Sleepy Eye Council grants variance with waiver

SLEEPY EYE – The Sleepy Eye City Council approved a variance request with waiver contingency Monday by Judd and Jen Walter to build a basement under their home at 901 2nd Ave. N.W.

Walter said his home only has crawl space underneath it, and he wants the added safety of a basement in case of a tornado. The variance allows the lowest floor elevation to be built 2 feet below the high water mark. Existing regulations allow construction not less than 3 feet above the high water mark.

“Building it higher would require lots of steps,” said Walter. He said his home is about 200 feet from Sleepy Eye slough, just east of Sleepy Eye Lake.

The waiver contingency keeps the Walters from holding the City of Sleepy Eye responsible for high water household damage.

Swim team

A spirited note from parents of Sleepy Eye swim team members asked for city council support after learning from Sleepy Eye Park and Recreation representatives that the swim team would not be allowed to exist this summer.

City Manager Mark Kober said a pending lawsuit against the city following an accident on the swim team float at last year’s Corn Days parade is putting more emphasis on liability issues.

“It’s unfortunate, but that’s the world we live in,” Kober said.

Several parents of swim team members said the parade mishap had nothing to do with the swim team itself and that it should be allowed to continue. The team has existed for a number of years, and there is strong interest for it to continue, the parents wrote. In addition, a very adequate facility is available for meets and practices. There are volunteer coaches, and liability insurance is offered by the Girl Scouts of America.

Councilor Nate Stevermer suggested the council draft a liability waiver if needed for the team.

Kober suggested the Girl Scouts Insurance policy be reviewed by the city insurer. He recommended a meeting be held within the next week involving the city attorney, swim team and park and recreation department.

In other action, the city council approved:

A resolution supporting a Street District legislative bill co-authored by Rep. Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska). Kober said a number of large and small cities support the bill that is working its way through the Legislature in St. Paul.

Appointing Shaun Heiderscheidt and Jesse Fischer to the Sleepy Eye Fire Department, pending passage of physicals.

City Engineer Dave Palm’s report on the Snow Farm project including a final $16,650 wetlands banking purchase.

Kober’s report included a final Snow Farm lot assessment roll summary of Phase 1 projects. Potential lot prices vary from $33,558.87 to $83,433.73 (including $47,000 in development costs). Kober said realtors will handle lot sales at 5 percent fees.

A new plumbing business, Wenner Quality Services, DBA Mr. Rooter of South Central Minnesota with a Mankato address, for one year.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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