standard and Poor’s.  Sweeney also noted that repayment of the bonds would commit 85% of the City’s Municipal State Aid payments for the next 14 years and the 85% amount is lower than what is allowed to be used under State Statute, but is being proposed because staff believes the City’s MSA allotment will decrease in the next few years.  Sweeney also stated the State of Minnesota would make those payments directly to the bond holders.  In motion by Kvamme, seconded by Carlin, Resolution No. 2013-134 entitled “Resolution Providing For The Competitive Negotiated Sale Of $4,720,000 General Obligation Municipal State Aid Bonds, Series 2013C”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-134 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Gateway Overlay District Expansion –  Community Development Director Wille presented the Planning and Zoning Commission recommendation for expansion of the Gateway Overlay District on the north end of the community.    Councilmember Zieman indicated he had initially supported the expansion, but had changed his mind and suggested that “grandfathering” the existing structures in made more sense rather than burdening existing business owners.

Wille provided more information on the phrase “use classification” and indicated that just because an electrician is currently using a building, that didn’t limit future uses to electricians and that it was more of a business to similar business situation.  Using Volk Electric building as an example, Wille stated the building could be used by contractors, plumbers, masons, or any tradesman and that interpretation of the ordinance would, indeed, be done in a business friendly manner.

City Administrator Prafke reminded everyone that the action before the Council was simply to expand the district and not to change the existing regulations which is what the bankers and others in the audience appeared to be concerned about.

Councilmember Kvamme stated the new development in the area of Hallett’s Pond was triggering the expansion of the district, but indicated the area will attract national businesses who will want assurances that neighboring properties will also look good.  Kvamme also suggested that if the higher quality construction standards was a financial hardship for property owners that the Economic Development Authority should consider helping the nine property owners. 

Councilmember Carlin suggested that the City find a way to help the nine property owners now before they are forced to make the changes.

Councilmember Brand questioned what was meant by the phrase “distinctly Saint Peter image” and suggested the Council have a deeper discussion about policy and Gateway Overlay districts.

In motion by Carlin, seconded by Kvamme, Ordinance No. 12, Third Series entitled “An Ordinance Amending Saint Peter City Code Chapter 24, ‘Land Use Regulations And Zoning’ And Section 24-6 ‘Official Map’ To Rezone Certain Property To The Gateway Overlay District And Adopting By Reference Saint Peter City Code Chapter 1 Section 1-6, Which, Among Other Things, Contain Penalty Provisions”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, Councilmembers Eichmann, Kvamme, Pfeifer, Brand, and Carlin voting aye, Councilmember Zieman voting nay, the Ordinance was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Ordinance No. 12, Third Series is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Ordinances 2.

Administrative Secretary Job Description – City Administrator Prafke suggested changes to the job description for the Public Works Administrative Secretary position.  Prafke reminded Councilmembers that position descriptions are reviewed each time a vacancy occurs and staff was recommending the changes to more accurately reflect the essential duties of the position as well as the minimum qualifications necessary to successfully perform the job.  Prafke noted the description now included responsibilities for the City’s key control system but and responsibilities where the position served as a backup to other Department staff but had been removed as those duties were already covered under the phrase “assists other department personnel as directed”.  In motion by Kvamme, seconded by Carlin, Resolution No. 2013-135 entitled “Resolution Approving Modification To Public Works Administrative Secretary Job Description”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-135 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Reports

Mayor pro tem’s Report – Mayor pro tem Pfeifer noted that Mayor Strand was currently out of town.

City/County Meeting Discussion – Mayor pro tem Pfeifer reported discussion at the City/County meeting of September 11th included transit expansions, MnDOT, the new County office building, Gardner Road improvements, Highway 169 projects; development activities; Library services and the bookmobile; stormwater facility sharing, compost facility relocation; and the request for proposals for the redevelopment of the tax forfeited portion of Welco West Subdivision.

Goal Session Discussion-  City Administrator Prafke reported the City Council had a lengthy goal session on September 10th.   Councilmembers noted the next goal session was scheduled for November 26th.

Executive Session – Land Acquisition Negotiations – City Administrator Prafke requested a closed session of the Council to discuss land acquisition negotiations for property related to the Washington Avenue Link Improvement Project and property related to additional park land.  In motion by Kvamme, seconded by Brand, Resolution No. 2013-136 entitled “Resolution Calling For Executive Session”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-136 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

The City Council adjourned to closed session in the Traverse des Sioux room of the Community Center at 8:11 p.m. to discuss the land acquisition related to the Washington Avenue Link Improvement Project.  The closed session ended at 8:27 p.m.

The Council began the closed session to discuss the parkland acquisition at 8:27 p.m.  The Council returned to open session at 9:02 p.m.

There being no further business, a motion was made by Carlin, seconded by Brand, to adjourn.  With all in favor, the motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 9:03 p.m.