Council OKs urban chickens

NEW ULM The New Ulm City Council gave final approval Tuesday to the urban chicken ordinance.

The action followed the second reading of the ordinance with additional changes made by the Council. A major stipulation requires all applicants to seek approval from neighboring properties. The original ordinance stated the approval of all property owners within 50 feet of property lines was necessary. Councilors agreed to this change because they felt it was more in line with the original intention of the regulation.

City Manager Brian Gramentz addressed concerns of enforcement officers regarding the removal of dead chickens. As originally written, the ordinance required dead chickens to be disposed of within 24 hours. Staff felt 24 hours was too long.

Attorney Hugh Nierengarten suggested a change stating that dead chickens needed to be disposed of immediately or within 24 hours. This amendment was made to the ordinance and was approved by the Council.

The chicken ordinance will go into effect within 30 days after it is published.

Summit Avenue Repairs

The Council discussed repairs to Summit Avenue.

City Engineer Steve Koehler explained that Summit Avenue went through extensive utility improvements in 2012 from Center Street to 10th South Street.

“Since then we have experienced some trench settlement,” said Koehler. “For anyone that has driven that segment you can feel the bumpy ride.”

City Staff has been working with the contractor to develop a plan. As time goes by, further settling will occur which should alleviate some of the problem. In the next few weeks a few repairs will be made in the form of a skim coat on the settled areas. Next spring the road will be re-evaluated. If further work is still needed, the contractor will do a mill and overlay.

The sidewalk settling will be fixed this fall, but the City wants to go through one more freeze and thaw hoping the worst problems will be resolved with time. Koehler added that contractor MR Paving and its sub-contractor will be taking on the additional expense. The City is not paying for any of the repairs.

Property annexation

for Schell’s

The Council approved the annexation of a property located south and west of County State Aid Highway 29/North Garden Street and northwest of North Highland Avenue, which is part of the Milford Township. In addition the Council approved a petition from the Arndt Family Trust to zone the property as a General Industrial (I-2) District.

The Arndt Family Trust is requesting the re-zoning of the property to allow its sale to the August Schell Brewing Company. The brewery intends to build a small warehouse complex on the site. The plan is to break ground in October.

“Over the years we have obviously grown quite a bit,” said Ted Marti of Schell’s Brewing Company. “We’ve been looking for another piece of property that fits our needs.”

Marti said that Schell’s does not immediately need the extra space, but it wanted the property in the event expansion becomes necessary in the near future. At this time the site is intended to house the Brewery’s Sour Beer Project.

TIF request

The Council passed a resolution for a possible development agreement with Skyline Terrace.The agreement would create a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District at 2017 N. Highland Ave. This TIF District involves the construction of a 42-unit rental apartment building.

Parking lot sign

The Council previously agreed to seek Request for Proposals (RFP) to lease the City Hall Parking Lot sign formerly belonging to Marktplatz Mall. The formal RFP document was presented to the Council and approved. Advertisement for requests will go into effect within the next week. Nierengarten said that proposals would likely take a few months because all proposals require the creation of schematics and plans.

New aerial ladder

truck for NUFD

The Council authorized Gramentz and Fire Chief Paul Macho to proceed with the process of acquiring a new aerial ladder truck for the Fire Department. The new ladder truck would replace the current 1992 Seagrave truck.

Macho explained the truck being replaced has rising maintenance issues that need to be repaired to ensure certification. He felt it was prudent to look at acquiring a new truck now rather than risk having an uncertified vehicle. Macho estimated it would take up to 16 months to receive a new ladder truck at which time the current vehicle will be 23 years old. The fire truck replacement fund will have $977,779 designated after the 2015 appropriation and should adequately cover the cost of the new truck.

Airport planning

An Airport Engineering Service contract with Mead and Hunt Professional services received approval.

The contract is for planning related to the relocation of the existing crosswind runway. Gramentz emphasized that this action was for the planning process and not for the construction of facilities. It would be the first step leading to the construction of the crosswind runway, but the actual runway was still years down the road. The amount of this contract is $117,886 and is contingent on the availability of federal and/or state funds.

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