There should be plenty of outdoor dining options in Waconia again this summer.
The city council last Monday adopted a resolution approving expanded permitted outdoor dining areas. That comes as the pandemic lingers and state executive orders limiting indoor seating capacity on restaurants and bars remain in place.
The city authorized expanded outdoor dining last summer in response to the impacts those orders had on small businesses as the coronavirus took hold. Rules for this summer will be similar to 2020.
The provisions take effect immediately and the city has developed rules for seating on city sidewalks; public, private and shared parking lots; and on-street parking spaces. City staff will review all requests that come for temporary outdoor dining patios to ensure compliance to the rules and city fire code. A refundable deposit of $250 will be required for outdoor seating permits.
Unlike last year when large jersey barriers made outdoor patios somewhat like dining next to a road construction site, the city this year will provide barriers that incorporate more design elements, such as planter boxes, painting and other modifications.
The temporary outdoor dining provisions could remain in place into the end of October like last year, or could be removed earlier if pandemic orders are lifted before then.
In other business, the council authorized city staff to obtain pricing for purchase of a new tanker truck for the Waconia Fire Department to replace an existing 1989 vintage piece of equipment.
The tanker is the first truck out to respond to fires that require portable water, according to fire department personnel, and there is concern that due to the age of the apparatus, parts are not readily available. That could lead to extended out-of-service time in the event of a major component failure.
The 31-year-old unit also is not in line with several National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommended standards, according to assistant fire chief Mike Dressel. For example, the existing unit lacks backup and side cameras, airbag protection, shoulder style seatbelts and other enhanced safety provisions.
A new tanker is expected to better meet city and township contractual obligations for fire service, Dressel said.
Once quotes are obtained, the request will be brought back to the council for formal approval. Fire department personnel anticipate that the $350,000 programmed in the city’s capital improvement plan is adequate for the tanker replacement.
The council also heard a presentation last Monday from Sheriff Jason Kamerud with an overview of the city’s contract with Carver County for police protection service. Service involves 24/7 patrol, and the city’s staffing allocation includes six deputies, including a lead sergeant, plus a part-time community service officer.
Carver County Library leaders Heidi Hoks, director, and Paul Ericsson, branch manager, also shared a presentation about library services provided in the community over the past pandemic year. Some unique provisions developed to help library users stay connected during the period included curbside “grab and go” book checkouts, online services, virtual programs, and take and make kits for children, Ericsson reported. Some virtual programs attracted greater attendance levels than pre-COVID attendance at some in-person events, he said, and could remain an option even after library pandemic restrictions are lifted.
In development-related action, among items in its consent agenda, the council approved an early grading agreement and permit for The Fields, a residential development proposed for the Burandt property north of Brooke Peterson fields. A preliminary plat was approved last November. The agreement authorized last week comes with provisions to enable the developer to take advantage of favorable conditions and start grading early before the final plat is approved.
The council also approved the sale of a parcel of city-owned property south of St. George Street to JMH Land Development Company for $125,000. That parcel ultimately is expected to become part of the adjacent Waterford development.