City Council in Spicer approves the townhome development agreement
SPICER -- The Spicer City Council Wednesday approved 3-2 a developer's agreement for a townhome development planned for Lake Avenue South. Jim Martinson has proposed building 18 townhomes between the Northern Inn and Beach Street, where five sing...
SPICER -- The Spicer City Council Wednesday approved 3-2 a developer's agreement for a townhome development planned for Lake Avenue South.
Jim Martinson has proposed building 18 townhomes between the Northern Inn and Beach Street, where five single-family residences are now. The development, called Windsong on Green Lake, would be built in phases over three years.
The city has already approved the project's conditional use permit and preliminary plat. The final plat still needs approval, city clerk LaNae Osmond said.
The city's engineer, Randy Sabart of Short Elliot Hendrickson, said he is still reviewing the project's final plans.
The developer's agreement was drafted by the city's engineer, an attorney, the city administrator and Martinson Holdings and his engineering firm. Martinson has provided a letter of credit of $402,000, which covers 125 percent of the construction costs for utilities.
"It's pretty comprehensive," city administrator Kimberly Wothe said of the agreement.
The agreement was finalized Wednesday so the council did not review it before the meeting.
After a lengthy discussion about the agreement's content, Mayor Bill Taylor and councilmen Terry Holmquist and Troy Block voted for the agreement, while council members Marlys Larsen and Ron Schneider voted against it.
Schneider and Larsen asked about the permeable pavement material, called pavers, being used on the driveways, patios and sidewalks. The pavers are supposed to reduce stormwater runoff.
Larsen asked if the pavers should absorb a certain amount of stormwater and asked who would ensure they're installed properly.
Sabart replied he would rely on the manufacturer's recommendations and said SEH could be hired by the city to observe their installation. Schneider questioned whether the material was in compliance with state Department of Natural Resources guidelines and referred to a 2003 DNR document that said pavers are not as effective as natural vegetation.
Holmquist agreed, but said grass wouldn't work on driveways. He said a DNR area hydrologist met several times with Martinson and said he has been cooperative.
The development also includes rain gardens, which absorb stormwater, Holmquist said.
Schneider asked Sabart if developer's agreements ever include a provision that requires that the groundwater runoff from a project be the same as if there were vegetation there.
Sabart said he hadn't, but that sometimes cities require that the runoff rates remain the same as they were before the project's construction.
Schneider moved to include in the developer's agreement part of the 2003 DNR recommendations to which he had referred.
Block questioned whether the document applied to the townhome development because it referred to shore and bluff impact zones, which are areas close to the shoreline. The townhome development is across the street from Green Lake.
The motion failed 2-3 with Schneider and Larsen voting for it and Taylor, Holmquist and Block voting against it.
Schneider also asked if there was a provision requiring Martinson to set aside money to pay his property taxes in case he were to go bankrupt.
There isn't such a provision in the agreement and after some discussion one wasn't added.
In other business, the council:
- Met in closed session with its attorney Barry Darval to discuss an appeal to an assessment.
- Reviewed a letter dated Jan. 23 from Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau, state transportation commissioner, that was in reply to a letter the city sent her requesting that the speed limits not be increased on state Highway 23. In December, the speed limit through Spicer increased from 35 mph to 40 mph.
Molnau wrote that the speed limits are being raised to "reflect the flow of traffic" and that the increase is "unlikely to have any measurable influence on driver speeds or the noise levels in Spicer."
She said the Minnesota Department of Transportation plans to follow the speed study recommendation and post speed limit signs as proposed.
"In other words, thanks for your letter, but we're going to ignore you," Holmquist said.
- Agreed to have the city's attorney review the draft of an annexation agreement that it is negotiating with Green Lake Township.