Nfld. Granny pod ordinance could be “huge can of worms”…
Virtually every municipality in Minnesota opted out of Governor Dayton’s “Granny pod” legislation. However, the Northfield Planning Commission was asked by Council to consider adopting some sort of specific LDC language to address the Temporary Health Care Dwellings. There are a number of issues with these dwellings, not the least of which is making sure emergency vehicles could get to the pods. A question about allowing businesses to place them in parking lots was brought up. Member Jay Jasnoch asked, “did you want to set them up as a business? Or did you want it set up to meet a private need that’s not being met? Because if you want it set up as a business, that’s a different thing to me”. He added,
“what if somebody just wanted to rent these out as temporary housing for 6 months at a time? That’s a completely different model than ma and pa having a hard time getting grandma taken care of in her house”. Consultant Bill Weber created a “term sheet” suggesting options for several of their questions. Member Kate Stuart felt that Weber’s recommendations, “they make for a very focused situation that I think we could start with and see how it goes”. With much discussion they chose to move forward, however Chair Richard Schulte remarked, “I think we’re opening a huge can of worms”. (said with laughter) City Planner Scott Tempel will come back to them with an ordinance in December. A public hearing will be held at that time. Still, it also requires 2 readings by the city Council and fees be set before it could be enacted. Video link Granny pods are quite different from tiny houses. They are mobile units on wheels as opposed to a more permanent structure.
Hillmann talks new high school possibility
The Northfield School District is finalizing their Master Facilities Plan which has 2 projects including a new high school. Superintendent Dr. Matt Hillmann said that would be built on the existing site. He said, “the concept plan would lay out a mulit-story facility right along Division Street where the baseball fields are right now”. Memorial Field would stay as is. Hillmann says the new high school could serve about 1500 students. Once built, they would demolish the old high school and use the space for more athletic fields. Hillmann reiterated that the School Board will vote to adopt the Master Facilities Plan on November 28th but that doesn’t mean implementation of the construction. They will create a Facilities Advisory committee who will review the plan every year. Hillmann said they will “look at those pieces and say are the conditions right where the Board could/should consider going to the Public asking them to approve one or both of those projects”. The Facilities Advisory Committee would meet at least twice a year to review the plans, then, every year in March, they would present to the Board and give their recommendations.
Board and commission seats opening
Boards and Commissions including 2 Northfield representatives for the NAFRS Joint Powers Board. Applications may be turned in throughout the year, however those wanting to be considered for the openings at the beginning of 2017 should submit applications no later December 2nd, 2016. Additional information and applications are found in the Administration Office at City Hall or online at ci.northfield.mn.us.
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