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Brainerd City Council: Tall fence allowed to stay

A tall fence may stay up, the Brainerd City Council said. At a council meeting Monday, the group approved a Brainerd Planning Commission recommendation to allow residents Jerrold and Jill Seaver to keep a 6 1/2 foot fence at their home, 801 Lake ...

A tall fence may stay up, the Brainerd City Council said.

At a council meeting Monday, the group approved a Brainerd Planning Commission recommendation to allow residents Jerrold and Jill Seaver to keep a 6 ยฝ foot fence at their home, 801 Lake Street.

Voting against the move were city council members Mary Koep and Kelly Bevans.

Zoning ordinance only allows for a four foot tall fence, and the current 6 ยฝ foot fence was erected without a building permit.

But the property owners spoke out in favor of keeping the fence, raising issues of safety and privacy.

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Those issues included a neighbor making inappropriate comments about spying on Jill Seaver, an assault on Jerrold Seaver, and grandchildren playing.

However, part of the fence is built in the public right of way.

The Seavers want to keep it there.

City council and Planning Commission member Dolly Matten said a concern with local residents is seeing past the fence when coming out of the driveway nearby.

The council directed city staff to meet with the Seavers to make sure the fence meets safety standards, whether it be by bringing it in closer or keeping it where it is.

In other city council news:

Denied a lower cost payment request from the contractor who rigged spiders off the top of the historic water tower and removed loose coating. Not enough money was taken off the bill, the council agreed. Staff will now ask the contractor for a lower price.

The city hired the contractor for $25,000 to remove all loose pieces from the tower and to take a core sample of the tower to determine what repair work will need to be done. The work was expected to take three days and the company said it would bring in a massive lift to better accomplish the work.

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City council member Gary Scheeler said he watched the whole process and the contractors only removed loose coating from the north side of the tower. Further, the lift wasn't used because it wouldn't fit the area by the tower and they didn't do a core sample.

The contractor reduced the price to $19,870, but the council said it wasn't enough.

Agreed to start meeting in workshop sessions, which would be separate from committee and regular council meetings. There would be no action taken, just discussion on issues the city faces. The goal, said city council member Mary Koep, will be to have a less pressing atmosphere. Koep and city council member Chip Borkenhagen brought the idea forward because council meetings are "so packed with things we have to take care of that meetings get long" and city leaders may need more time to "hash out" topics.

The day and time of the first workshop will be set soon.

Approved a land swap between the city and residents Bruce and Sharon Isebrand. The Isebrands traded 1.2 acres of land located near Wright Street for 1.2 acres of city land located directly off of Wright Street.

The move helps the Isebrands gain access from Wright Street to provide utilities to a building nearby, and the city with a buildable lot.

Voted to deny a request to vacate a part of platted 24th Street lying between Oak and Norwood streets, citing potential future use. Voting against the move was city council member Mary Koep.

Heard that city staff and the Safety and Public Works Committee will continue to work on a five year plan for road construction.

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Directed a subcommittee to explore options for IT services, including the cost of contractors or partnering with another city or county. The subcommittee includes some council members and several city staff members.

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