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City Council Meeting Minutes
September 17, 2012
1. Roll Call
Mayor Roe called to order the Roseville City Council regular meeting at approximately 6:00 pm and welcomed everyone. (Voting and Seating Order: Willmus; Johnson; Pust; McGehee; and Roe). City Attorney Mark Gaughan was also present; and Councilmember Pust arrived at approximately 6:08 pm.
Staff Present: City Manager Bill Malinen; Public Works Director Duane Schwartz; City Engineer Debra Bloom; Community Development Director Patrick Trudgeon; City Planner Thomas Paschke; and Finance Director Chris Miller.
2. Approve Agenda
McGehee moved, Willmus seconded, approval of the agenda as presented.
Ayes: Willmus; Johnson; McGehee; and Roe.
3. Public Comment
Mayor Roe called for public comment by members of the audience on any non-agenda items. No one appeared to speak at this time.
4. Council Communications, Reports, Announcements and Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) Report
5. Recognitions, Donations, Communications
6. Approve Minutes
Comments and corrections to draft minutes had been submitted by the City Council prior to tonight’s meeting and those revisions were incorporated into the draft presented in the Council packet.
a. Approve Minutes of June 26, 2012 Joint School Board No. 623/City Council Meeting
Willmus moved, McGehee seconded, approval of the minutes of the June 26, 2012 Joint School Board No. 623/City Council meeting as amended.
At the request of Councilmember Johnson as to whether he could vote on the meeting minutes since he viewed them via DVD but had not been in attendance at the actual meeting, Mayor Roe responded in the affirmative.
Ayes: Willmus; Johnson; and Roe.
b. Approve Minutes of September 10, 2012 Meeting
Willmus moved, McGehee seconded, approval of the minutes of the September 10, 2012 meeting as amended.
Ayes: Willmus; Johnson; McGehee; and Roe.
7. Approve Consent Agenda
There were no changes to the Consent Agenda; and at the request of Mayor Roe, City Manager Malinen briefly reviewed those items being considered under the Consent Agenda.
a. Approve Payments
McGehee moved, Johnson seconded, approval of the following claims and payments as presented.
67493 – 67586
Ayes: Willmus; Johnson; Pust; McGehee; and Roe.
b. Approve General Purchases and Sale of Surplus Items in Excess of $5,000.
McGehee moved, Johnson seconded, approval of the following purchases and/or contracts for service:
Replace compressor on PW Building HVAC unit
5-Year test on switches and breakers
Network monitoring software licenses
8. Consider Items Removed from Consent
12. General Ordinances for Adoption
14. Public Hearings
15. Business Items (Action Items)
13. Business Items – Presentations / Discussions
a. Discuss Assessment Policy
City Engineer Bloom introduced this item, one listed on the City Council’s 2012 Work Plan; and since the first of the year having been under advisement of the Public Works, Environment and Transportation Commission (PWETC) for review of the existing policy and any suggested revisions.
Ms. Bloom noted that the PWETC had held four (4) discussions of the policy, and had provided their recommendations as detailed in the Request for Council Action (RCA) dated September 17, 2012. Ms. Bloom reviewed the report and various attachments, including a DRAFT of the proposed Special Assessment Policy (Attachment A); existing 2001 Special Assessment Policy in Summary (Attachment B); the City’s pre-2001 Special Assessment Policy (Attachment C); the City Assessment Summary (Attachment D) and a survey of peer communities in the metropolitan area for their assessment policies (Attachment E).
Ms. Bloom addressed challenges presented by the existing policy; as well as the reformatting and reorganization of sections of the Policy as presented in DRAFT form (Attachment A). Ms. Bloom reviewed each section of the proposed policy and rationale for any recommended revisions by the PWETC and staff. Ms. Bloom advised that a final review of the proposed policy by staff and the City Attorney remained pending.
Special Benefit Test (Section 1)
Under State Statute 429 Special Assessment provisions and benefits for property being assessed, Ms. Bloom reviewed the new appraisal provision to determine before and after appraisal values for properties proposed to be assessed.
At the request of Councilmember McGehee, Ms. Bloom confirmed that, as part of future feasibility reports, before/after assessment appraisals would be performed on properties being assessed, at a projected total cost of approximately $3,000 for residential appraisals, and larger commercial parcels at $20,000 - $30,000, depending on their use. Ms. Bloom noted that these appraisal costs would be part of the engineering overhead or project costs; and that this was becoming standard practice in most cities to protect both the city and property owner. As an example, Ms. Bloom noted that the City of Maplewood had been using this practice for several years, and most recently with their reconstruction of White Bear Avenue.
At the request of Councilmember Willmus, Ms. Bloom confirmed that this practice was being implemented as a function of changes in market values.
At the request of Councilmember Pust, Ms. Bloom advised that the appraisals would be completed for all property types within a project area subject to the benefit test; for completion of each market value appraisal.
Determining Assessable Frontage (Section 2)
Ms. Bloom briefly reviewed calculations for determining assessable frontage for various lot types and configurations.
Roadway New Construction Projects (Section 3).
Roadway Reconstruction Projects (Section 4)
Ms. Bloom reviewed street project types based on the type of street (e.g. City street, Municipal State Aid roadways; Ramsey County or Minnesota Department of Transportation roadways); and even though a street may be constructed to a higher degree than typical standards, those zoned LDR-1 and LDR-2 would be assessed for up to 25% of the cost for a 7-ton, 32’ wide pavement.
At the request of Mayor Roe, Ms. Bloom clarified that the County and/or State had no statutory authority to assess, but funded roadway projects through other sources, such as federal and/or state highway funds. As an example, Ms. Bloom reviewed the funding sources for installing signals on County Road B-2, with certain costs state eligible and part of the public system. However, another example would be the signal on American Boulevard, and even though the north leg was a City street, the City was responsible for 50% of that signal costs (e.g. two legs) with cost-share from Ramsey County. Since that sough leg of the signal provides a driveway access into a major regional mall, Section 4.e addresses such a situation by assessing ¼ to the south leg since there is a benefit to the mall for access to a signalized intersection.
At the request of Councilmember McGehee, Ms. Bloom reviewed how costs for some amenities under this section (e.g. noise walls) was broken out based on a cost benefit analysis and various standard ratios. Ms. Bloom used a noise wall at the City of Minnetonka as a recent example of a state regional highway project that increases capacity for a community.
Sanitary Sewer/Water (Sections 5 and 7)
Ms. Bloom noted that these sections remained the same; with the exception of those areas requiring capacity above standard or through petition.
At the request of City Manager Malinen, Ms. Bloom advised that the three (3)-year stipulation for new developments (Section 5.d) had been a carryover from previous policy. City Manager Malinen advised that his only concern with that period was that land use change may take longer to grow into something demanding higher capacities.
Mayor Roe concurred, using phased development as an example.
Ms. Bloom advised that she and City Attorney Gaughan would further research how that length of time had been originally determined.
At the request of Councilmember Willmus, Ms. Bloom reviewed rationale for mill and overlay. Ms. Bloom noted that due to the City’s Pavement Management Plan (PMP) funds to address street infrastructure needs being in place, and staff’s experience with other communities (e.g. Falcon Heights and Arden Hills) that had attempted to assess 50% for mil and overlay projects, subsequently challenged and determination made by the court system that a cost benefit was not evident, the recommendation of the PWETC and staff was not to pursue such a provision. Ms. Bloom advised that the City had been successful to-date since 1985 in using the PMP to fund projects by the City as a whole rather than through the assessment process, taking up considerably more time. Ms. Bloom advised that the PWETC discussion found the current set-up versus proving special benefit for roadway maintenance projects, such as mill and overlay, should remain within the PMP funding, providing that fund be maintained at the level needed to do so.
City Manager Malinen referenced the Final Assessment Survey percentages under column 5 (Attachment D) showing the overlay rate, and questioned if that was based on staff’s experience from challenges; and further questioned how the per unit versus front footage rates had been arrived at.
Ms. Bloom advised that each community had a special benefit, history, established thresholds set at the beginning of the year, but not based on project costs such as done by the City of Roseville. Ms. Bloom noted that the City of Roseville based their costs on actual costs, not projected costs as done by some communities.
Councilmember McGehee spoke in support of maintaining the PMP established in 1985, as it provided a service to residents.
Storm Sewer (Section 6)
Ms. Bloom reviewed storm sewer requirements based on new regulations and requirements with reconstruction projects. Ms. Bloom advised that this is requested by the City’s Comprehensive Surface Water Management Plan, other regulatory agencies and watershed. However, for street projects, following considerable discussion at the PWETC level, and standard practices prior to 2001 and storm water infrastructure funding for area drainage projects, Ms. Bloom advised that no assessments would be charged with the exception of development projects and./or petitions. Ms. Bloom noted that staff and the PWETC recognized that storm water is a crucial part of any street project.
Pathway Construction Projects (Section 8)
Ms. Bloom noted that this section referenced the City’s Pathway Master Plan, and also had been considered as part of the Traffic Management Plan recently adopted; with funding typically provided through sources other than assessments.
At the request of Mayor Roe, Ms. Bloom advised that the Pathway Master Plan listed twenty-five (25) different priority segments.
Streetlight Installation (Section 9)
Regarding street lights, Ms. Bloom advised that a policy was already in place; and while many requests for decorative or enhanced fixtures were received, few were processed once the cost for those above standard fixtures were provided, little interest remained.
At the request of Mayor Roe, Ms. Bloom clarified that decorative fixtures would be assessed upfront; with the City working with Xcel and any assessable costs paid for by the City and assessed to the benefitting property owner accordingly.
Definitions (Section 10)
Ms. Bloom briefly reviewed this section; and provided comparisons to the existing 2001 Special Assessment Summary Attachment B) and 1986 – 2001 Policy (Attachment C).
At the request of City Manger Malinen, Ms. Bloom reviewed the accuracy for projecting street light lifetimes at twenty –five (25) years; based on calculations provided by Xcel Energy.
Councilmember Willmus noted previous discussions in 2010 when the City Council considered a street light fee, with the public not supporting such a fee.
During that time, Ms. Bloom advised that staff had performed an analysis of such a user fee for street lights. Ms. Bloom noted that the City was allowed to charge such a fee by State Statute, with the Cities of St. Paul, Shoreview, and Falcon Heights having such a fee. Ms. Bloom noted that this fee has proven successful in other cities; and further noted that the City’s street light budget includes street lights as well as signals.
Mayor Roe noted that the 2013 Not-to-Exceed Levy has a place holder for street lights to assist with future infrastructure costs.
City Manager Malinen noted the cost for city-owned street lights versus utility revenue to pay those bills.
Ms. Bloom advised that each street light averages $13.00 per month for energy; with Mayor Roe noting those costs are currently paid by taxpayers across the city.
Councilmember McGehee questioned if some street lights had motion detectors, since she frequently saw some going on and off.
Ms. Bloom advised that those were not motion detectors; and that simply meant the ballast was going and observers should alert the City or Xcel Energy of those particular lights. Ms. Bloom advised that the observer could call either agency or there was an online form also available; and clarified that the flickering should not be happening.
Mayor Roe noted that almost all street lights were owned by Xcel Energy, not the City.
At the request of Councilmember McGehee, Ms. Bloom advised that the PWETC was currently in discussion about changing to LED light bulbs to save energy costs. Ms. Bloom noted that the City had switched to LED’s in signal lights in 2003, at a considerable savings to the City on electricity costs.
Mayor Roe, referencing the Pavement Management Program (PMP), noted that there was a projected shortfall in that funding; and advised that there had been previous discussion to use some existing street bond levy funding to apply to the PMP fund to shore it up, as well as the new property tax levy. With these proposed changes in the Assessment Policy, Mayor Roe asked if there had been any improvements to the PMP to throttle back on those increases.
Public Works Director Duane Schwartz advised that, unfortunately, most projects projected out for the next 10-15 years are mill and overlay projects without any assessment; and nothing significant would be coming into the PMP fund.
Ms. Bloom noted that the PMP frequently received benefit from State Aid funds due to pass through costs; however, Ms. Bloom noted that that fund was getting hit at between $700,000 - $900,000 annually; with advance funds already spent for unanticipated projects (e.g. County Road C-2 connection). With this assessment policy, Ms. Bloom opined that it would assist with the backlog of state aid funds.
Councilmember McGehee questioned how many more turnback roads the City was going to get; since they often required more to repair when received.
Ms. Bloom advised that there was a backlog of turnbacks at this time; with Victoria Street scheduled for 2014; and looking at County Road B west of Cleveland. While not proposing any funds for repair of the road, Ms. Bloom noted that the County was interested in turning over those roads to the City.
Mr. Schwartz noted that it was ultimately the City Council’s decision whether to accept the road or not. At the request of Councilmember Willmus, Mr. Schwartz reviewed legislative action, most recently in 1993, to turn back roads through negotiation, with some taking place immediately and others deferred.
Ms. Bloom advised that there was currently some discussion at the State level regarding another round of turnbacks, with the state turning back roads to the county, with the county turning them over to the City.
At the request of Councilmember Pust, Mr. Schwartz confirmed that the purpose was to shift financial costs to local governments.
Mr. Schwartz advised that he had attended a Map 21 meeting today, with discussion under a new federal program for turn backs; and basically shifting costs to local government.
By consensus, Councilmembers commended the PWETC once again for their “smart” work on behalf of the City Council and community; with their recommendations well-thought-out.
Councilmember McGehee expressed appreciation for the clear presentation, as well as the comparisons with other communities.
Mayor Roe asked that when this item came before the City Council for formal action, that sufficient and advance notice be provided to the public to make sure they were aware of the item.
b. Discuss Twin Lakes Alternative Urban Area-wide Review (AUAR)
Community Development Director Patrick Trudgeon and City Planner Thomas Paschke were available for this presentation.
As noted, Mr. Trudgeon advised that the current AUAR expires in October of 2012; and provided three (3) options for consideration by the City Council, as detailed in the Request for Council Action dated September 17, 2012.
Begin TL AUAR update using same 4 scenarios as previously used.
Mr. Trudgeon noted that the scenarios needed to be updated realistically, such as not including a potential hospital use.
Let the Twin lakes AUAR lapse and begin a new visioning process for Twin Lakes and complete a new AUAR once that visioning is complete.
Mr. Trudgeon noted that consideration should be given to the current economic situation and address past community controversy on uses in the Twin Lakes Redevelopment Area; with situations different in 2001 and 2007 compared to the present. Mr. Trudgeon advised that he had some thoughts on how this process should work, if the City Council chose this option.
Let AUAR lapse and let existing zoning code and regulating plan govern development.
Mr. Trudgeon noted that current environmental investigations and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Response Action Plans provided significant recognition and monitoring of development; and the current language in the Overlay District states that a developer must provide a RAP. Mr. Trudgeon suggested this language be incorporated into City Code to address the bigger issue at Twin Lakes. Mr. Trudgeon noted that traffic drove inconvenience, costs, etc.
Given the challenges as a result of recent litigation, Mr. Trudgeon noted that the City could no longer use the allocation agreement, and could only assess a project to collect for road improvements. With any individual development, Mr. Trudgeon noted that the City required a traffic study to understand impacts, and could codify that in City Code more directly as well as setting up a process for assessments. While unsure how that would work, Mr. Trudgeon advised that it was becoming apparent that the City needed to be proactive to identify areas for roadway assessments, with lots of ideas on how to best approach that through current piecemeal development of individual properties versus the now defunct master plan or development process. Mr. Trudgeon suggested that there may no longer be a need for an over-arching AUAR document, even though they remain good documents.
Under the first option listed to update the AUAR, Mayor Roe noted this would take several months to complete, and if the existing AUAR expired in October, what happened in the interim, and would individual projects be reviewed on their own merit.
Mr. Trudgeon concurred that the current AUAR would lapse, but the City Council’s preferred option would dictate future action.
At the request of Councilmember Willmus, Mr. Trudgeon expanded on Option 2. Mr. Trudgeon noted that, while many of the visioning processes pre-dated his tenure with the City, they were performed by community outreach groups serving as a steering committee (e.g. Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee). Mr. Trudgeon opined that, while those were of great value with good work provided by citizens, they didn’t get to the heart of the matter and served to delay the necessary discussion by the policy-making body, the City Council itself, since they ultimately made the final decision. In this particular interest, Mr. Trudgeon advised that he would envision the Steering Committee to be the City Council itself, with them interacting with the public, property owners, consultants, and staff during whatever process was followed and for however long it took. Mr. Trudgeon suggested that this would require the City Council to meet on a night other than their regular business meeting (e.g. Thursday evenings for the next three months) for listening sessions in neighborhoods, communicating with business owners and advisory commissioners, holding public hearings. Mr. Trudgeon suggested that those listening sessions would ultimately serve to hear public testimony, and at the end of that process, they would be better served to make a quick decision. While the Comprehensive Plan process took one (1) year and provided good and wide-ranging discussions, Mr. Trudgeon opined that he didn’t envision this process to be that involved. Mr. Trudgeon observed that many of those discussions at the Steering Committee level were often repeated over hours and hours at the City Council level. Since these listening sessions would be public meetings, Mr. Trudgeon suggested that the visioning happen in the City Council Chambers, perhaps around the work session table; and provide for public testimony, open houses, listening sessions, and work sessions, but all in the public view and right at the policy-maker level, allowing a decision to be made more efficiently, but still allowing adequate time to get there.
At the request of Mayor Roe, Mr. Trudgeon stated that the final product outcome, whether an updated Twin Lakes Master Plan, City Code revision, or a combination, would be at the discretion of the City Council, and could be a document embodying statements and priorities to consider.
Mayor Roe noted that this would serve for a decision by the City Council, with no perception that staff had defined the decision.
Councilmember Pust noted that the 2007 AUAR was built on the 2001 AUAR, and simply tweaking it again would not allow for a fresh look. However, Councilmember Pust noted that there had been substantive changes in the Twin Lakes are, including the Wal-Mart development, providing another reason for a fresh start. While having the City Council do it may be preferable, Councilmember Pust noted that this created a timing problem, since two (2) incumbents would be leaving the body at the end of 2012, and new members not on board until January; creating a question of whether January was too late to start this project.
Mr. Trudgeon concurred that timing was an issue, since staff was seeing more interest in the Twin Lakes area, and impacts for further delay. Mr. Trudgeon suggested that one remedy would be to require a mandatory Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) for any development application, since the previously AUAR would no longer be in place. Mr. Trudgeon noted that the City Council can order a discretionary EAW at any time, and by creating such documentation in the interim, through amendment to City Code, could make sense. However, Mr. Trudgeon opined that he hated to see such a burden placed on smaller developments that may occur in Twin Lakes. Mr. Trudgeon noted that a policy or ordinance could be put in place during the interim to cover the City and allow development to proceed under those provisions.
With Mayor Roe noting that a condition of approval could be applied, Mr. Trudgeon cautioned that there were many approved uses already possible, and the City may prefer to have something in place to provide additional protection.
Mr. Trudgeon advised that he and the City Attorney had discussed options, and agreed that it would be difficult to monitor beyond requiring an EAW and identifying any mitigation efforts needed. Without such an enforcement method in place, Mr. Trudgeon advised that he and the City Attorney were in agreement that it may be difficult to legally require other provisions for a permitted use.
Mayor Roe opined that having a requirement in City Code for a Response Action Plan (RAP) made sense.
Councilmember McGehee spoke in support of Option #2; based on visioning for those reasons stated. Since talking about fairness, Councilmember McGehee opined that she liked the idea between now and October 15 of deciding what would happen. However, Councilmember McGehee opined that having a requirement for an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) was not overly burdensome; but in terms of how to set it up, she agreed that expediency was needed. Councilmember McGehee referenced previous comments made by Jim DeBenedet; and opined that the season itself may provide necessary time. Councilmember McGehee suggested that, following the General Election in November, those two (2) new City Councilmembers sit in on the discussions and listening sessions to collect information and ask questions, so once a final decision is made, they are fully informed. Councilmember McGehee opined that she was amenable to Councilmembers Johnson and Pust serving as ex-officio members of that discussion as well.
Mayor Roe expressed some initial reluctance for the City Council to serve as the Steering Committee based on past experience with City Council liaisons to commissions sitting in the room and influencing discussions to some level; and questioned if that could be a hindrance in this situation as well. While this may not be an issue, Mayor Roe opined that he wanted to raise the question, and cited some examples of studies done outside the realm of the City Council (e.g. Housing and Redevelopment Authority for the Rental Housing Study) and how well such a process worked. However, for this issue, Mayor Roe conceded that it may make sense to have the City Council involved as long as it didn’t impede the process of discussion.
Councilmember Willmus opined that in this case he didn’t think it would impact the discussion since it the ultimate decision was going to occur at the dais in the end.
Mayor Roe recognized the idea of having the City Council informed throughout the process; however, he suggested that the Planning Commission should have a co-equal role as well since they are charged with dealing with planning issues.
Councilmember McGehee spoke in support of this option, depending on how the City Council handled the process; whether it encouraged or dampened ideas. Councilmember McGehee liked the idea of open houses and listening sessions versus simply taking testimony.
Mayor Roe noted that during the highly-successful Parks and Recreation Master Plan process, all that information got back to the City Council; and spoke in support of a similar process in some form. Mayor Roe suggested, whether more aspirational or not, the process should not specify uses on each block but be more freeform, since the existing Twin Lakes Master Plan was already in place, even though completed some time ago, it made sense to have something in the new zoning code. Mayor Roe agreed with the recommendation for Option #2, opining that this task was not as daunting as that of the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee process, and that is should not take as long to vet out, since the issues are very succinct and easy to come to, and should be forthcoming in short order. Mayor Roe opined that this seemed to be the most sensible way to move forward.
Councilmember Willmus opined that one thing he worried about was the timing; and need to move forward with the revision process, vet it out, and how the Planning Commission worked into that process. Councilmember Willmus noted that the more bodies, the more discussion; and while not bad overall, a realistic timeframe needed to be a consideration.
Mayor Roe noted that, at the last joint meeting of the Planning Commission and City Council, the Planning Commission had asked to be part of the discussion for the Twin Lakes area.
At the request of Councilmember Johnson, Mr. Trudgeon advised that the Regulating Plan for the Twin Lakes area was in place to regulate form and function.
If the City Council directed staff to proceed with Option #2, Mr. Trudgeon advised that staff could consult with the City Attorney and bring back a more detailed process for review; and a policy or ordinance in place for the interim. However, Mr. Trudgeon noted that such a process would not work its way through the system until the end of November due to the Planning Commission and public hearing processes.
City Attorney Gaughan opined that the interim policy could be done in the form of a resolution, since the City Council had discretionary EAW authority, rather than proceeding through an ordinance process.
Mayor Roe noted a similar process for the solar energy process, with a resolution first followed by an ordinance as part of City Code.
Mayor Roe questioned whether the Option #2 process might require an Interim Ordinance to be put in place.
Mr. Trudgeon advised that staff had discussed a moratorium; however he advised that staff was against that, since they thought enough regulations were already in place based on previous land use discussions, the regulating plan, heightened overall standards, and knowledge of what is happening in the AUAR and MPCA environmental reviews, and required traffic studies, all serving as a functional part in forming a policy base. Mr. Trudgeon noted previous discussions with property owners in the Twin Lakes area and their perception of the City putting up roadblocks to development, and staff’s preference not to enhance that perception. Mr. Trudgeon noted that, given the time of the year, planning for development may proceed, but limited construction would occur.
Councilmember McGehee opined that, as things come forward to staff they should be incorporated into the new reality in terms of the Master Plan; and further opined that she would like specific goals for the area and input from citizens with their ideas. Councilmember McGehee opined that property owners in the Twin Lakes area should be very happy with this process with the City Council and feel more comfortable with their buy in.
Mr. Trudgeon advised that staff and the City Attorney would proceed in drafting a resolution for the City Council; and then firm up discussion for City Council ideas collectively for input.
Mayor Roe noted that there would be two (2) business meetings between now and October 15, 2012, the expiration date of the current AUAR, for potential adoption of the resolution.
Councilmember McGehee questioned why staff had delayed bringing this item to the City Council before now since they knew the expiration date for the AUAR.
In response, Mr. Trudgeon advised that it was on the Planning Division’s 2012 work plan, with funds incorporated in the 2012 budget; and that staff had attempted to get it to the City Council before now, but was unable to do so based on other department and city priorities.
c. Discuss “Rental Licensing to Achieve Compliance” Report
Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) Executive Director Patrick Trudgeon and HRA Housing Program Manager Jeanne Kelsey were available for this presentation.
Mr. Trudgeon provided an introduction of this report, its history, and funding from the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) to hire a research assistant to review various concerns and issues related to rental licensing for larger multi-family properties in Roseville. Mr. Trudgeon advised that the overall goal was to make those larger, multi-family housing complexes supportive of neighborhoods versus being a detriment.
Mr. Trudgeon noted that a representative of the Minnesota Multi-Family Housing Association, Ms. Lisa Palen, was also in the audience.
Ms. Kelsey reviewed the report itself, noting that there was no recommendation from the HRA at this point, with the HRA Board having received this presentation at that August meeting and asking that the City Council also receive a presentation for any immediate feedback prior to developing a recommendation on how to proceed. Mr. Kelsey advised that a more formal discussion at the HRA or a program outline was intended for the joint meeting of the HRA and City Council.
Ms. Kelsey highlighted the desired end product of the CURA intern through review of existing programs around the metropolitan area and an ordinance in place since 1967 in Rochester, MN; and the pros/cons of old and new programs.
Ms. Kelsey advised that the report provided recommendations for the City of Roseville without use of any more staff, but through third party inspectors, similar to those currently used by the Cities of West St. Paul and Little Canada; with the cost of those inspections borne 100% by multi-family properties (defined as five units or larger)
Ms. Kelsey noted the preference for a targeted program versus an annual inspection to avoid becoming a burden for good property owners, the majority of which are evidenced in Roseville. Ms. Kelsey stated that this targeted program would be based on standards (e.g. number and type of annual code violations) with four (4) levels of inspection. Ms. Kelsey advised that the highest level would only be inspected every three (3) years, or only a percentage of units inspected; the next level inspected every two (2) years; and the other level inspected annually. In some communities, if multiple or frequent violations are found, a semi-annual inspection may be required. Again, Ms. Kelsey emphasized that those inspection costs were passed on to those properties. Ms. Kelsey reviewed some of the City’s inspection codes and ordinances that may require tweaking (e.g. food storage in buildings; occupancy standards) and other existing standards difficult or challenging for property owners to understand or use.
Ms. Kelsey noted an option available that would require a property owner to keep an occupancy register when renting units to register how many people are moving in; and whether it would be used on inspection or coordinated for emergency response with fire, police and emergency response personnel; as well as better utilizing the nuisance code and “3 strike” stipulations. Due to lacks in shared communications, Ms. Kelsey noted that ability isn’t currently available, with recommendations anticipated to putting together such a program. Ms. Kelsey advised that other recommendations could include outreach with property owners on a monthly or quarterly basis, since the HRA had found evidence of some benefits in similar educational processes. Ms. Kelsey noted that there used to be a crime-free volunteer rental group, now defunct, and recommendations to reinstate that could be forthcoming. Ms. Kelsey noted that some communities require a background check on any tenants moving into a building, which could help safeguard areas the City currently didn’t have any ability to enforce.
Mr. Trudgeon noted that the vast majority of multi-family properties in Roseville were run very well, but as usual only a few “rotten apples” spoil the bunch; and needed to have this occur. However, Mr. Trudgeon noted that it was not the intent to concern those property owners managing their properties well, or penalize those following regulations. Mr. Trudgeon reiterated that there were a lot of good multi-family property owners in Roseville, with only a few select problem properties to address.
Councilmember Pust, with regard to third party inspections if that became a recommendation, wanted to ensure that they do so in a fair and transparent process. Through use of a crime-free addendum, Councilmember Pust sought to balance the right tools to keep people safe while not making things more difficult. While a background check may not accomplish that, Councilmember Pust saw the use of a crime-free addendum accomplishing the goal. However, if someone made a mistake in their past, Councilmember Pust advised that she could not support them being disallowed to rent property in Roseville, or to have it used unintentionally, especially when the community was attempting to recognize its diversity.
Councilmember Pust further questioned if the City wanted to go so far as to require people to attend meetings with local government, but to rather incentivize their participation in the meetings rather than require attendance. As the program is designed, Councilmember Pust suggested a survey of other metropolitan communities that have a system in place where they don’t use the Office of Administrative Hearings, but hire less expensive private people as s quicker, cheaper way to provide due process and accomplish the same goals (e.g. City of Brooklyn Park).
Councilmember McGehee echoed the comments of Councilmember Pust regarding third party inspectors, that the process be transparent. Councilmember McGehee spoke in support of the targeted process, opining that resident or tenant complaints didn’t always come forward for a variety of reasons, thus creating the need for an open process to encourage complaints from third parties (e.g. social workers) rather than forcing residents to make a complaint. With collection of information or incidents from emergency responders, and third parties, as well as residents themselves, Councilmember McGehee opined that it should provide a reasonable threshold for what we could say is a targeted property.
Councilmember McGehee further concurred with the idea of incentives for attending educational meetings to inform property owners and/or tenants about City Code, whether addressing an existing violation or avoiding a subsequent violation that they may not be aware of, and providing opportunities that they would be less likely to offend or re-offend.
Councilmember McGehee referenced an article in Sunday’s newspaper on immigrants and interaction with firemen, and the different cultures being unaware of and needing to be educated about some safety and appliance issues.
While supporting inspections of some properties, Councilmember McGehee opined that those inspections should not be seen as punishment; and advised that she could not support mandatory background checks. Councilmember McGehee spoke in support of having the Police Department monitor activities to ensure building safety while maintaining Roseville as a welcoming community. Everyone makes mistakes in their lives and this should not deny them housing.
At the onset of a licensing program even if a targeted program, Councilmember Willmus questioned if the intent was to inspect all multi-family properties.
Ms. Kelsey responded that this would be the intent for a fair way to initialize any program, through an overall inspection of all properties for the first time to discern at what level they are: levels 1 – 4.
At the request of Councilmember Willmus, Ms. Kelsey advised that, to-date, no outreach had been done with property owners by the MN Multi-Family Housing Association, with suggestions that a public hearing be held at the HRA level once a draft program outline was in place to start the process, followed by a draft ordinance, allowing for another public hearing at the City Council level.
At the request of Councilmember Willmus, Ms. Kelsey advised that she was only aware of one or two communities currently requiring an occupancy register; but suggesting that Ms. Palen could possibly respond better.
Related to an occupancy register, Councilmember Willmus questioned how long a register had been in place and whether there were any requirements had been upheld or challenged.
Councilmember Johnson concurred that the City Council and staff were in agreement that the vast majority of properties in Roseville were not being targeted as they caused no trouble; however, he noted the need to treat all properties fairly. Councilmember Johnson opined that he was uncomfortable with targeted approach, but could support going to every establishment; at which point the area of focus would become obvious and criteria could be developed from that point on. Councilmember Johnson noted that this was important and had been previously emphasized in the work plan; and expressed his thankfulness to see this moving forward, since it had been needed for some time.
Mayor Roe publically acknowledged that that the report was excellent, and that the intern had done a fantastic job. In the report, Mayor Roe noted that there was a discussion on what happens to tenants if a multi-family property license was revoked, and his concern that people don’t lose their homes. While unaware of the answer, Mayor Roe questioned if there was a way under a license suspension or revocation for transition management by the City or an independent contractor for a process to keep tenants in their homes while remedies are taken, or at least to transition them without an abrupt change. Mayor Roe opined that a tenant shouldn’t be penalized for something an owner does or doesn’t do; and questioned if there was a way to inspect and/or license on a unit basis rather than a building basis from the point of view that the building may only have a few bad units with the remainder of the building fine. Mayor Roe questioned if the landlord should be punished for the building or just the units; however, he recognized that it made it more difficult to do on a unit basis.
From the rental study group experience in 2006, Mayor Roe noted the advantage in having landlords and tenants involved in the process of developing policy, as well as potentially having a local owner group serving as the rental licensing board to provide education incentives and one step in the disciplinary peer review process. Mayor Roe suggested that having fellow property owners tell you to “get your act together” was one concept or idea to consider as opposed to government staff doing so.
Mayor Roe noted another option could be “point of sale” or rental inspection as an option, and while supporting that, he cautioned that care was needed to avoid the costs for such a program being put on tenants, since many are already faced with affordability issues. Mayor Roe advised that it would be his intent to avoid having a building move to the affordable rent situation based on its poor condition.
Councilmember Johnson, based on past experience as a renter, noted the premises inventory document signed before paying a rental deposit, basically serving as an inspection of the entire property for pre-existing conditions so you were not penalized when you left. Councilmember Johnson questioned the advantages of having rental properties do this to protect tenants and as a resource for consideration from which to build an investigation or inspection. Councilmember Johnson opined that this served as a good protection for occupants; and reiterated that there were only a handful of properties of concern.
At the request of Councilmember McGehee, Ms. Kelsey clarified that only one Roseville multi-family building was of less than five (5) units.
Councilmember McGehee questioned if there was a need to tie those problem buildings needing immediate repair into the current abatement program.
Mr. Trudgeon noted that the problem is that the City could not access any units under current code, with the current system only for external problems.
Councilmember McGehee, in addressing Mayor Roe’s concerns, noted the number of HRA programs to help single-family, first-time homeowners; and if an egregious situation was found, a bridge be used so tenants are not forced onto the streets.
Ms. Kelsey noted a current law, not being utilized by most communities, the Tenant Remediation Act, allowing for a process when a property owner has not fixed a situation after some time and causing occupancy discomfort, the court system would move into place the property under receivership and have it taken over temporarily to bring it up to standard, with costs abated to the property owner and taken back after brought up to code. However, Ms. Kelsey noted that this legislative action had only been utilized to a limited extent to-date.
Lisa Palen, TITLE, MN Multi-Housing Association
Ms. Palen thanked the City and HRA staff for reaching out to their Association; noting their attendance at previous HRA meetings.
In response to a registered list of tenants, Ms. Palen advised that some cities required property owners to keep a list, but owners were not willing to turn it over unless an emergency occurred.
Regarding criminal background checks, Ms. Palen addressed the pros and cons, including past history often indicating future behavior. However, since an unprotected class, Ms. Palen noted there was the potential for a landlord or property owner to not rent based on someone’s felony conviction in the past five (5) years and not allowing them a second chance.
Councilmember Pust noted that, just because someone had a criminal background did not mean they had necessarily been incarcerated.
Ms. Palen advised that their Association encouraged background checks for those on leases, as well as those occupying units but not on a lease (e.g. future significant others). However, Ms. Palen noted that no management tool could be all-inclusive and address all concerns in one document.
Regarding “move in- move out” forms as suggested by Councilmember Johnson, Ms. Palen advised that many property owners used them; however, if mandated, property owners may have a problem.
Ms. Palen again thanked the City for working with their Association, and expressed her interest in continuing to work with the HRA as they moved forward; and to have further discussion as applicable.
Mayor Roe thanked staff for the presentation.
d. Continue Discussion on Whether to Amend City Code, Chapter 302, Regarding the Number of Allowable Off-Sale Liquor Licenses
Mayor Roe introduced this topic, based on past City Council discussions over the years; and invited Finance Director Chris Miller to make a presentation.
Mr. Miller summarized the discussion by the City Council to-date, as detailed in the RCA dated September 17, 2012. Mr. Miller noted that this had come up again most recently at the request of representatives of Cost Plus/World Market. Mr. Miller suggested that the conversations essentially provided three different options as outlined in the staff report; and suggested that Councilmembers openly debate those various options.
Mayor Roe noted the addition of three (3) bench handouts related to off-sale liquor licenses: one from June 14, 1984 to the Roseville City Council from Howard Dahlgren of Consulting Planners; a Work Session Agenda from June 18, 1984 on a proposed ordinance regarding off-sale liquor licenses; and a RCA dated July 9, 1984 for an ordinance regulating the number of licenses.
At the request of Councilmember Pust regarding a lack of staff recommendation, Mr. Miller responded that, as stated in the past, he could find no compelling reason to limit the off-sale licenses to ten (10) or whether that was a good or bad decision, seeming to be a self-imposed amount. Mr. Miller opined that his level of indifference may stem from his personally at this point, further opining that from a societal or public safety impact, rationale just wasn’t there for that number.
Councilmember Willmus noted that the discussion initiated from trying to determine where the notion of ten (10) licenses originated; but noted that this remained unknown since meeting minutes from the 1984 work session were not kept; but the staff memo clearly stated that they were not recommending restricting the number. However, from that meeting, it was apparent that this fairly hard restriction was put in place; and since the Roseville population was similar to that of today, he questioned if there was any compelling reason to change it. Councilmember Willmus advised that his position remained as such; and questioned if the thought was to move toward eleven (11) licenses or beyond that even.
Councilmember McGehee concurred with Councilmember Willmus in not seeing any compelling reason to change the number. When reviewing the map of off-sale locations, Councilmember McGehee opined that there appeared to be a fair distribution; and when considering precedents and fairness in the decision-making, opined that the policy had in place for some time and people had built based on that policy, with the policy continuing to work well. Regarding the Cost Plus request, Councilmember McGehee suggested that if they are interested in a liquor license, they can wait for one to become available; or suggested that they shouldn’t have chosen to give theirs up in the first place. Regarding conversations about a potential Trader Joes or other entity coming to Roseville, Councilmember McGehee opined that the City couldn’t support a target income base for them to locate in Roseville; and could see no reason to move from the current number of ten (10) licenses.
At the request of Councilmember Pust, Mayor Roe advised that apparently meeting minutes of work sessions were not kept at the time this was originally discussed in 1984, and the minutes when the ordinance was adopted were simply stated as motions without discussion; and that no video was kept of the meetings either.
Councilmember Johnson advised that he had no comments to share at this time.
Mayor Roe, from his perspective, questioned the compelling reason to retain a cap on the limit of off-sale licenses unless doing so to protect neighborhoods form impacts. If that was the rationale, Mayor Roe opined that there were other ways to address those impacts, such as spacing or by not allowing future licenses outside regional business areas based on their market research. Mayor Roe opined that the notion of protecting existing businesses was of concern; however, he further opined that the limit of ten (10) licenses seemed arbitrary; and was the intent to protect ten, eleven, twelve, or only five preferred businesses. Mayor Roe expressed concern with such criteria. If a sensible way to set up criteria was found, Mayor Roe advised that he could support a cap; however, he could not support a case by case approval, as that seemed unfair to him. Mayor Roe advised that, if the City Council majority supported it, he would be willing to consider a way to use those criteria to increase the number of off-sale licenses.
Councilmember Pust advised that she was interested in further discussion; however, she was concerned that it was not government’s role to address economic protections being afforded to existing businesses. Throughout the staff memorandum, Councilmember Pust noted that there were various references to protecting market place competition and influence of business; however, she reiterated that it was not the role of government to create winners or losers; but to make decisions based on the health, safety and welfare of the public interest, not how much sale tax or how many jobs, but through other public issues. –
Councilmember McGehee advised that she was not advocating protecting businesses; but the number of stores for the community’s populations; with this representing one more place for a protected product requiring a safety review.
Mayor Roe opined that a lot of the safety review came into the licensing process itself.
Councilmember Johnson questioned how not to be arbitrary. If the number of licenses was left open, Councilmember Johnson questioned how to refuse anyone meeting the criteria; and questioned if limiting the number to eleven or twelve served as a solution either, but simply kept the same dilemma as the current cap of ten licenses.
From his perspective, Mayor Roe opined that one aspect of licensing could be zoning related potential impacts to local, surrounding neighbors; with concerns expressed by neighbors, and whether criteria limiting such areas could be addressed. Mayor Roe opined that regarding health, safety and welfare, and application to pre-existing, non-conformity, this could also be addressed through the regional business district through such parameters. Mayor Roe opined that there should be some solution to protect the health, safety and welfare of citizens while allowing more freedom for the market to dictate. Mayor Roe opined that he didn’t’ think the analysis should be based on population and number, but by the evolving market place and how to respond to it.
Councilmember Pust noted the City Council’s overwhelming support for the recent Pour Decision’s application for a new brew pub, with that inconsistent with the decision just made; and not representing a health, safety and welfare issue. By not allowing commercial to seep into residential areas based on zoning issues, Councilmember Pust opined that this articulated a standard.
In response to Mayor Roe’s statements, Councilmember Willmus expressed concern with regional areas, since this is largely a neighborhood business, a model proven to work; and if restricting them to an area around a regional area, it may phase out smaller, neighborhood stores, causing residents to travel outside the community.
Mayor Roe clarified that his intent was not to say that all new licenses be in regional areas, but to set up spacing requirements or keep a limit in any areas outside the regional business district so as not to trend toward all types of liquor stores locating in those areas. Mayor Roe noted that they were permitted uses in any neighborhood or community business district, with nine of the ten current licenses serving local surrounding areas.
Councilmember Willmus opined that the criteria he considered was based on Roseville’s nighttime versus daytime populations; and opined that the current off-sale number limited to ten was sufficient.
Councilmember McGehee opined that there was a big difference from her perspective to Pour Decisions and a liquor store based on retail operations versus a cottage industry operation, with some serving but not a full-scale retail operation. Councilmember McGehee opined that Roseville had plenty of retail.
In an attempt to balance that against limiting on-sale, Mayor Roe noted the difference in tap rooms and restaurants, with some restrictions for policy choices by past City Councils and no numerical restrictions. With legitimate health, safety and welfare concerns for on-sale establishments, Mayor Roe opined that this created a need to consider off-sale in the same light.
At the request of Councilmember Pust, Mr. Miller noted that, while there were some statutory limits, some communities chose to limit the number of on-sale establishments as well. However, Mr. Miller noted that the City of Roseville was nowhere close to the statutory limits right now.
Mayor Roe expressed concern that there appeared to be a double standard needing addressed as a policy statement; as well as recognizing concerns by off-sale owners on what they can and cannot sell.
Councilmember Johnson expressed interest in further conversation; opining that he wasn’t compelled one way or another at this time; and while not amenable to ten or twelve licenses he did want to remain hard-nosed on violators, especially when considering whether or not to renew licenses. Councilmember Johnson noted that State Statute provided the power beyond ordinance to revoke any license upon infraction, even a first infraction; but questioned if this body would choose to be that harsh.
Mayor Roe opined that he would not use that option to bring in another business in place of an existing business.
Councilmember Johnson noted that this came into play, and he found that troublesome; however, without sufficient criteria in place, this could become a practicality going forward in issuing new licenses.
City Manager Malinen, in referencing his notes, reviewed criteria as proximity to residential areas and more specifics related to traffic generation.
Councilmember Johnson, in making up a list of criteria in the past, noted that there were few compelling areas of criteria; using the City of Bloomington as an example, with them having four (4) municipal off-sales to serve the entire east/west Bloomington area; and how they addressed other off-sales coming in to the City, since they had a monopoly on off-sale liquor sales.
City Manager Malinen referenced the map and the parameter over the last 37-38 years; and how stores had developed along the Roseville boundaries; whether coincidental or property owners taking advantage of those areas.
Discussion ensued regarding whether to talk to those off-sale owners in surrounding communities (business and/or property owners); whether they were precluded from doing business in Roseville based on the limited number of off-sale licenses while still getting the market from Roseville; market analysis for existing licenses; and costs for on-sale and off-sale licenses.
Further discussion included the reason for this continuing to come up with each application coming forward.
Councilmember McGehee opined that there appeared to be a general consensus to retain the limited off-sale licenses; and that the market place should determine sales.
Councilmember Johnson opined that he did not support the general consensus to limit the number of off-sale licenses.
Councilmember Pust questioned if there was a potential barrier to purchase a license from another party.
City Manager Malinen noted that, during the Cost Plus discussion, direction of the City Council majority was to bring this back for further discussion.
Mayor Roe suggested a survey of surrounding off-sale businesses as to why they had located across the Roseville boundary.
City Manage Malinen reviewed criteria again: population, residential traffic, residential location, and proximity to similar type businesses.
Councilmember Johnson suggested identifying where off-sales could located based on current City Code as a criteria to be considered first.
Additional discussion ensued regarding commercial areas along Rice Street versus rezoning from residential to commercial; more understanding needed of the current liquor market place; whether a two-tiered system with limits to protect the health, safety and welfare; and zoning districts for a much broader area; rationale for limiting off-sales in areas already intensely used for retail uses; potential marginal impacts for allowing more; impacts to existing stores and whether significant or not; and need for a thorough analysis to address the complexities of this issue.
Finance Director Miller sought further clarification on the actual direction being given to staff by the City Council, as the staff person tasked to complete that analysis.
Councilmember Willmus stated that he was stuck in the same place as Councilmember Johnson; noting that if not addressed now, some future body would be having the same discussion.
Mayor Roe opined that there needed to be a reason; and a policy to apply that was not arbitrary; and if there was no way to come up with that, there was no reason to change the current policy.
Councilmember Pust concurred with Mayor Roe.
Councilmember Johnson questioned if a “Liquor Store Task Force” was indicated.
Mayor Roe advised that he didn’t want to burden staff with unclear direction; and efforts may be needed to find out more.
Councilmember McGehee suggested tabling the issue; opining that she was not interested in a broad-brush approach with regional business.
Councilmember Johnson suggested that, if staff was so motivated to pursue the limited criteria the City Council had attempted to define, it could bring the issue back at some point in the future. However, Councilmember Johnson advised that he was not going to continue with an arbitrary policy and agree to increase the number of off-sale licenses from ten to eleven.
Mayor Roe suggested this work could be done in conjunction with current owners and applicants. However, Mayo Roe agreed that the off-sale licenses could not be considered on a case by case basis either.
Mayor Roe noted that, in conclusion, there appear to be three Councilmembers who may be open to further policy discussion.
Councilmember Pust advised that, from her perspective, any policy discussion would need to be non-arbitrary; however, she questioned if there was clear criteria to direct staff.
Finance Director Miller advised that, given other staff priorities, it may be considered in the future if and as time allows.
Mayor Roe asked that City Manager Malinen review this with other communities.
e. Consider Designating City-School Appointees to School District No. 623 Committees
City Manager Malinen, in summarizing this RCA dated September 17, 2012, advised that these appointments would most likely focus on the Owasso School site and planning; with the intent for two elected officials from the City Council and two elected officials from the School Board to serve with others from around Roseville and other communities for a review of and planning for that site.
Councilmember Pust noted that she and Councilmember Johnson should not be considered to serve, given their limited remaining tenure.
Once the details were worked out with a definite meeting schedule, Councilmember Willmus expressed some interest, while noting if it evolved into the New Year, newly-elected Councilmembers may be interested as well. Councilmember Willmus noted his interest as a potential candidate, given his role on the HRA. However, if the City Council planned additional meetings for a Twin Lakes visioning process, this would require more of his time as well.
Councilmember Johnson noted that liaisons would be discussed at that first meeting of the new year.
Councilmember McGehee expressed interest in participation.
14. City Manager Future Agenda Review
City Manager Malinen reviewed upcoming agenda items.
Discussion included the budget and HRA topics in October; budget discussions scheduled earlier in meetings; potential cancellation of the November 26, 2012 meeting due to a potential lack of a quorum in addition to the holiday schedule.
Councilmember Pust advised that she would be unavailable for the November 19 and November 26, 2012 meetings.
Councilmember Willmus noted his request for additional information regarding the Bond Sale and status of reserves and lifetime savings potential as previously discussed with City Manager Malinen.
i. Councilmember-Initiated Items for Future Meetings
Johnson moved, Willmus seconded, adjournment of the meeting at approximately 8:42 pm.
Ayes: Willmus; Johnson; Pust; McGehee; and Roe.