New group appears before Scandia Council
Some residents who live near Scandia’s boat launch on the St. Croix River believe the proposed changes for the landing area are extreme.
During the Tuesday, July 15 council meeting’s open forum time, they informed the city that, under the auspices of the Friends of Scandia Parks and Trails, they have formed the Friends of the Log House Landing.
The group hopes to collaborate with the city to find a way to manage erosion and protect the river, but in a way that preserves the ambience of the neighborhood.
In April Scandia received a $200,000 grant from the Department of Natural Resources toward a $400,000 project to pave 205th Street, add curbs, gutters and retaining walls and trap storm water. The boat launch would get a concrete ramp. The city of Scandia and Carnelian-Marine-St. Croix Watershed District would share the remainder of the cost.
Speaking for the new group, Pam Smith said the plan would almost double the current road width, from 16 to 34 feet. Building a narrower road would preserve more trees, which contribute to the unique character of the site and, through their root systems, prevent erosion and filter runoff.
The group opposes changes that would increase the size of the boat launch.
“We see it open to small, motorized boats, canoes and kayaks. It doesn’t really accommodate large, fast boats,” Smith said.
Sonia Borg, chair of the Friends of Scandia Parks and Trails, also addressed the council to express support for the new group.
“We care about the special areas we have in our community,” she said, “and try to keep their historic charm.”
Other residents also spoke at the open forum about plans for the boat launch. Ray Burris told the council that boaters use the Log House Landing mornings and evenings from April to ice-up. Gail Dietrich asked whether a study was done to see whether the use warrants the changes planned, and questioned the environmental wisdom of a paved road to the river.
The council unanimously approved spending $12,220 for a preliminary survey and tree inventory at the Landing. City Engineer Ryan Goodman said trees and slopes will be noted by the end of the month to prepare a figure for discussion in September or October. Carnelian-Marine-St. Croix Watershed District Administrator Jim Shaver said the information will also be used to prepare nutrient loading and sediment loading figures.
Variances and permits
The council approved five variances:
–To add a bay window to a house on Quinnell Avenue that is closer to the rear lot line than ordinance allows.
–To build a detached garage closer to the road than the house on Scandia Trail.
–To build an accessory structure closer to the side lot than permitted on Nolan Avenue.
–To build an accessory structure closer to the road right of way and drain field than permitted on Bone Lake.
–To build a deck closer to the ordinary high water level of Big Marine Lake than permitted.
A conditional use permit was granted to Jean and Scott Womack to operate an auto repair shop in an industrial park at 21090 Ozark Court. The business will be relocated from Paris Avenue, where it is a nonconforming use.
The council adopted a new ordinance prepared by the Planning Commission in response to lots being created that could violate Scandia’s density standard set by the Metropolitan Council.
Scandia is limited to a density of four dwelling units per 40 acres for the agriculture and general rural districts. But the city does not have a 10-acre minimum size; instead, lots as small as 2 acres are allowed.
When a lot is created that becomes the fifth in a quarter section, it was not clear whether the lot could be developed.
Ordinance 154 amends the development code for the agriculture core and general rural districts to require a maximum of four buildable lots per 40 acres. This replaces the old wording, four dwelling units per 40 acres.
“It closes the loopholes,” City Council member Chris Ness said.
The council approved Miller Hanson as architect for a project planned for Oakhill Cottages.
The property owner, Washington County HRA, plans to build two storm shelters at the Cottages funded by a 75-25 FEMA grant.
No city funds will be required, but the council must approve any expenditures over $5,000.
City Administrator Kristina Handt announced that the no-wake ordinance proposed for Bone Lake requires coordination with the DNR, Comfort Lake-Forest Lake Watershed and Bone Lake Estates Homeowners Association. A public hearing will be held Tuesday, Aug. 19.
City Engineer Ryan Goodman said resurfacing Lofton Avenue should be complete by the end of July.
Hold-in-place recycle, a newer method of road repair for large, open roadways, was done first to build a thicker base with less hauling.
The second step, applying two layers of asphalt, is being done this week.
National Night Out will be celebrated at the Community Center on Tuesday, Aug. 5, with food served by the Scandia-Marine Lions.