12/26/2013 10:22:00 AM CF OKs plans; rejects software purchase
by Ken Haggerty
The city of Cannon Falls continues to grow with another annexation from Cannon Falls Township underway in the area of the new Hwy. 52 overpass, interchange and connecting roads project, which is due for completion in the Fall of 2014. At its December 17 meeting, the Cannon Falls city council approved the petition of Kevin and Andrea DeGarmo to annex approximately six acres of land that they own west of Hwy. 52.
Cannon Falls Township approved the plan at its December 18 meeting.
The property is currently undeveloped and unpopulated. It is located directly adjacent to where a new roundabout, a new "backage" road, and the new County 24 are being built.
Molenaar lot variance
The council approved without discussion the request for a variance from Dr. Karl Molenaar on behalf of the Robert and Mary Molenaar Trusts.
The variance will allow a residential lot to be created within the Urban Reserve District that does not comply with the minimum width standard of 250-feet (it's about 180 feet). The proposed 11.4 acre lot area exceeds the 10-acre minimum area requirement in the Urban Reserve District, but doesn't control frontage along Hwy. 20 after it was split to sell off two other lots last year.
The lot will be accessed from Hwy. 20, just past where Hwy. 20 splits and heads toward Hastings (across from the old Peter Trucking lot).
Tax forfeited Sandstone lots
The 42 Sandstone Ridge lots, tax forfeited to the State due to the non-payment of real estate taxes, went to public auction on November 14 and none were purchased.
The city council approved a plan developed with Goodhue County that would have the city take control of the lots and market them for a development that is suitable for the soil conditions. Under the plan, when a development project is found the city would work with the developer to clean up any damaged infrastructure.
The city has about $214,000 in pending assessments on the lots that it would attempt to recover through the sale of the land.
The Sandstone Ridge development is on the south side of Goodhue County 25, east of County 24. The residential development went in just as the real estate boom was busting. Many of the roads, curbs and gutters that went in have buckled and/or collapsed. The development is built in area with some blue-green clay and shale that requires extra consideration for solid foundation purposes.
The city hopes to use the land for a commercial-industrial use that will not require many structures, will not require subsurface construction, and could utilize large areas of outside storage.
There are seven of the lots that are on Valley Court on the lower section of the development (closer to Sunrise Villa) that the city will try and sell for on-grade single family or townhomes.
Council says no to software
The council rejected a proposal from city administrator Aaron Reeves to have the city purchase a $2,800 Opengov.com software package that takes city budget data and makes it easily reviewable and searchable on the city web site by citizens and other interested parties.
Council members questioned Reeves and were told that there is no current overwhelming request for budget information from the public at the current time. Council members said there are other uses where they would rather see the money spent, or to have it not spent it at all.
SAC/WAC set at $750
The council approved new sewer and water access charges (SAC and WAC) for 2014. The city has charged residential properties $8,400 for both, although it has waived the charges to varying degrees in recent years to encourage building.
The intent of SAC/WAC is to have new homes pay toward the existing infrastructure that other properties have paid for in the past.
The city figures actual cost of staff time, meter fee, recycling set-up fee, and excavation permit for a residential SAC/WAC is $750.
The new fee will be $2,750, with $2,000 of that returned if no damage is done to the existing city mains infrastructure during the connection process.
The city is reviewing commercial/industrial fees more closely and may recommend changes in the future.
City to study alleys
The city council approved its consulting engineer, SEH, to conduct a study of city alleys for potential improvements to rectify drainage and surface concerns. The study is not to exceed $11,600.
The city maintains 2.8 miles of alley, 1.2 miles of which are paved.
Reeves job to be posted
The council approved advertising for a replacement for Reeves, who is resigning effective January 17, 2014 to take a new position with the city of Rochester