Minutes of the Watab Town Board Meeting
March 4, 2008
The regular monthly meeting of Watab Township was called to order by Chair Craig Gondeck on Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at 7pm at the Watab Town Hall. Board members present were Chair Gondeck, Supervisor Lloyd Erdmann, Treasurer Eileen Saldana and Clerk Pat Spence. Supervisor Brad McIntosh was absent. Audience members present included: Rosie Johnson, Walter Jansen, Earl Harden, Duane Saatzer, Maureen Graber, Lori Schlien, Al Schlien, Taunay & George Mastey, Pat Koch, Douglas J. Boser, Jim Hovda, Bob Erickson, Brian Rosenberger, Larry Satry, Ron Hommerding, Ed Kacures, Ken Motl, Cheryl Motl, Shelley Meyer, Ron Burski, Jeanene Kern, John Kern, Harvey Kiekow, Gail M. Kiekow, and Brian Erdmann. Following the Pledge to the Flag, the Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting. He reviewed rules for the meeting: one person can speak at a time from the podium with no interruptions from the audience. He noted that he wanted two items added to the agenda: Jim Hovda with a lake association report, SCORE grant update, and March 11th Board of Canvass after the Annual Meeting; Supervisor Erdmann wanted to add discussion of the proposed car lot for the residential property on the corner of County Rd 79 and Highway 10. Supervisor Gondeck made a motion to approve the agenda with these additions. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Erdmann and passed.
Supervisor Gondeck made a motion, seconded by Supervisor Erdmann to approve the minutes of both March meetings. Motion passed. The Treasurer’s Report was approved on a motion by Supervisor Gondeck and second by Supervisor Erdmann. The motion passed.
Citizen’s Issues included the following:
1. Duane Saatzer, Lakewood Shores Road: said he has not been happy with the plowing the past two years because often there’s only one lane open, sand piled up in front of his drive, and the plow going through with no snow to blade. He said he called Lloyd Erdmann to complain, and Lloyd told him that there had been no complaints. He said he wants a better job and feels there has been trouble the last two years.
2. Lori Schlien, Jasmine Loop: on the corner of Jasmine Loop there is a proposal to put in a used car lot and amend the comprehensive plan to zone this property from rural residential to rural service district. The county board directed them to come back to the township for a recommendation. She reported that she had taken a petition around in December; there are 29 signatures –92% signed in opposition because it is a quiet residential neighborhood and they would like to maintain it as a residential area. They are concerned about safety and traffic flow; the driveway from the car lot will come out on Jasmine Loop rather than County Road 79. The lot has been owned by Martin Golombeski for five years; she complained that the property has not been well maintained during this time. She asked who would be responsible if he doesn’t maintain the car lot. What will it do to property values? She added that the comprehensive plan was just adopted in 2006, so why should it be amended at this time? She had phoned Supervisor McIntosh and said that he told her that she was wasting her time if the planning commission had approved it. She added that a site plan has not been presented to the county or the township. Supervisor Gondeck commented that the town board did not learn about the proposal in a timely way from the Department of Development so that it could give its advice as requested by the county board, and Mr. Golembeski was advised by the Department of Development that he didn’t need to consult the town board.
3. Jeanene Kern, River Road: she is a former planning commission meeting member. She feels that it should be almost impossible to change the comprehensive plan. She does not believe that the property should be rezoned and feels that there was a lot of pressure at the end of a meeting to accommodate one individual. She cast the one dissenting vote on the Planning Commission on this issue. She recommended that the town board members be the voice for the people who signed the petition. She felt that he county board tabled action because people showed up for the meeting who were in opposition to the rezoning. Supervisor Erdmann said that the county commissioners and the town board should listen to such an overwhelming majority of the people in the neighborhood who are opposed to the rezoning. Also, he reminded the audience that only one person wants it rezoned. He added that the owner is not being denied use of his property. He knew the zoning when he purchased the property. Supervisor Gondeck said that this issue will come before the county board at the second meeting in April. It should be on the town board meeting agenda for the April meeting.
4. Supervisor Erdmann said that the corner should be blocked off from development because of the future overpass. This has already happened on the Pirates Cove property; they were not allowed to develop on the south corner lot of County Rd 79 and Highway 10 when their plat for the Cove development was approved. The same scenario should happen on the north side so that the taxpayers wouldn’t have to buy out a commercial business and its future revenue.
5. Gail Kiekow, Jasmine Loop: read the St. Cloud Times article by Mayor Campbell regarding Mr. Golembeski’s experience at his Sauk Rapids location, which outlined all the measures the City of Sauk Rapids provided to try to keep the business in Sauk Rapids. She does not want the business in her neighborhood.
6. Jim Brownson, President of Cove Development: said he has a few concerns. First, this is the window to the new neighborhood and not the type of business that would invite people to a new restaurant and residential development. Thirty acres of commercial property adjacent to the Cove is on the market. They want everything to fit into the natural surroundings with architectural integrity. They want what is on Highway 10 to improve the township’s appearance with pleasing eye appeal. They have a significant investor and don’t want the used car lot to distract from what they are trying to do. They are asking MNDoT to expedite the overpass to accommodate traffic getting onto Highway 10. Traffic has increased five times in the past few years. He is opposed to the rezoning. Supervisor Gondeck offered the assistance of Benton County Economic Development for his commercial development efforts. Mr. Brownson also showed the drawings of the new Pirates Cove Restaurant and said it is close to becoming a reality.
7. Harvey Kiekow, Jamsine Loop: said Seagull Motors in Sauk Rapids was an eyesore and the lot Mr. Golembeski owns on County Road 79 is an eyesore with lots of old junk.
8. Jeanene Kern: she encouraged Mr. Brownson to come to the next county meeting, because everyone should be treated equally.
9. Doug Boser: does not want a used car lot as a gateway to the Mississipppi River and the township. The county board didn’t listen to his neighborhood and so he said that they might not listen to this neighborhood either.
10. Supervisor Erdmann said that the county is looking for a commercial tax base. This business won’t increase the tax base.
11. Jim Brownson feels there is a strong legal position that the county needs to treat Mr. Golembeski the same as them.
12. Keith Motl: he asked what his land would be worth with cheap used cars for sale with junk sitting around. He is opposed to rezoning.
13. Clerk Pat Spence stated that she feels there are four strong points to present to the county board in opposition to this development and recommended sending a letter with these points: (a) comprehensive plan should not be changed for spot zoning on the request of one individual; (b) Mr. Golembeski should have the same requirements as the Cove Development to leave the corner vacant for the future overpass; (c) it will diminish economic development efforts on the land zoned commercial north and south of this area along Highway 10; and (d) it presents a significant safety issue on Jasmine Loop.
14. Maureen Graber, Lakewood Shores Rd: stated she is happy to see so many people at the meeting. She stated that if Lori Schlien was upset with Supervisor McIntosh, there was an alternative in Ed Kacures. They are both on the March 11 ballot. She stated that she is very upset that the township has spent about $65,000 on snowplowing during the past year; the board hired a well-qualified consultant to study it and put forward recommendations. At last month’s meeting she was disappointed that the board did not discuss the snowplowing bill during the review of bill but she heard Clerk Pat Spence brought up the snowplow bill at the end of the meeting. She reviewed how many hours of discussion had taken time at meetings about the demolition of the town hall, reshaping of the pond and the parking lot, and MS4. She feels that in all of these issues there was difficulty caused by Mr. Mastey. Maureen also stated her disappointment with the road patch on Plaziak Road. She recommended terminating George Mastey’s contract immediately. She recommended that Supervisor Gondeck be the person in charge of snow plowing rather than Supervisor Erdmann, as she believes he has a conflict of interest. She said she is outraged with the amount of money that has been spent on the plowing. She printed off the MAT website the job duties for the township officers: a key one is that township officers are elected to protect the assets of the township. Supervisor Erdmann asked the Clerk if the insurance is on file. She stated that the insurance is on file, but the list of employees has not been received. The Clerk added that 68 tons of salt/sand has been used during February. Mr. Mastey was asked if these loads are weighed since the township is always billed for 14-ton loads. He said they are.
15. Taunya Mastey, MTD Excavating: spoke in response to Maureen’s comments. Insurance is on file. They purchase salt/sand from another vendor and don’t use gravel from their own pit. Taunya feels that there is a personal issue every month. She feels that when the bills are turned in is the time when the questions should be asked. The bills have never been denied to be paid. Mr. Kiekow commented that he feels the snowplowing job is done right.
16. George Mastey, Foley: stated that Mrs. Graber came up with the idea that snow didn’t need to be plowed unless there were 6 inches; he defended his actions during the past year; he has not submitted his list of employees because he said he did not receive a letter. The Clerk was asked to send another letter to the Mastey’s requesting the names of employees. He said that all his loads of salt/sand are within a small variation on weight.
17. Supervisor Erdmann said that after the snow plowing study, he stated that he didn’t want the job of directing the snow plowing, but he was asked to do it. Bob Erickson said that the degree of plowing is the question; we are paying many times more per mile of road for our snowplowing than any other township. Maureen Graber asked if the snowplowing procedures put in place by the town board are being followed. Lloyd said “yes.” Bob Erickson recommended that Mr. Mastey should submit the weight scale tickets with the dates the salt/sand was weighed to verify the size of the loads. Clerk Spence asked if it was true that Mr. Mastey was told by Supervisor McIntosh not to plow Lakewood Shores Road since she and Maureen Graber had questioned the salt/sand being bladed off the same day that it was put down. He said he was told to plow less on the road. The Clerk stated that she did not feel this was professional.
The board reviewed the monthly bills. Supervisor Gondeck made a motion to pay the bills as presented for claim numbers 3199 through 3220 totaling $12,302.85; motion was seconded by Supervisor Erdmann and passed.
Old Business included:
1. Doug Boser gave a town hall building update. He was asked to look at what it’s costing to heat the building. The Clerk looked into transferring us to off-peak and was told by Xcel Energy that we would need to make the sure the building was wired for it. We are currently using an electric boiler on a peak demand system. Doug stated that the building is not wired for off-peak, so he is doing some research about the cost of installing off peak heating to reduce the cost of the bill or a change to a gas boiler. He also recommends that we change the water heater because of low demand for hot water. When he has all the information, he will report findings to Supervisor Gondeck within a week based on efficiencies. Ron Hommerding said that off peak was not available when the building was built. If there are any issues, they need to be addressed within the next month because the one-year warranty will come off soon. The broken tile will be fixed tomorrow.
2. Supervisor Erdmann spoke to the issue regarding the proposed zoning change for Martin Golembeski’s car lot. He made a motion that the town board go on record being in opposition based on the four points the Clerk stated earlier and send a letter to the county board; motion was not seconded. Supervisor Gondeck said that he had told Mr. Golembeski to come to the town board and present his request. Since it can be on the April agenda, all the residents should come to the meeting and see if Mr. Golembeski presents his plan. Supervisor Gondeck will send a letter to the county board confirming that this will be on their April 15th agenda. Supervisor Erdmann made a motion, which was seconded by Supervisor Gondeck that these minutes be sent to the county board members as soon as possible. The motion passed. The Clerk is to send the minutes to the county board.
3. Bob Erickson gave a frontage road update. He had a map of the proposed roadway by Oak Hill Estates. He recommended that the board have a legal agreement to hire the engineer, Mr. Borgart. We need to speak with our attorney to discuss an escrow account or letter of credit from Mr. Hanson. There should be a meeting with everyone involved. We need to clarify with our attorney and MNDoT if Lee Hanson can pay the engineer directly. Lee is paying for all wetland mitigation and land acquisition. MNDoT will pay the cost up to 85th Street. Supervisor Gondeck asked for permission to talk with MNDoT and the attorney on hiring of the engineer. He said we need to consult with all involved and create a master plan. Supervisor Erdmann said he remembers that Lee Hanson has to pay the engineering costs. Supervisor Gondeck made a motion for him to consult on whether or not the town board has to hire the engineer and how much preliminary design work is necessary before we know if the state money is available. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Erdmann and passed.
4. The draft of the annual meeting agenda prepared by the Clerk was approved on a motion by Supervisor Gondeck and second by Supervisor Erdmann with the addition of the proposed used car lot and consideration of the township handling planning and zoning and parks in its future governance. The motion passed.
5. Jim Hovda, Freedhem Road in Langola Township, reported that the Little Rock Lake Association’s main issues are on lake cleanup. DNR and MPCA are in control of how we will move forward depending on their study. The association will put out a postcard to inform lake property owners of what is going on. They need more citizen help and will work toward better communication.
6. The Clerk reported on the monthly correspondence. A letter was received from the attorney representing Allen Voigt regarding his daughter’s car accident. The letter states that he does not believe he should pay the $250 charge for the emergency response, since his daughter did not request or need the service. Supervisor Gondeck had the CAD report that showed the Rice Fire Department was called from a cell phone to 911 at Benton County requesting services and services were provided at the site by the Rice Fire Department. Whoever called in the call did it in the best interest of the accident party. He feels that the bill should still be paid and made a motion to that effect, because the township residents will have the service included in its billing from the Rice Fire Department. The Clerk reported that there was not a false alarm notation on the bill as there are on other emergency calls when they are cancelled in route, so it does appear that the fire department responded to the call. Supervisor Erdmann agreed and seconded the motion, and it passed. The Clerk will send letter to Mr. Voigt’s attorney advising him of the board action. Other correspondence was information about the annual Township Officers Short Course on March 24th in St. Cloud at the Holiday Inn. She showed the board the annual meeting postcard.
7. Supervisor Gondeck reported that the Watab SCORE Grant was approved for $10,000 for a September Cleanup Day. He made a motion to set the Board of Canvass meeting for March 11 following the annual meeting. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Erdmann and passed. At the Benton County Supervisors Meeting, he learned that the state is coming up with a new sign program that will be implemented on January 1, 2018. It will require larger street identification signs. The County Engineer wants the town board to approve a resolution endorsing a grant application, but Supervisor Gondeck feels we should wait for clarification. Supervisor Erdmann agreed but made a motion that new plats coming in after this date be required to put in the new size signs. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Gondeck and passed.
8. Supervisor Gondeck said that there were two citizen complaints during the last couple weeks: one from Randy Schmitt about icy roads and from Mr. Saatzer about snowplowing on Lakewood Shore Road. Supervisor Erdmann presented the Clerk with the water sample report from the town hall well.
9. Bob Erickson brought up the final site work on the property which could begin in 6 weeks. He wants to see the original contract to create a check list. Before we begin the next phase, everything should be on this check list and clarified. One person should be in charge of it and responsible to see that it is completed. Let’s get all the costs to date on the site work. The Clerk was asked to give him the costs to date. He would like to have this before the next meeting. Supervisor Gondeck will get the contractual information from Ron Hommerding. Bob again requested that a special meeting be set as soon as possible on the frontage road.
10. Supervisor Erdmann brought up the issue of water hydrants in Lake Andrew Development and wondered when the plans were changed from water hydrants to flushing hydrants. There was considerable discussion about this, and Doug Boser asked about whether or not this was in the developer agreement.
The meeting adjourned on a motion by Supervisor Gondeck and second by Supervisor Erdmann at 10:15pm.
Respectfully submitted by Clerk Pat Spence