Should Brainerd residents be penalized with a $25 fine and possible towing of their vehicle for parking in front of their homes for 48 hours at a time?
The Brainerd City Council considered that issue Tuesday night. City engineer Jeff Hulsether reported staff members found the city's ordinance useful when dealing with nuisance complaints.
Council President Kelly Bevans said it was "absolutely ridiculous" to ask a homeowner who pays taxes to move their vehicle three blocks away if they are parked in front of their home for 48 hours as required by city ordinance. Bevans said the whole ordinance needed to be reviewed.
Council member Kevin Goedker agreed, saying in northeast Brainerd it was often imperative for people to park in front of their homes. Council member Mary Koep reported staffers said the rule was useful to remove obviously inoperable vehicles or storage of trailers and recreational vehicles on city streets.
The council sent the issue back to committee and approved the so-called 48-hour rule on a complaint basis, meaning the rule will not be enforced unless a complaint is called in.
In other business, the council:
Agreed to have staff meet with the city prosecutor in regard to the Gas Can convenience store and gas station in northeast Brainerd near Lum Park.
The city gave owner Greg Welna until July 1 to complete site developments such as an incomplete stormwater facility that could result in oil and gas runoff in the Rice Lake shoreland area, continued use of I Street and a glare in the residential neighborhood caused by store lighting. City Attorney Tom Fitzpatrick is meeting with Welna's attorney Thursday. Fitzpatrick asked for time to talk to the attorney in hopes of resolving issues.
Goedker said if the city does not proceed with criminal action it is being taken advantage of. City Planner Mark Ostgarden sought clarification of Welna's use of I Street. Ostgarden said he preferred the city act on Welna's use of I Street, saying it was usurping the council's authority by continuing to do what he wanted at the site.
"I can't recommend he be given more time," Ostgarden said.
A motion suggested by council member Bob Olson to send a letter to Welna's attorney reiterating the city's position on use of I Street failed.
Heard a 2004 audit presentation from Tom Koop and Karen Rizer, Larson Allen. Koop said the city's budget process is sound and ended up with a favorable report. Koop praised city staff for the work. An opinion echoed by Dan Vogt, city administrator.
Council member Bob Olson questioned how $109,756 in arena equipment assets was taken off the report. Koop said the equipment seems to have been disposed of in the 1990s. Olson said the matter should be explored to find out what happened with the equipment.
Approved a $50,000 request from the Brainerd Housing and Redevelopment Authority. The money comes from the city's Housing Revolving Loan Fund and will be used in support of a funding request of up to $210,000 from the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund and Minnesota Housing Finance Agency.
The HRA and Central Minnesota Housing Partnership hope to provide funds allowing at least 14 southeast Brainerd homeowners to fund home rehabilitation using low interest grants and loans. Funding of $44,800 was previously secured from the Federal Home Loan Bank.
Doug Grout, HRA executive director, said the plan is to move the program to other city neighborhoods in the future.
Adopted two new ordinances, one divided the city into an urban service district and a rural service district and the other rezoned Franklin Junior High from residential to business.
Agreed to send a letter to Crow Wing Township responding to township concerns about the annexation of the Lively/Mills property annexation agreement.
Approved a conditional offer of employment to Lance Davis for fire equipment operator.
Promoted Officer Troy Schreifels to temporary sergeant during Sgt. Terry Crocker's one-year leave of absence, which begins Friday.
Offered a building inspector position to Charles Arvidson, an Aitkin native and current resident of Louisiana, at $18 per hour with advancement after passing a building official limited exam or satisfactory completion of a six-month probation.
Called for applicants for openings on the Cable Advisory Board, Library Board and Character Initiative Committee.
Heard Laurel Street is substantially complete and open to traffic with no apparent ill-effect from the Fourth of July activities.
Learned the city is nearing 100 new housing units this year and can expect to have a couple of hundred new housing units by year's end.
RENEE RICHARDSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.
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