Brainerd City Council: Possible amendment for crematoriums on docket
The Brainerd City Council is going back to the drawing board with a hard look at revising statutes--namely, whether to allow mortuaries, funeral homes and crematoriums with conditional use permits.
The Brainerd City Council is going back to the drawing board with a hard look at revising statutes-namely, whether to allow mortuaries, funeral homes and crematoriums with conditional use permits.
During the meeting Monday, July 2, City Planner Mark Ostgarden said the proposed amendment finds its genesis, in part, by a funeral home currently located in a B4 district. Its owners plan to make an expansion, including a crematorium. As the laws are written-they were revised in 2009-that expansion is not permitted at this time. Documents characterized the proposed amendment as a means to rectify an oversight of the city's zoning framework.
The amendment would incorporate these facilities into conditional use permits for B4 (General Commercial) and B6 (Washington Street Commercial) properties.
Per Ostgarden's research, there are a few concerns revolving around the establishment of these facilities-particularly crematoriums.
• High temperatures, which may be dangerous if equipment is not operated properly;
• Exhaust, which may create-unlikely, but possible-unpleasant odors for neighboring properties, specifically in the case of overweight bodies or bodies in various states of decomposition; and
• Mercury. Studies have shown traces, if minimal, of mercury found in the process' output. If one were able to capture 100 percent of the mercury from a crematory processing an average of 400 cremations per year, for one year, the accumulated mercury would be smaller than a sugar cube.
The council voted unanimously to convene the reading and will make a formal verdict on the matter at a later time.
In other business, the council:
Approved a fence easement at 612 Laurel St., or Sage on Laurel. The easement specifically lays out ownership of the property parcels and the fence adjacent to the parcels, maintenance responsibilities, replacement or removal, modifications to the fence or the present opening, and costs associated with any work. The fence's jurisdiction posed something of a mystery-and an obstacle-for determining how the city and the restaurant would address parking changes to the property.
Approved quotes for a large-scale patch project-which entails removing the existing pavement, replenishing gravel, and repaving with fresh hot mix. According to document requesting council action, estimated costs for the project are about $10,000-$10,500. These streets are not in the city's five-year capital improvement plan: the 800 block of Northeast 11th Avenue, Maple Street (between Southeast 15th and Southeast 17th streets), the Maple and Southeast 16th streets intersection, South 10th Street (north of County Road 117), the alley behind SuperAmerica (321 Washington St.) to west of Northeast Fifth Avenue, E Street to Northeast Second Avenue, south of the Pine and Walnut streets intersection, the 400 block of D Street, Greenwood Street to the Good Samaritan employee entrance, Thiesse Drive (in front of FedEx), the K Street and Northeast Third Avenue intersection, and west of the J Street and Northeast Seventh Avenue intersection.
Accepted the retirement of City Planner Mark Ostgarden. Per Ostgarden's letter, in keeping with city policies to give a six-month notice, he announced his resignation and expected his final day on Jan. 3, 2019. The resolution also authorized the severance payment package for Ostgarden, per city policy.
Announced a 50-50 partnership with the Brainerd School District for development of a plaza just south of North Star Apartments as part of the Mississippi Riverfront project. City Engineer Paul Sandy said district officials confirmed their commitment.
Dismissed Robert Brady from the Transportation Advisory Committee on account of lack of participation in committee meetings.
Accepted the resignation of Kevin Larson from the Transportation Advisory Committee. In his letter to the council, Larson characterized his resignation as a preemptive measure to ensure there were no conflicts of interest-as Larson is the branch manager for Productive Alternatives Inc. in Brainerd, which were recently contracted to helm the city's transportation services.
Canceled a service agreement with Animal Control Enforcement-which the city contracted with to deal with animal control issues. In request documents, council members noted that Animal Control Enforcement failed to uphold their end of the contract-not being available 24/7, not notifying the city when the business was inactive on vacation and not being responsive to calls in general, which forced the Brainerd Police Department to step in on a number of occasions.