During their recent meeting, the Big Lake City Council discussed the ongoing code revision project.
By council direction, city staff has been working with a city code revision task force to clean up city code. Several changes were suggested for council to adopt. Many of the changes were intended to remove unnecessary items in the code and to change others to make them work better for the city. The full list of items changed is available in the meeting packet on the Big Lake City website.
As in the past, Council Member Ken Halverson brought up his issues with incoming apartment complexes in the city. Halverson believes that the city should require all new apartment complexes to include covered parking and balconies, as it will hold the housing in the city to a high standard. Mayor Paul Knier disagreed, expressing his belief that it was not the government’s responsibility to force landowners to build a certain way, and that the market would decide whether the parking and balcony issues were important.
Council Member Sam Hanson gave his input as a firefighter with the BLFD. He noted that balconies and covered parking would allow residents a place to escape in case of an emergency, and that if a fellow firefighter needed help getting out of a building, it would be easier to spot him/her on a balcony.
Currently, balconies are not required for new apartment complexes, though they are required in certain residential districts.
The revision task force will be reviewing the issue at their next meeting, and will provide a recommendation to the council after researching the issue.
Jerry and Thiry Minor requested that the council approve a zoning amendment that would allow for indoor vehicle sales in the innovation industrial district. They also presented a concept plan for such a business. It will be located near the proposed hockey arena.
In Other Business, the Council:
• Recognized two employees for their years of service;
• Heard the annual city report for 2022, which encapsulated what happened during the year (this is the same report that was given at the Joint Powers meeting a few weeks ago, which was covered in the Patriot at that time);
• Accepted donations towards city projects, including: $10,920 from American Legion Post 147 for the Lakeside Flag Pole Project; $6,500 from the Citizens for Big Lake Freedom Rock for the Freedom Rock Paver Project; $9,330 in total from various organizations for the Veterans Memorial Landscaping Project; and $1,600 worth of work from Will Karch of Guardian Roofing on the Fire Station Roof Project;
• Heard department reports from the Parks and Water/Wastewater departments.