BAXTER-As new Baxter City Council members were sworn in this week, outgoing members were recognized for their contributions.

New council members Connie Lyscio and Zach Tabatt were sworn in Tuesday, Jan. 8.

Tabatt thanked outgoing council members Quinn Nystrom and Steve Barrows, who was on hand for the meeting, for their service and for the welcome from the council.

"I look forward to working with everyone," Tabatt said.

Mayor Darrel Olson said the council is looking forward to that also. Council members Todd Holman and Mark Cross welcomed the two new members.

In other business, the council:

Ordered improvement and preparation of plans for the 2019 Memorywood Drive street project consisting of street, water, sanitary sewer and street lights. The project stretches along Memorywood from Highway 210 to Clearwater Road.

Made council appointments: Tabatt will serve on the parks and recreation committee; Olson will serve on planning and zoning, Brainerd Fire Advisory Board, Joint Powers Recreation Board, and Northland Arboretum Board; Cross will serve on the utilities commission and the architectural review committee; Holman will serve on long range planning; Lyscio will serve on the Community Behavioral Health Hospital Advisory Board and The Center; and both Holman and Cross will serve on the Joint Powers Wastewater Board. Holman will serve as acting mayor.

Established the Brainerd Dispatch as the official newspaper.

Designated Widseth Smith Nolting, Short Elliott Hendrickson, WSB & Associates and Bolton & Menk as consulting engineers. Designated attorneys with Brad Person handling civil work, Matt Mallie for prosecution, Kennedy & Graven for bond counsel, Madden Galanter Hansen for personnel.

Retained Marsden Building Maintenance for the weekly cleaning of city hall for a monthly fee of $657.14.

Noted in December, the city's long range planning commission and planning and zoning commission met in a joint session. In the session, Community Development Director Josh Doty reviewed four types of potential future zoning districts guided in the comprehensive plan:

• a future rural district,

• a large lot to future low-density residential district,

• a smaller lot to future low-density residential district and

• a smaller lot single-family zoning district.

Doty noted the zoning and comprehensive plan do not match. Also discussed were the 5-acre subdivisions served by wells and septic systems and Doty spoke about the difficulty for adding housing density once the development patterns for roads and house placement is established. According to the city record, Doty talked about the high costs to serve those areas with city sewer and water because there are fewer people to share the cost. The discussion included the available land for development within the city that is already served by sewer and water while noting city officials do not control where developers choose to go. Another difficulty raised was related to placing collector streets to serve the city's south side.

"Doty stated that the overall goal for the comprehensive plan is to replace the (Commercial Forestry) and (Special Residential/Cluster) District with new rural residential zoning district (Southwest Baxter) and determine the allow minimum lot size for this new district," the city reported. "He indicated that the creation of a new 'Future R-1 Zoning District' will also require a minimum lot size however, property owners should have some flexibility to subdivide. Another item to discuss is small acreage zoning districts and potentially a more compact single-family zoning district such as twin homes for example."

One question before the joint session was what would happen for the allowance of animals, like horses or chickens, if the Special Residential/Cluster district goes away. Both the commercial forestry and special residential districts allow those animals. Next steps include completing a residential zoning district study and hosting a public hearing.

The joint session also went over the city's Business Gateway district, the main entrances to the city and a goal to have some areas with a more "polished entrance." The trees screening the shopping center development with Dick's Sporting Goods was listed as an example of success. Next steps are to complete standards for the gateway district. The joint session also looked at oversized parking lots and alternative overflow parking area.

Accepted a Walmart community grant of $1,550 for the police department, which will be used to purchase a department drone and approved the transfer of $1,650 from the alcohol forfeiture fund to pay the balance of the drone purchase price.

Met in a several closed sessions for attorney-client privilege, to discuss purchase of property and for labor negotiations.