A project that would possibly add as many as 20 new homes in the city of Randall moved forward, Wednesday.
The Randall City Council unanimously approved a proposal for professional land survey services from Widseth Smith Nolting and Associates (Widseth). The proposal is for a preliminary plat concept for the Brummer Plat, a 25.89 acre area owned by the city north and west of the existing Brummer Residential Addition, which was completed in 2005 and consists of 16 homes.
The cost for the services is $4,900 and includes time and expenses for Widseth.
“The nuts and bolts of it are basically, they’re going to survey the property and then give us potential layouts based on what we had asked,” said City Manager Matt Pantzke.
At the Council’s June 16 meeting, Pantzke informed the Council that he, along with Council Members Jeff Wright and Carrie Turner, joined Widseth’s Dave Reese for a tour of the property. Prior to that discussion, the Council had expressed interest in amending the city’s minimum lot size ordinance to prevent lots that were too small in any additional development. They all felt the lots in the original Brummer addition were too small.
The city’s current ordinance sets a minimum lot size of 10,000 square feet. The proposal from Widseth stipulates that its land surveying staff will create a concept layout that includes lots of approximately 12,000 - 14,000 square feet.
During the June 16 meeting, Pantzke told the Council that Reese had indicated a lot size of 13,000 square feet — about one-third of an acre — would make a big difference.
“It said 12,000 - 14,000 square feet,” said Mayor Dan Noss, Wednesday. “You said the minimum was going to be 13,000.”
Pantzke said that is still unknown. He told the Council he had a phone call scheduled with City Attorney Peter Vogel to discuss changing the ordinance, as well as if the city should explore changing its minimum lot width of 75 feet.
Included in Widseth’s proposal was that it will incorporate existing access and improvement locations into its review, as well as potential areas for stormwater retention and provide a potential road circulation network. The end result will be to “provide a concept layout of the overall road circulation, potential stormwater retention, potential utility locations and lot areas for review,” which it will present to the city upon completion.
“Widseth would be doing a conceptual layout of what is actually buildable up there without adding another lift station,” Pantzke said.
At the June meeting, Pantzke said another option the city had regarding the property was to sell it to a developer. Wednesday, he said as he and members of the Council had explored that idea in the time since the initial discussion, it was suggested that would be the best option moving forward.
“But, this investment we’re making now should pay dividends back when we market it saying, ‘This is what you potentially could build in here. Here’s your street layout,’” Pantzke said. “That should add value to the property, and maybe entice a developer into taking it on.”
Noss agreed that the city should look at selling the property to a developer. He said at a recent meeting of local mayors, Pierz Mayor Dave Fischer relayed that he had been told by David Drown Associates — a financial consulting firm from Minneapolis — that “the city should never get into being the developer.”
“I have heard that, too, from different people that I’ve talked to since this was brought up,” said Council Member Mary Venske.
Randall City Council Briefs:
In other business Wednesday, the Randall City Council:
• Received word from City Manager Matt Pantzke that the city received its first half of American Recovery Plan funding, which amounted to $33,014.91;
• Discussed changing the city ordinance on maximum residential fence heights. The city currently allows fences to be no taller than 4 feet. A change would likely increase the maximum height to 6 feet.
The Council asked Pantzke to discuss changing the ordinance with City Attorney Peter Vogel;
• Approved a recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Board to grant a request from Wayne Mensen to build a larger deck on his property;
• Received a report from Pantzke that a compressor had to be replaced on a keg cooler at the Randall Municipal Liquor Store. He said Carlson and Stewart Refrigeration of Sauk Rapids completed the work for an estimated $1,400;
• Received word that city crews were working on replacing street signs around town and discussed what will be done with the old signs once the project is complete. It is likely they will be available for purchase at $10 per sign;
• Set a time of 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 15, at City Hall for the 2021 preliminary tax levy hearing; and
• Was informed a new pump was installed at the city’s water plant at a cost of $1,200.
The next meeting of the Randall City Council is Wednesday, Sept. 15, at City Hall, immediately following the preliminary tax levy hearing.