(Reporter’s Note: This article covers both May meetings of the Becker City Council.)
With all of the new ordinance changes of late, Becker City staff wanted to look into a policy in enforcing ordinance as well, and so they presented a new enforcement policy to the city council at the recent city council meeting. They reached out to the county attorney for advice on what would be enforced by law, and the county attorney informed staff that only cases that posed a safety risk would be prosecuted.
If a property owner is not in compliance with city code, the city attorney may be able to prosecute the landowner, but the city attorney warned that this can be a costly process.
City staff decided the best option would be to simply work with landowners to make sure the property is kept in compliance.
In addition, council approved changes to how the city would take complaints about properties not in compliance. All complaints must reference a specific code violation (so city staff won’t take a complaint based solely on opposing aesthetic preferences). The person filing the complaint must also live adjacent to the property in question (so as to stop individuals from driving around the city and making complaints on any property out of compliance). Finally, once a complaint has been made, staff will not accept another complaint about the same issue for 12 months.
Some highlights from the committee reports included:
• The golf committee noted there would soon be a new menu available at Pebble Creek;
• The Economic Development Authority (EDA) noted an uptick in houses on the market, as is typical for spring;
• Mayor Tracy Bertram noted that the city is currently undertaking about $17 million worth of construction projects, but around $15 million is being covered by grants.
Ordinances for Special Events
Chapter 11 of city code continues to be updated, and city staff was looking specifically at special events and interim use permits (IUPs). With Charlie’s Bar and Grill looking to host outdoor events in the summer, they wanted to make the whole process easier, both for the sake of city staff and for local businesses.
The city owns a 212 acre site east of the Elk River which they hope to eventually develop or sell the land. First, however, staff was approved to explore the site for possible new wells. The work will occur in September once crops are off the fields located on the site.
In Other Business, the Council:
• Approved a final plat for a section of T-Town (downtown Becker) for the old fire hall building;
• Heard a report on the first quarter financials;
• Decided to replace the control panel for lift station #7;
• Moved to replace the golf course mower deck;
• Wrote a supplemental letter of agreement for business park pump station improvements.