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Willmar City Council committee reviews neighborhood guide of ordinances

WILLMAR -- Your lawn must be cut before it reaches 7 inches in height, and lawn clippings or leaves are not to be placed in the street.

Grills and open flames may not be used on or under balconies, and recreational fires in a 3-foot diameter bowl are allowed provided certain guidelines are met.

Your sump pump must not discharge into the sanitary sewer system without a permit from the City Engineer's office and payment of a fee.

Also, you may not park vehicles in your front yard. If not garaged, vehicles must be parked on a paved driveway surface.

These and other city ordinances are summarized in a Guide For Neighborhoods published by the city of Willmar in March 2009. The guide was developed by city staff to provide an overview of city ordinances and Minnesota laws.

"It basically covers the basics to know to exist properly in a neighborhood,'' says Bruce Peterson, director of planning and development services for the city.

The guide was reviewed and discussed by the City Council's Committee Development Committee on Thursday evening to determine if the guide is still valid and if any changes should be made.

Committee members recommended that a section be added stating that violations could result in fines or jail time and that violations be reported to the Police Department or to the Planning and Development Services Department.

Committee members discussed increasing the distribution of the guide. The multipage-guide has been distributed in the past to the police, the city Housing and Redevelopment Authority office, real estate agents, to some apartment complex managers, at City Offices and at the County Health and Human Services Building.

In other discussion, the committee received an updated demographic and economic profile of Kandiyohi County from Cameron Macht, regional analyst with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

The profile listed Willmar's population at 17,907 and Kandiyohi County's population at 41,123, both based on U.S. Census Bureau 2009 population estimates. The profile said Willmar's population grew 4.2 percent (775 people) from 2000 to 2008, while Kandiyohi County grew 7.6 percent (about 3,000) from 1990 to 2008.

A report on the Community Development Committee meeting will be presented to the City Council during the meeting that begins at 7 p.m. Monday in the chambers at the Municipal Utilities Building, 700 Litchfield Ave. S.W.

The council on Monday will also receive reports from the meetings this week of the Finance Committee and the Public Works/Safety Committee.

The council will take comments from the public during the open forum, will receive a Northwoods wager presentation from Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede, and will receive a presentation from Jim Miller of the Minnesota League of Cities and Don Bourt of the National League of Cities.

In other business, the council will consider a proposal from Craig Leis of Willmar to rezone property at 1950 19th Ave. S.W. from R-2 (one- and two-family residential) to LB (limited business) to operate a law office out of the commercial portion of the building and live in the residential portion of the home.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150