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Baxter City Council: Council approves moratorium on residential subdivisions: Applications on buildable lots 15 acres or less to wait

Baxter City Council members and staff prepare for a full agenda at the council session Wednesday, Aug. 22, at city hall. Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch 1 / 2
The women representing the city of Baxter through the Miss United States Pageant, crowned in June, spoke to the Baxter City Council Wednesday, Aug. 22, at city hall. The women introduced themselves and the platforms they are working on during their title year. Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch2 / 2

BAXTER—The Baxter City Council unanimously supported a temporary moratorium on residential subdivisions for requests of lot sizes of 15 acres or smaller while a residential zoning study is completed.

Josh Doty, community development director, told council members Wednesday, Aug. 22, the intent of the moratorium is to allow for an in-depth study regarding residential zoning districts. The temporary halt is being done to allow for revisions by staff related to the city's comprehensive plan, which was updated in 2015.

The moratorium may last up to a year or end when the zoning district study is concluded. For background, the city noted its comprehensive plan provides guidance on developing official controls related to residential zoning districts. The moratorium applies to properties in the special residential cluster and commercial forestry zoning districts.

Council member Todd Holman asked if the process would be going through planning and zoning to ensure civic engagement along the way. Doty confirmed that is the plan. The council also authorized staff to start the zoning study. No one from the public spoke at the public hearing regarding temporarily preventing the residential subdivisions.

In other business, the council:

Heard a presentation from the women who have titles representing Baxter through the Miss United States Pageant. The women introduced themselves and told the council more about their platform projects.

Had a public hearing on vacating the right of way at the old intersection of Edgewood Drive and Excelsior Road, which in essence means the area ceases to be public. Edgewood Drive is part of construction work altering the road's path. No one from the public spoke.

Learned from the cemetery commission minutes, the research for adding a columbarium, funeral urns after cremations, found—depending on size—the prices were in the range of $28,000. The commission planned to invite representatives from two companies to the Oct. 15 meeting for a presentation and question and answer session.

Also staff met with two tree company representatives and had a damaged and dying tree along with a dead tree removed from the cemetery. Mike's Tree Company representative Chris Biermaier provided the low quote and trees were removed. The commission talked about establishing a tree management plan for plantings, removal and pruning.

Appointed Zach Vogt to seasonal position roadside mower position. The position pays $11 per hour.

Approved a partial pay estimate for GM Contracting Inc. in the amount of $260,614.60 for the 2018 Lift Station reroute improvements project.

Approved a partial pay estimate for Landwehr Construction Inc. in the amount of $75,122.71 for the 2018 Cypress Drive improvements project.

Approved a license for BNSF Railway Company in regard to a bicycle path/pedestrian walkway in the amount of $9,660. This includes the BNSF liability insurance for the 2018 Cypress Drive improvements project.

Approved a change order to Pratt's Affordable Excavating Inc. in the increased amount of $63,023.81 for the 2018 Excelsior Road and Edgewood Drive commercial improvements project.

Approved a partial pay estimate for Pratt's Affordable Excavating Inc. in the amount of $318,794.46 for the 2018 Excelsior Road and Edgewood Drive commercial improvements project.

Approved a change order to Anderson Brothers Construction in the increased amount of $105,821.48 for the 2018 mill and overlay and full depth reclamation improvements project.

Approved a partial pay estimate to Anderson Brothers Construction in the amount of $317,753.75 for the 2018 mill and overlay and full depth reclamation improvements project.

Met briefly in closed session for labor negotiations with all three of the city's bargaining groups and reopened with nothing to report.

Heard from council members Steve Barrows, Holman, Mark Cross and Mayor Darrel Olson about the good turnout and positive comments from the Aug. 21 Night to Unite event in Baxter. Olson said the Lions Club was a fantastic partner and he tried to visit all the displays and vendors, hearing 300 young people took part in the birdhouse building kits and the Lions Club served 600 people with root beer floats. Olson said they increased the supplies for the root beer floats after running out last year and may have gone through everything again this year because of the large turnout. Cross said one commenter said the event gets better and better each year.

Adjourned to a special council budget work session at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 28, at city hall.

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