Council comments on noise ordinance; fence gets approval

NEW ULM – The City Council heard the first reading of the amendment to the City Noise Ordinance on Tuesday. The proposed amendment would change New Ulm’s noise standard to match state regulations.

The council will act on the proposal after a second reading of the ordinance takes place.

Councilor Ken RockVam asked if a time frame would be established for determining compliance with the noise standard. He said noise levels could vary depending on the season.

City Manager Brian Gramentz said no fixed date would be established, but noise checks could be scheduled in six-month increments. Councilor Les Schultz said tests could be conducted in the event a complaint was filed.

Councilor Ruth Ann Webster said the amendment to the ordinance does not have universal appeal. Since the previous public hearing, a constituent contacted her and urged no changes in the current ordinance. The constituent also said consideration was being given to filing a public nuisance complaint against New Ulm Steel and Recycling.

In other action, the council approved construction of a 12-foot-high fence at New Ulm Steel and Recycling. The request came before the Planning Commission on two separate occasions, and no significant concerns were raised.

Schultz said it was in the best interest of New Ulm Steel and Recycling and the City to approve the fence construction because it would cut down noise pollution.

The noise complaints cited at New Ulm Steel and Recycling were the driving influence behind the Council’s decision to revisit the noise ordinance. The company’s installation of a shredder and the subsequent noise problems prompted the review of the noise ordinance.

Planning Commission recommendations approved

The Council approved two recommendations from the Planning Commission for simple lot divisions. They were a request from Scott Krueger on behalf of Bondal, Inc., for a lot divisions at 304-312 on 16th South Street and a request from Garret Meyer for a lot division at 901 S. Valley St.

A Conditional Use Permit was approved for an apartment building at 123 S. Minnesota St. The CUP had previously been approved by the Planning Commission and the Council. The permit was amended to move the structure 83 feet farther south.

Gramentz said a firm was contracted to conduct a soil inspection on the site. The soil may have small amounts of contamination from gasoline and dry cleaning chemicals. Test results have been submitted to Minnesota Pollution Control, and the City is waiting for feedback on how to proceed.

Donations

The Council accepted $7,818 in donations for the City Dog Park. More than 200 people have donated funds to make the dog park possible. At this time more than $15,000 has been raised. The perimeter fence surrounding park has been approved and should be installed within the next few weeks. Lighting and water improvements could eventually follow.

The City also accepted a $1,350 donation from Hearts Beat Back: Heart of New Ulm Project to fund expenses to send Webster to the Pro Walk Pro Bike Pro Place Conference in Pittsburgh on Sept. 8-11. This conference is offered every other year and is hosted by the National Center for Bicycling and Walking.

Pay increase for

election judges

The Council voted to raise the wages for election judges to $8 per hour and the head/assistant election judge to $8.75 hour effective May 6. The raises are in line with legislation recently approved by the State Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton. The raises are being phased in next year and 2016.

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