Annexation led a multitude of topics at the Brainerd City Council retreat Monday at the Holiday Inn.
Discussion revolved around choosing between using a resolution process to annex land or using an ordinance for annexation.
Brainerd has sent a resolution for annexation to Minnesota Planning, which will approve or deny the resolution. The city is also annexing three parcels through ordinance.
Dan Vogt, Brainerd city administrator, said the problem with using a resolution to annex land is that Minnesota Planning has rigid rules saying the resolution process can't start until the ordinances are adopted.
Vogt recommended to the council that the city annex land using only ordinances. Under ordinances, any number of parcels can be annexed as long as the owners petition for annexation, the parcels are under 60 acres and the property abuts the city.
The city is also waiting for petitions from the Northland Arboretum, Crow Wing County and the state for parcels of land.
The Crow Wing County property is of special concern for the city. Though it is only about three acres, it separates proposed annexation lands that have petitioned, blocking abutment to the city.
Vogt said the city could either annex the land or buy it, but if the arboretum annexes to the city, the problem would be alleviated.
There was also discussion on annexation possibilities south of Brainerd. Council member Gene Goedker said the issue has been brought to residents south of the city before and they didn't want to be annexed. Vogt said the city will identify abutting properties south of the city and send letters to them to see if they would be interested in annexation.
Council member Gary Scheeler said he understands Menards is also interested in building in Brainerd. He said Menards is buying the Deerland property owned by Gene Tank. Tank had petitioned Brainerd for annexation.
Extending Dial-A-Ride for the entire county was also a topic. Vogt said that 64 out of 87 Minnesota counties currently do this. Several council members said they wanted to be sure that the city and county transit systems remain separate.
Change zoning in some sections of the city to allow liquor establishments to be located in places other than in downtown and in small strips on other streets was discussed.
Housing inspections was a topic of concern because many council members felt the Housing and Redevelopment Authority hasn't been doing as much with inspections as it should.
"It's in the budget and they haven't been earning their money as far as I'm concerned," Council member Debbie Olander said. She said the HRA doesn't follow through with inspections, and that information from inspections often conflicts with the Safety and Public Works Committee's information from inspections.
Vogt said it is a process that needs to go better, and he is meeting with Doug Grout, executive director of the Housing and Redevelopment Authority, to discuss the issue.
A water tower on the south end of the city was also aired. The council is awaiting a study from the firm of Toltz, King, Duval and Anderson, which is doing an overall water study for the city. Vogt said if the study finds a water pressure problem on the south side of the city, there would be a need for a water tower there.
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