There’s widespread agreement that Northfield needs affordable housing and that Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) could provide some relief. The issues at last night’s Council meeting were that the Planning Commission wants to release them from regulations regarding parking access, the 20% rental rule, the size of the accessory dwelling units, to name a few. Six residents spoke including Cliff Clark who said that while he’s in favor of the concept, speaking of the options he said, “this is written so vaguely and so abstractly that as I see it, I could bring in 3 tar paper fishing shacks all in my backyard, hook them up to water and sewer and
that would meet the requirements”. Planning Commission member Betsey Buckheit commented as a resident saying ADUs break down barriers for those in poverty as they’re more affordable, they help climate change by building with density and speaking on parking she said, “parking costs money too. It also costs money to own a car and so if there were locations in town where it doesn’t matter if someone has parking, we didn’t feel that the government should require it”. Five options were brought forward. It’s important to note that all ADU’s must have a cement foundation and their own sewer and water, these are not mobile units. Additionally, these units could be 2 story, meaning their total space could end up being more than a primary residence. Three councilors, Zweifel, Peterson White and Grabau wanted to pass the ordinance last night with no holds barred, except owner-occupied. Councilors DeLong, Ness, Nakasian and Mayor Pownell wanted to postpone the vote to further discuss options in a work session. Eventually they voted 6 to 1 to postpone it till April 9th. Zweifel voted no. Mayor Pownell said this morning, “it has the potential, I think, to meet various goals and aspirations that the Council and the community have”. She commented on moving the discussion to April 9th, “that gives us some time to engage with people around the community as some of us have been talking with different members of our community, some people had no idea what was being brought forward with this ordinance change and so this gives us an opportunity to have some time and engage with people around it, make sure we’ve got a solid ordinance to move forward”. The supplemental memo below has Staff’s presentation on ADUs. suppplemental memo 1 (1)
Northfield couple jailed on heroin charges
A Northfield couple remain in jail after getting busted on heroin charges. On multiple occasions 37 year old Jeremy Jacob Hagen allegedly sold heroin to a Confidential Source. On February 6th, Drug Task Force agents executed a search warrant on his person at the Holiday gas station in Northfield where it appeared a drug deal was about to take place. 36 year old Kristin Marie Westerman, the mother of his child, had been driving him to his alleged drug deals. Hagen admitted that he’s dealing heroin to feed his own habit. On February 7th, agents searched 1210 Greenvale Avenue where Hagen and Westerman live with their 1 year old and her two other children. There was a small mattress in the same bedroom where agents found drug dealing paraphernalia and heroin residue. Westerman denies knowing he’s dealing. Hagen is charged with 2nd and 3rd degree drug sale, 3rd degree possession and child endangerment. Westerman is facing 3rd degree possession in a public housing/park zone and child endangerment. Hagen is being held on $40,000 bond with conditions. Westerman is being held on $5,000 conditional bond. Their court appearances are Feb. 15th. Hagen 66-CR-19-367 Hagen 66-CR-19-354 Hagen 66-CR-19-353 Westerman Complaint
Will Nfld students have to make-up snowdays?
Seven weather days of no school in Northfield. Four of those have been Flexible Learning Days. The overall feedback has been good for the assignments, although they will continue to tweak them. School Board Chair Ellen Iverson was in for Matt Hillmann yesterday. The Flexible Learning days don’t officially count through the State yet. As for what that means at the end of the year, she said, “it doesn’t affect things, we’ve always built in so many more days than the State requires and so we’re not to that point yet anyway. And the reason we hadn’t originally gone for the E-learning as the original requirement was that teachers had to be available to reach by phone and if teachers can’t be at the building, we didn’t want to give out teachers home phone numbers necessarily”. She said they’ve worked out a solution through Google phones which they will implement when they officially apply to the State for what THEY call E-learning. Iverson reiterated that parents, right now, don’t need to worry that students will have to make up those days yet.