At Becker City Council’s Tuesday meeting, Brady Hannen once again spoke regarding his application for a fence variance. The fence, which is already standing, is not in compliance with city code, which says there may not be a fence higher than four feet in the front yard, and due to Mr. Hannen’s house being on a street corner, he technically has two front yards which face the street. Hannen wished to keep the fence to allow for the maximum amount of space for his kids to safely play in the backyard.
Unfortunately, after making his case to the council, they ended up denying his request. City staff found that a fence permit had been applied for, but the erection of the fence occured before that permit was approved. They also found no topological need to keep the fence at six feet rather than four, such as might exist for a yard next to a steep bluff. City staff went on to urge all homeowners to come in with questions in advance of putting up structures and fences so they can avoid falling into a difficult situation like this one.
The theme of Tuesday’s meeting was city code updates. Chapter six and Chapter 11 of the city code both received several changes, as did ordinance 244, parking regulations.
There were not many truly significant updates, however. Instead, most of the changes were made to fix grammatical errors, erase duplications, change confusing wording, and remove outdated procedures.
With the chapter six changes, some new fees were added to the fee schedule, including fees associated with:
• Adult entertainment establishments;
• Massage establishments;
• And the kennel fee (removed).
Becker Police Chief Brent Baloun also presented some changes to the Emergency Operations Plan, which outlines the city’s plans and priorities in the case of a natural disaster, so the government can continue to work and help people in an emergency situation. This plan is updated once every five years.
Snuffy’s Landing Pavilion
As a part of the ongoing project at Snuffy’s Landing, the council approved a variance request for a new pavilion. The DNR had no issue with the placement despite the fact it is close to the river. The Becker Lions Club is funding this project.
Body Cam Audit
Every two years, the Becker Police Dept. is required to undergo an audit by a consultant to ensure the proper use of body cams. The BPD has been equipped with body cams since 2017. During the last audit period, they hired a consultant from the state in order to be completely sure the body cam use was up to snuff. This year, they found it would be much cheaper to hire a private consultant, though Chief Brent Baloun was convinced the quality of assessment wouldn’t be lacking. Lynn Lembke of the Burnsville Police Dept. will conduct the audit. She has extensive experience in the field of body cams and Baloun claimed to have a lot of faith in her professional expertise.
In Other Business, the Council:
• Agreed to buy back land from G&M Outdoor Services, which will be moving to a location in Becker Twp.;
• Applied for a safety grant to purchase lighting for city departments.