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Manhattan Beach City Council

Web posted July 11, 2017
By Bill Monroe, Northland Press Correspondent

At its July 5 meeting, the Manhattan Beach City Council voted to sign a memorandum of understanding that will result in progress on a project to divert storm water from running into Big Trout Lake. Mayor Paul Allen and Council members Janis Allen, Marlene Yurek, Barb Hanson Wannebo and City Clerk and Treasurer Amy Wannebo were present.

The project involves a stretch of Highway 66 north of Manhattan Beach that was constructed in the 1980’s and features a curb and gutter system that pours storm water directly into Big Trout Lake. The storm water contains phosphorus that feeds algae in the lake. Big Trout is one of only a handful of lakes that feature lake trout, according to Melissa Barrick of the Crow Wing County Soil Conservation District. The lake is a priority lake of the Department of Natural Resources.

The project would construct an underground chamber to capture storm water runoff. Sediment from the water would settle allowing only clean water to be sent to the lake, Barrick said. In 2016, $300,000 in state Clean Water Legacy Fund money was awarded for the project. Project partners include the Soil Conservation District, Manhattan Beach, Crow Wing County and the Whitefish Area Property Owners Association. The memo of understanding under consideration was language proposed by WAPOA. The Council authorized Mayor Allen to sign the agreement once the county has signed it.

Barrick said selection of contractors has begun. She said contracts should be awarded in July with construction to begin after Labor Day.

Fireworks Complaint
Council member Yurek said she is concerned about a fire hazard at Manhattan Beach Lodge. Upon returning to the Lodge from a boat ride over the weekend, she said she had to dodge fireworks that were being set off the dock. The Council voted to have the city attorney contact the county attorney to report the concern as the county provides law enforcement to the Manhattan Beach area.

Clerk Wannebo asked if this action would set a precedent for other similar citizen complaints in the future and was told it would.

Policy Unclear
During one of two open forums on the agenda, citizen Larry Wannebo asked the Council to put the subject of what detail should be included in the minutes regarding open forums on the August agenda. Wannebo said that at the June meeting, City Attorney Andrew Kalis addressed the subject but no action was taken on whether the minutes should reflect the names of the speakers and the topics mentioned. While Kalis made no recommendation on the issue, he told the Council in June that the League of Minnesota Cities “has expressed that, while the City has no obligation to include minutes about public forum, almost all cities do so to ensure they have a record of these issues, speakers and topics presented at public forum.” The Council did not discuss the matter.

On a related matter, the Council approved having Darrin Welle of the National Joint Powers Alliance daft a citizen complaint form for the Council’s review. The Council discussed but did not decide if the form would be used primarily by the Planning and Zoning Commission or if it would apply to any citizen complaint.

Variance approved
The Council voted to approve a Planning and Zoning Commission recommendation to allow a variance for the Manhattan Villas Apartment owners as the group rebuilds the structure that was destroyed by fire last October. The proposal asked for approval to add three dormers on the road side of the structure to help control water runoff in the parking lot. Also proposed was building individual overhangs at each Villa entrance and adding roofs over the existing porch/deck to help control water runoff on the lake side of the building. Mayor Allen, who has a contractual relationship with the Villas and Council member Yurek, who is a Villas owner, abstained.

In other business, the Council:
• Approved the minutes of the June meeting and the Treasurer’s report and

• Approved having Justin Clasen of the City’s CPA firm assist the City in setting up accounts he recommended in the annual audit report in June.

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