Project spurs St. Boni to consider code amendments

By Lorrie Ham

After further discussion on a proposed self-storage facility at its May 15 meeting, the St. Boni City Council set a joint public hearing with the city’s planning commission for June 11 to consider possible amendments to the city code.
Tom Miller is seeking a conditional use permit (CUP) to construct a self-storage facility at 8910 Highway 7. In order for the council to approve the CUP, the city code would have to be amended to allow the materials, namely steel, that are proposed for the project. The storage doors would also have to be excluded from the standards and the code would have to be amended to allow pole buildings in certain zoning districts.
If necessary amendments to the code are approved, the council will consider Miller’s request at its June 19 meeting, which is still within the 60-day extension that was granted at an earlier meeting.
Earlier discussions on the proposal led the council to request and review design standards from neighboring cities. Miller felt that he was being forced to “over-engineer” his project to meet St. Boni’s architectural standards in the B-2 district.
“This is not downtown,” Miller said. “This is the last lot on the way out of town. I think it’s a real good use for the property.”
Councilmember Robert Smestad said he was not opposed to mini storage as a conditional use. “But I don’t want to see mini-storage facilities up and down Highway 7,” he said.
“It boils down to what our vision is,” said Councilmember Shawn Ruotsinoja. “How do we want Highway 7 to look?”
Mayor Rick Weible said the project would have to be complementary to neighboring businesses, while still being successful for the applicant. Miller agreed to provide material samples at the public hearing for review. If code amendments are approved, Miller would be required to submit a site plan and storm water management plan for approval.
In other business, the council:
• Approved the purchase of a 16-inch saw from Concrete Cutting & Coring, Inc. in the amount of $1,940.47 for the public works department. The saw will be used for cutting through pavement. “It’s cheaper than sub-contracting or renting the equipment,” noted Councilmember Terrill Anderson.
• Approved the third payment request from Di-Mar Construction, Inc. in the amount of $75,857.74 for water treatment facility improvements.
• Passed a resolution entering into a 20-year agreement with the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA) and MNDOT to provide for maintenance at the park and pool lot. Mayor Weible amended the resolution to “exclude monetary expenditures nor expand the city’s responsibilities” during that time.
• Heard from planning commission chair Fred Keller about the group’s discussion on possible new “welcome” signage within the city. The group hopes to seek council approval in June.
• Approved a minor subdivision for Dan Schlueter’s property at 8650 Highway 7.