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City Manager Blog

Each week I send out an FYI Update to City Council and staff on the latest happenings within the City of Maplewood.  I would like to share this information with the residents of Maplewood, as well. 

Follow my blog if you would like to be kept up to date on the behind the scenes happenings within the City. 

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May 21

May 18, 2018

Posted on May 21, 2018 at 8:09 AM by Chad Bergo

COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK:  5.18.18

Meetings and Announcements:    

Our next City Council meeting and Manager Workshop will be held on Tuesday, May 29th, 2018.   Start time for Workshop is 6 pm. We will have the IT Department Presentation.    

Annual League of Minnesota Cities Conference. The conference will be held in St. Cloud on June 20-22nd at the River’s Edge Conference Center. Registration is open and is discounted if you register before April 30th.  Please let Lois know if you are planning on attending. Mayor Slawik and Council Member Abrams will be attending. I am unable to go this year as I will be at Strengths Coaching Class June 18- 22nd.

Updates from Staff and Council

ADMINISTRATION

Building permit cost for solar panels.

Councilmember Smith asked me to check into the cost of Maplewood’s permit fees for the installation of solar panels. He was told by a contractor that our costs were out of line with most cities. I asked Building Official Jason Brash to provide some data on this. He was able to provide the survey results from 2014 that was conducted by the Sierra Club on this topic. The survey included 64 Minnesota cities. Out of the 64 surveyed, the average permit fee was $333 and this is based on a $12,000 project. Maplewood’s fee is $405. I don’t believe we have raised any of our planning or building fees since 2013. If this is something the City Council would like to discuss, please add it when we talk about the Council calendar at our next meeting.

Employee Appreciation Event: On Thursday we celebrated Employee Appreciation for our 16 employees with Years of Service of 10 to 30 years. Mayor Slawik and Councilmember Juenemann attended and presented the commemorative service pins to the employees.  Congratulations to the Anniversary recipients!  Here's the video that was shown as part of our program. Thanks, Communications team and all who participated. It was a really fun video and gives a perspective of what it is like to work at the city.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPw1SCcD44k&feature=youtu.be

Here is the list of employees that were honored on Thursday:

Administration/City Clerk

Deb Schmidt - 15 Years

Environmental and Economic Development

Michael Martin - 10 Years

Fire

Andrew Bauman- 10 Years

Jeffrey Sedlacek - 10 Years

 

Police

Pheng Her - 10 Years

Nicholas Krekeler - 10 Years

Scott Langner - 15 Years

Tommy Kong - 20 Years

 

Public Works

David Adams- 10 Years

Steve Love - 10 Years

Brent Meissner - 10 Years

Andy Engstrom - 15 Years

Scott Schultz - 20 Years

Gary Hinnenkamp - 25 Years

Randy Lindblom - 30 Years

Bryan Nagel - 30 Years

New Staff Report Format

Staff is currently conducting training on the new Council staff report format. We plan to begin using it for the May 29th City Council meeting. The EEDD staff has been the first to integrate the new format with the Planning Commission packet for next week’s meeting. It is possible that the packet for the 29th will have a mix of new and old format. Please be patient with us and we get everybody trained through this transition.

 

Leader in Me Day at Weaver School

Chief’s Nadeau and Lukin, Lt. Crotty and myself attended this event this morning. The presentations by the kids on their projects and how they applied Covey’s 7 Habits was truly impressive. It was great to see the diversity of the students and how prepared and articulate they were for elementary aged children. The teachers and principal Pangjua Xiong are also exceptional leaders. This is always a very uplifting event.

 

COMMUNICATIONS

Congratulations to the Green Team and Communications Division. Their collaboration on the Recycling Feud gameshow video captured Bronze at the Northern Lights Awards Ceremony in the Instructional Video Category.  The Minnesota Association of Government Communicators hosted the annual competition, which recognizes a variety of governmental communicators for their accomplishments in using various forms of media to inform the public.

Here's the Recycling Feud video in case you haven't watched it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLNYTc6lMSM

EEDD

Mercedes-Benz – 2780 Maplewood Drive – see update in highlight area.

Morrie’s Automotive Group (owner of the Mercedes-Benz dealership in Maplewood) is proposing a new dealership building on its property that will require a comprehensive plan amendment, rezoning, conditional use permit revision and setback variance requests. The comprehensive plan amendment is related to a land swap the applicant is proposing with an adjacent residential property.

Staff aggressively pressed the applicant on revisions to their proposed site plan and design plans to better mitigate impacts with the surrounding neighborhood and provide more screening and buffering from the residential uses. In doing so, the applicant has agreed to almost double its buffer between the proposed parking lot and the residential property line to the south. This site received a variance in 1996 to build parking within a wetland buffer area and as part of discussions with staff the applicant has agreed to remove most of the hard surface within the wetland buffer area.

While this proposed project would meet and exceed the setback requirements for any other permitted commercial building on this site, city ordinance requires a 350 feet setback from residential property lines for auto dealerships. This site was originally developed in 1969 prior to this requirement and also had little, if no, stormwater protections put in place. The new project would meet and exceed the city’s existing stormwater retention requirements. So while the new proposed building would be slightly larger than the existing building and there is a setback variance request, this new development would work to vastly improve stormwater and wetland conditions in this immediate area. 

 

The project was reviewed by the CDRB and planning commission on May 15. Both commissions are recommending approval but there may be some residents at the meeting on the 29th who do not support the project.

News From local sources and agencies 

Have a great weekend!

Melinda