Residents invited to have final say about 10th draft of city’s sign ordinance July 2

Public hearing set for 6:30 p.m. at Little Falls City Hall

By Terry Lehrke, News Editor
[email protected]

Both the Little Falls City Council and Planning Commission will be on hand Monday, July 2, during a public hearing regarding the city’s sign ordinance.

For months the Planning Commission has worked to update the ordinance, spurred on by the threat of, and now reality of, a lawsuit against the city brought by resident Robin Hensel.

Monday, the 10th draft of the ordinance was introduced to the City Council at its regular meeting.

At 6:30 p.m., Monday, July 2, residents are invited to the public hearing to voice their concerns, ask questions and to hear an explanation of the new ordinance.

Once the hearing has been held, Co-city Administrator Lori Kasella said the Council could adopt the ordinance that night. If the Council does so, the ordinance will be published in the next issue of the Morrison County Record (July 8). The ordinance goes into effect seven days after publication, possibly July 15.

Once the ordinance is in effect, the city has to come up with a plan as to how it will be enforced.

Should the Council decide not to adopt the ordinance after the public hearing, it will discuss and decide what to do next.

Residents are invited to send their concerns or comments in writing to City Hall to be read during the Public Hearing, or can call their representative on the City Council.

Kasella said it is preferred residents submit their comments or concerns in writing to avoid misinterpretation of what the resident wants to say.

The Council requested the public hearing be televised as well. It will be seen on local access Channel 6, Tuesday and Saturday after the public hearing.

Prior to the public hearing, the Council will meet in a work session at 6 p.m. in the conference room at City Hall. Following the public hearing, or at 7:30 p.m., the Council will meet in regular session. It is during its regular session, the Council will vote to adopt the ordinance or not.

A PDF of the 19-page ordinance, Ordinance No. 42, sixth series, can be found by following this link: PROPOSED SIGN ORD CHANGES draft 10

Little Falls City Council Briefs

In other business Monday, the Little Falls City Council:

• Learned during its work session that the Little Falls Country Club is ahead of last year’s revenue figures. Course Superintendent Randy Pankonen is working with fewer employees and according to Co-city Administrator Jerry Lochner, “works a lot himself;”

• During its work session, heard from Rose Surma, a member of the Morrison County Animal Humane Society (MCAHS) Board, that the MCAHS is against the city allowing residents to keep more than two dogs. Police Chief Greg Schirmers agreed he was opposed to increasing the number of dogs residents could keep, citing that from June 2011 to current, the Police Department received 167 animals complaints. “It affects the quality of life for the animals and neighbors,” said Schirmers.

Surma said, “Two would be about as many (dogs) as you would want to have in a city.” She also suggested the city’s dog licenses cost less if animals were spayed or neutered, and required proof of vaccinations;

• Accepted a thank you letter from the city of Sartell for assistance from the Little Falls Fire Department during the fire at Verso Paper Mill explosion, May 28;

• Approved the only quote received for appliance, tire and bulk garbage collection from Bob LeMieur Rolloffs, Refuse and Recycling in the amount of $2,128. The collection will be held Friday and Saturday, July 13 – 14. The city uses Score grant funds to pay for the collection offered to one and two-family unit residential properties;

• Approved replacing equipment used to televise City Council meetings at City Hall at a cost of $11,100 plus tax and insurance. The quote received from AV Solutions Inc. includes a switcher, a 22-inch touch screen monitor and related equipment. The funds will be taken from the Cable TV Fund for just such expenditures;

• Introduced an ordinance to publish a summary of the city’s sign ordinance;

• Voted 7-1 to rezone Block 30, Searle’s Subdivision from one and two-family residential (R-1) to multiple family residential (R-3). The Planning Commission recommended the property remain zoned as R-1. Council Member At Large Brian-Paul Crowder was the lone “no” vote against the rezoning. A letter will be sent to property owners in the area letting them know of the decision. Crowder said the property owners in the area would have been present had they known the possibility existed the Council would vote against the Planning Commission’s recommendation to leave it zoned as an R-1;

• Approved declaring a 1998 Dodge Neon, a 1991 Honda Civic and a 1992 Mazda MX-6, as surplus property and authorizing the sale of the vehicles;

• Authorized the trading of one male and one female pronghorn elk both born June 2, to the Dakota Zoo, Bismarck, N.D.; and

• Authorized the purchase of three bison calves from Dr. John Bowran, of Luverne, at a cost not to exceed $1,000. The bison calves will be paid for with proceeds from the sale of surplus animals.

The next regular meeting for the Little Falls City Council will be held Monday, July 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers. The Council’s work session will be held at 6 p.m. in the conference room, prior to the public hearing on the city’s sign ordinance.