The Waconia City Council approved a new fire department policy and revisited a variance for a new home under construction on Old Beach Lane at its last meeting on April 6.

The policy comes in response to the city’s declaration of local emergency because of the COVID-19 public health epidemic and actions it has taken to implement a variety of alternative work arrangements. One of the arrangements is a temporary duty officer policy to limit the number of firefighters responding to calls that do not require a response larger than one, such as a medical call or lift assistance. The intent is to minimize exposure to firefighters and right-size the city’s approach to less demanding calls.

The policy allows the duty officer to make a determination whether a call needs more staffing and alert dispatch to the need for a greater response. In addition, the fire department will temporarily suspend the 25 percent requirement for attendance at calls while it reduces the number of calls for which firefighters will be paged out for, we wanted to temporarily suspend this requirement.

The council also reviewed fence and landscape plans proposed for a home under construction at 754 Old Beach Lane. The proposed plans were a condition of an after-the-fact variance granted by the council earlier in the year for the home, which is being built in the bluff impact zone along Lake Waconia.

The council approved the fence plan, which calls for a while six-foot privacy fence between the home under construction and a neighboring property owner, but tabled the landscape plan to allow time for further review and to get some questions answered. Specifically, a conservation technician for the Carver County Soil & Water Conservation District recommended some revisions to the plan and at least two council members had questions about potential impacts from the root systems of trees proposed for the property on a retaining wall built into the bluff. The council is expected to reconsider the plan again at its April 20 meeting.

Last Monday’s meeting was held again virtually via teleconference to ensure social distancing. The meeting approach will continue during COVID-19 restrictions.

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