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BE Council objects to adult-use locations

By Staff | Jun 24, 2012

The Blue Earth City Council doesn’t think much of Faribault County’s proposal for two sites that would be zoned appropriate for adult businesses within the city limits.

And, they plan on telling the county as much at a public hearing on the new adult use ordinance scheduled for today, Monday, June 25, at 7 p.m. at the Ag Center conference room in Blue Earth.

City Administrator Kathy Bailey explained to the council at last Monday’s meeting that the county has designated two parcels of land just south of Interstate 90 as areas for possible adult business use.

“This is part of the new adult-use ordinance they are enacting,” Bailey says. “By law, they have to designate areas zoned for these types of businesses, in order to keep them from being able to locate anywhere they please.”

The two areas are both just south of I-90, one to the west of State Highway 169, behind AgStar and the Shell gas station, and the other is east of Highway 169, behind Pizza Hut and AmericInn Motel.

Both sites are inside the city limits.

Members of the council questioned whether the county actually had the authority to zone land inside the city limits.

Bailey replied this issue is a bone of contention and she felt the county did not have this authority. City Attorney David Frundt agreed.

Mayor Rob Hammond pointed out the city already had designated an adult-use business area themselves.

“We have 40 acres of land located just west of the current industrial park, next to Nortech/Aerospace Systems, which is zoned for that use,” Hammond tells the council. The land is currently owned by BEISCO.

Bailey also says the property on the east side of Highway 169 is very close to the high school.

“There are laws in place as to how close to a school these types of businesses can locate,” she says.

The types of adult businesses which will be covered by the county ordinance include adult bookstores, theaters, novelty shops and massage parlors, among others.

Hammond says that while local governments can’t ban these types of businesses altogether, they can pass an ordinance to designate where they can be located.

In other business at Monday’s meeting, the City Council:

Learned that the official population for the city, from the 2010 census, is 3,348.

That is the number that will go up on the new Blue Earth signs when MnDOT replaces them.

Agreed to sell a lot located near the Blue Earth Area Wilson Field to Kriewall Brothers for $500.

Theirs was the only bid received. They own the adjacent property.

Another property, located near the Subway Restaurant and formerly used as a golf driving range, had one bid of $1 from Garlick’s, who also are the owners of the adjacent property.

The council rejected this bid and discussed re-bidding the 5.74-acre piece of land.

“The county estimates the taxable valuation on the first property at $24,400 and the second one, by Subway, as $13,200,” Bailey tells the council.

Councilman John Gartzke says he feels the city owns too much land and should be selling off these types of properties, even if the bids are low.

But, it was only Councilman Rick Scholtes who voted against rejecting the bid.

Heard an update on the empty buildings in the downtown area.

Attorney Frundt says the Avalon building is involved in the probate of the estate of Rudy Carmona, who co-owned the building.

Frundt says he feels this will simplify the process of serving notice of safety violations of the building.

The other three structures, located at Seventh and Main, are in violation of three city codes, Frundt says.

“We plan to implement a weekly fine of $150 on the violations,” Frundt says. “If there is no response, then the fines will be levied against the building’s taxes.”

The council questioned how long the action will take and Frundt says it could be three years if the taxes are not paid.

Heard an update on the various construction projects in the city from city engineer Wes Brown of Bolton and Menk Engineers.

He reported that all of the underground work on the Gorman Street project is completed, as is much of the grading and curb and sidewalk and some paving.

The council agreed to change the completion date on the airport runway project from July 1 to Aug. 10.

“It will be essentially completed by that date,” Brown says. “We had to delay the start of the work because of a problem with getting the funding, but we are on schedule now.”

The new runway should be usable by the Aug. 10 date, with total completion of the work by Sept. 7.

The council also agreed to a $24,192 bid for seal-coating streets in town.

Not OK’d by the council was a bid of $12,030 to televise the sewer lines along Highway 169.

The council asked that the amount be lowered by not televising the lines that are set to be replaced this next summer as part of the rebuilding of the highway.

Voted 6-1 to accept the new city zoning ordinance.

Councilman Scholtes cast the lone dissenting vote.

At past meetings Scholtes has taken issue with the rules regulating the size of garages and the ability to place them on empty lots which is not allowed in the new ordinance.