By Teri Knight, News Director
Four Northfield councilors, Erica Zweifel, Suzie Nakasian, Clarice Grabau and Jessica Peterson-White voted yes on the first reading of the initial version of an Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) ordinance. It came from the Planning Commission with very little regulation regarding parking, size of structure, compatibility and rental rules. Since the ordinance’s passing in February, the public weighed in with a decidedly different attitude and the ninth version of the ADU resolution came before the Northfield City Council this week as a discussion item. Councilors Brad Ness, David DeLong and Mayor Rhonda Pownell voted against the first reading. Two big sticking points were required parking
spaces and owner-occupied rentals. There were also citizens who wanted to ensure that the units would be compatible within their neighborhoods. In the most recent version of the draft, City Administrator Ben Martig said, “We’re not requiring parking.” However, people can put in parking if they want to. The councilors also eliminated references to tiny house and recreational vehicles as it duplicates language already covered under building code requirements. The ordinance stipulates that ADUs must be owner-occupied, as Councilors Ness and DeLong noted in an earlier meeting that the care of rentals is substantially better when the owner is on-site. Before the final adoption of the resolution, Martig said it must be published on the City’s website for 10 days. He explained, “The council really had to be comfortable with the one they’ll be voting on because we can’t have amendments to it at the actual secnd reading, so we solidified that the one that we decided on will be posted.” Councilor Zweifel said that her concession was requiring that ADUs be owner/occupied. This item has garnered a lot of attention from the public. The vote for a secnd reading and final adoption is scheduled for June 4, 2019. The revised version of the ordinance is HERE.
With two pending criminal complaints, Faribault woman is charged again
A woman with multiple criminal complaints against her is back in Rice County jail on another charge. Cannon River Drug Task Force agents were patrolling the area near the Trucker’s Inn in Faribault on Tuesday when they saw what appeared to be a drug deal between 31-year-old Lekeisha Hofbauer and a male. When they conducted a traffic stop, Hofbauer had two needles and a baggie with a quarter gram of methamphetamine in her purse. She has two pending criminal complaints, a 5th degree felony charge of narcotics possession and giving a false name to an officer from December 2018, and a 3rd degree drug sale charge from July of 2018. Bail was set at $50,000 with conditions on that charge; she’s scheduled to appear in court June 18, 2019, on those charges and June 5 on this latest 5th degree felony possession charge.
Northfield CVB awards Excellence in Tourism
It’s national tourism week and the Northfield Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) held their 4th annual Northfield Excellence in Tourism Awards ceremony yesterday. There were four categories in which individuals were recognized for making a positive difference in hospitality. In the Best Attraction category, Vicki and Kevin Fossum of Alpaca Farm Store won; Jennifer King from Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott won in the Hotel/Lodging category; for Best Retail, that award went to Cynthia Gilbertson from Northfield Yarn; and Rich Larson from Imminent Brewing won in the Food and Beverage category. The Northfield Golf Club hosted the luncheon and the keynote speaker was Nort Johnson of the Faribault Chamber of Commerce. He talked about the “Minne-Roadtrip” partnership between Faribault, Owatonna and Northfield.