The Jenkins City Council decided to proceed with the application process for a Small Cities Development Program grant during its Monday, Nov. 9, regular meeting, according to unapproved draft meeting minutes.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development program is designed to provide grants for home and business owners to rehabilitate their properties as long as the projects meet program requirements, and the property owners abide by the program conditions.

John Schoomer, with the Brainerd Housing and Redevelopment Authority, provided the council with a presentation on the program. The city would apply jointly with another entity. He suggested the council dedicate $5,000 to the program to increase the likelihood that the city would be approved for the grant. The funds will not be reimbursed, and the program benefits property owners and not the city itself.

The council agreed to proceed with the application process and dedicate $5,000.

Ordinance amendments

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The council reviewed recommendations by the planning commission following two public hearings to amend ordinances for fences and storage buildings.

The amendment to the fence ordinance was meant to simplify the city standards, as the previous ordinance applied different rules to different zones of the city. The city agreed to a two-foot setback for fences, unless an adjacent property owner agrees, in writing, to allow a fence on the division line of respective properties.

The ordinance also says fences cannot be built where they create a visible safety hazard in the opinion of the zoning administrator. They also may not be electrified or contain barbed wire, except where contact with the public is not anticipated or with permission of the planning commission.

Fences may not be built closer than 10 feet from a road or within public right of way. They also cannot be placed in a shore or bluff impact zone.

The posts of a fence must face inward so the "good side" of the fence is visible to the outside properties. Fences are limited to 96 inches or less and must be maintained to retain esthetic quality, screening abilities and functions. The ordinance also set standards for construction material, not allowing use of chicken wire, welded wire, branches, wood pallets, hay bales and other materials.

On the subject of storage units, an amendment was necessary, as it was determined that existing ordinances didn't have definitions for commercial storage structures and did not provide them as an allowed use.

The ordinance was amended to create definitions and implement a land use matrix and land use table for commercial and self storage facilities. In zones where they are allowed, they would require a conditional use permit and an accessory use permit.

The present council members all voted in favor of both ordinances; however, only Mayor Jon Lubke and council members Donna Stricker and Andrew Rudlang were present, not meeting the minimum 4/5 vote to approve a summary publication.

In other business, the council approved a purchase of materials for the council chambers using Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding. The council also agreed to submit staff hours, taxes and Public Employees Retirement Association for reimbursement.

Council members Charles Hoffman and Gary Hart were absent Nov. 9.

Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Travis.