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…then County gives it their OK

By Staff | Oct 11, 2015

The plan is in motion, with approval from the Faribault County Board.

The County Commissioners approved the city of Blue Earth’s plan to go forward with double angle parking on Main Street during their construction project slated for next summer.

After the Blue Earth City Council made their decision last Monday to approve angle parking, approval was needed by the county, as well. And, that is just what the County Board did after some discussion and input from the public.

“The city passed the resolution to go forward with angle parking on both sides of the street,”?county engineer Mark Daly said. “But, I stand by my original recommendation against double diagonal parking.” Daly added that although his opinion differs, he will approve the plans based on whichever decision was reached by the County Board.

“I am just concerned about the monetary issue due to the narrow sidewalks,” Daly explained.

One of the major factors contributing to the concern about additional costs come from the requirement for the city and county to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements and having less space to do so with narrowing the sidewalks to nine feet.

“You might have a design that looks great on paper but the design has to meet ADA,”?Daly said. “If we don’t want to pay for a change order for a sidewalk redesign we should say so ahead of time.”

Some of the commissioners expressed opinions that maybe they were starting to overanalyze the situation.

“I?feel like this project is nothing different from any other county or city road,”?commissioner John Roper said.

Commissioner Greg Young agreed, saying he felt they were overanalyzing .

“Whether we do angle or parallel, 99 percent of these issues are going to be the same,”?Young said.

The other concern from commissioners was the issue of liability and they requested a promise from the city to indemnify the state and county from any liability.

“Every other Main Street ended up with parallel and now Blue Earth wants to keep it the old way,”?commissioner Tom Warmka said. “I’m just about done meeting on this, either you accept liability or we just can it and put the money toward county roads that really need work.”

A few business owners in Blue Earth, along with Blue Earth city administrator Tim Ibisch, were present at the meeting, as well, to find out what decision would be made.

“The City Council did authorize double angle parking with the understanding of conditions that exist,”?Ibisch said. “There was some discussion with liability.”

A?letter of recommendation from local attorney Joseph Bromeland was presented at the County Board meeting, as well. This letter explained that there will be minimal liability issues as long as social, political and economic considerations are made by the County Board before arriving at a decision.

County attorney Troy Timmerman asked that the commissioners state their social, political and economic considerations before passing the resolution.

“I think politically speaking, we have 1,000 signatures on a petition supporting angle parking it’s not just businesses but the public as well,”?Roper said.

The final motion approving angle parking included the County Board’s concerns about cost, liability and narrow sidewalks.

The final motion was worded as follows:?”…allow a variance allowing the city of Blue Earth to proceed with double diagonal parking with a resolution for the city of Blue Earth to defend and indemnify both the State of Minnesota and Faribault County from any liability arising from said decision to allow double diagonal parking after considering the social, economic and political considerations with a stipulation that costs associated with a nine foot sidewalk variance and additional ADA?considerations due to the diagonal parking variance be the obligation of the city of Blue Earth.”