Maple Grove considers safety standards for rental properties

The Maple Grove City Council tabled action on creating a safer living environment for rental properties during its meeting Monday, Nov. 19.

The council was introduced to a group of new firefighters, and action regarding several liquor license violations.

Here are some of the meeting’s highlights.

SAFER RENTAL LIVING

The council tabled action on a Maple Grove Crime Free Multi-Housing (CFMH) Program.

This program would be a partnership between law enforcement and rental property mangers to provide a safer living environment and reduce crime and nuisance problems in rental properties. A program like this does not guarantee a crime free property, but it can guarantee management has gone beyond the norm to prevent crime.

The program includes guidance on applicant screening, rental agreements, identification of illegal activity, eviction process, roles of working with police, crime prevention, licensing and inspection and active property management.

Rental property managers would have to take an 8-hour, one-day training seminar conducted by the police department. This seminar would have to be taken within one year of issuance of a new rental housing license, as well as completing a seminar every six years to remain current with CFMH requirements.

This requirement does not apply to a person or entity that owns or operates only one rental dwelling unit in the city.

After the CFMH is adopted by the council, all tenants sign leases with CFMH language. By signing this, tenants acknowledge that engaging in identified criminal activity and causing the premises to be disorderly is a good cause for termination of tenancy.

If the Police Department determines there is probable cause that a rental dwelling unit was used in a disorderly manner, the City Administrator gives notice to the owner of the violation and directs that steps be taken to prevent further violations.

If a second instance is determined by police within a 12-month period, the City Administrator would notify the owner of the violation and require the owner submit a written report of actions taken and proposed to be taken to prevent further disorderly use.

A third instance happening in 12 months of either of the two previous instances would also result in the property owner being notified. The owner would notify the tenant and allow the owner to begin action to terminate the tenancy.

One rental property owner spoke during public comment to state he was not against the program, but wanted to have more information.

Councilor Erik Johnson expressed he was a “big fan” of the crime free multi-family living. “I am very pleased to see the ordinance in front of us and look forward to supporting it … I don’t want to be the guy that votes against crime free multi-housing, but I would prefer that there be more dialogue with the property owners before we do so.”

The action to table will allow staff to work with property owners on the proposed ordinance.

 

NEW FIRE FIGHTERS

In other matters, a group of new Maple Grove Firefighters was introduced to the council and presented with badges from Mayor Mark Steffenson.

From 2011, there were four firefighters hired. They included Tim Peterson, Cassandra Topinka and Dave Winter at Station #1 and Tim Eickman from Station #5.

In 2012, there were nine firefighters hired. They included: Eric Lind and Matt Viscisillas from Station #2, Ryan Gross and Jeff Hendel from Station #3, and Carmen Adams, Jason Herdegen, Vickie Huber, Kaleb Kromann and Kyle Thompson from Station #4.

 

LIQUOR VIOLATIONS

Later, the council was presented with four liquor license violations.

The Maple Grove Police Department conducted alcohol compliance checks in October with businesses holding liquor licenses. In four cases, alcohol was served to a minor undercover/decoy.

The first violation occurred at El Rodeo Mexican Restaurant. This is the restaurant’s third violation in three years. The council directed staff to prepare appropriate findings of fact and conclusion in support of the decision to suspend for 10 days the on sale/Sunday sale liquor license for El Rodeo Mexican Restaurant and impose a civil penalty of $2,000.

The second violation before the council was at 3D Liquors, a first violation for the business. The council directed staff to prepare appropriate findings of fact and conclusion in support of the decision to impose a civil penalty of $2,000 on the off sale liquor license for 3D Liquors.

A third violation was from Granite City Food and Brewery. The council directed staff to prepare appropriate findings of fact and conclusion in support of the decision to suspend for 2 days the on sale/Sunday sale liquor license for Granite City Food and Brewery and impose a civil penalty of $2,000.

The fourth violation was contested by Hilton Garden Inn of Maple Grove. The council worked as a review panel looking at evidence presented by the Maple Grove Police Department/city and the business. After reviewing all the presented the information, the council concluded alcohol was sold to a minor.

The city proved by evidence that the Hilton Garden Inn provided alcohol to a minor in violation of Minnesota ordinance and statutes, and that the city would impose a $2,000 fine and two-day suspension.

 

OTHER

In other action, the council:

APPROVED the on sale intoxicating/Sunday sale liquor license for WhirlyBall Twin Cities, subject to compliance with liquor license requirements in the city code.

ACCEPTED the hiring of Aaron Schonning to the position of Police Officer effective Dec. 4, subject to a 12-month probationary period.

DIRECTED the City Attorney to draft a resolution approving the preliminary and final plat of the Grove South Cambria Second Addition.

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