BAXTER - Because of a recreational fire ban in Baxter, the city has extended the dates that it's leaf disposal site will be open.
The Baxter City Council on Tuesday approved extending the closing date of the leaf disposal site from Monday to June 1.
Public Works Director Trevor Walter recommended extending the dates for the leaf disposal site after Brainerd Fire Chief Fred Underhill on Monday issued a fire ban in Brainerd and Baxter until further notice due to the high fire danger in the area. The ban means Baxter residents are unable to burn their leaves and brush.
Through June 1, the leaf disposal site, at Mapleton Road and Jasperwood Drive in south Baxter, will be open from 3-7 p.m. on Tuesdays, 3-7 p.m. on Thursdays, 3-7 p.m. on Fridays, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturdays and 1-6 p.m. on Sundays. No brush or garbage is accepted. An attendant will be on site.
Police Chief Jim Exsted, who conferred with Underhill on the ban, said he was in favor of such because he didn't want to see another wildfire like the one that swept through five acres of swamp and woods May 1 off Woida Road in north Baxter.
"Until we get rain, the recommendations will probably stay the same; we'll stay with the burning ban," said Exsted, who also expressed concern about DNR-permitted construction fires in the city.
The DNR this week issued an order advising that fires larger than an outdoor cooking fire would not be allowed in the north-central part of the state. Cooking fires are only allowed if they are associated with a residence, dwelling or campground.
"It would be irresponsible for us to not acknowledge their request," Mayor Darrel Olson said.
In addition to the DNR's order, burning restrictions remain in place for the Brainerd area. The DNR only allows burning with a permit on a case-by-case basis because of need or hardship. As of Monday, the DNR was issuing no permits.
In other action, the council:
Approved by a 4-1 vote a 10-year tax increment financing district for developer Mike Swenson, who plans to build a 50-unit senior housing apartment project named Arbor Glenn 2 off Excelsior Road. Terms of the TIF agreement were that Swenson would set aside 15 of the apartments for low- to moderate-income tenants at 30 percent of the moderate income of Crow Wing County, or $515 a month. Olson voted against.
Authorized staffers to enter into contract with Anderson Brothers and Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. for the construction of an additional two lanes on Cypress Drive as it is extended through Baxter Town Center.
Set a council workshop for 6:30 p.m. June 5 to review the 2006 annual audit.
Heard a presentation from Camp Ripley officials on the upcoming training season schedule and special events.
Heard a brief presentation from members of the Community Behavioral Health Hospital Liaison Committee, which reported no problems with the 16-bed, state-run psychiatric hospital on Grand Oaks Drive.
Denied by a 4-1 vote a request from Denny Hecker Automotive, which is building a Toyota dealership off Highway 371 in north Baxter, to give a presentation to the council concerning illuminated portal walls at the business. Community Development Director Bill Deblon said that when the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Architectural Review Committee approved the conditional-use permit for the dealership in December, one of the conditions was that the portal wall on the front of the building not be illuminated. Deblon said that if the portal wall was lighted, it would be considered a sign under the city's ordinance. Council member Jim Klein voted against the denial.
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