Can two cities share resources? Independence wants to talk with Maple Plain

Could the cities of Independence and Maple Plain benefit from sharing resources with each other?

The Independence City Council Tuesday, Aug. 13, discussed that possibility and decided that it would like to participate in a task force with Maple Plain city councilors. The task force would consist of two representatives from each city. The Independence Council chose Mayor Marvin Johnson and City Councilor Norman Wenck to serve as its representatives. Wenck said Maple Plain has expressed interest in setting up a task force.

At a previous Independence City Council meeting, Wenck suggested that the time might be good for exploring the sharing of resources with Maple Plain. He had heard that Maple Plain City Administrator Jason Ziemer was resigning to take a position with another city.

After the Aug. 13 meeting, Independence City Administrator Toni Hirsch said the task force is likely to discuss a variety of topics, such as sharing of city staff, sharing buildings and perhaps merging of the two cities.

The Independence City Council also took up other business. Here are some meeting highlights.

DAN KOCH RETIRES

Just like Maple Plain, Independence is losing a key staff member. The Independence Council accepted the resignation of long-time city Public Works Director Dan Koch. The official date of his departure is Sept. 14. Koch said in his Aug. 6 letter of resignation, “After 36½ years, it is time to pursue a different career.”

City Administrator Hirsch said Koch does not want a retirement celebration. He is willing to go out to lunch with city staff. Independence now is discussing who will succeed Koch.

NO WAKE POLICY

The City Council amended the policy for implementing and ending a no-wake zone on Lake Independence during times of high water.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has an officially surveyed no wake gauge on the lake. When the gauge rises above or falls below the no wake implementation level of 957.8 feet above sea level, the volunteer lake level monitor or lake association president will notify the city administrators of Medina and Independence and the Three Rivers Park District. The city administrators will notify the Hennepin County Water Patrol.

Residents will be notified via the two city websites, official city newspapers, the Lake Independence Citizens Association website and e-mail. Three Rivers Park District will promptly post or take down no wake signage at the lake access.

REGIONAL TRAIL

The regional trail between Carver and Baker Park Reserves was a topic of discussion at a joint meeting of the Independence Planning Commission and City Council. A portion of the proposed route would travel through Independence.

At its meeting on Aug. 13, the City Council decided to recommend to Three Rivers Parks that the trail follow Townline Road north and south of Highway 12 to the intersection with County Road 6.

The Council also is requesting the elimination of the proposed access point to the trail on the Don Hamilton property.

MINOR SUBDIVISION

Marilyn Raupp requested the rezoning of her property at 2515 Becker Road from Agricultural to Rural Residential. The rezoning makes it possible for her to split her 15.39 acre parcel into two smaller parcels. The northern 10.39 acres is a buildable lot, and an existing home is located on the southern five-acre lot.

The City Council approved both the rezoning and the lot split, along with a variance related to lot frontage and lot depth.

A GOOD LAUGH

Mayor Marvin Johnson had a good laugh as he read a notice from the Minnesota Department of Revenue. The notice said that the certified 2014 Local Government Aid for Independence is $0. This compares with the $0 of LGA received in 2013. The difference in LGA between the two years is $0. “We haven’t had LGA for 20 years,” he said.

Contact Susan Van Cleaf at susan.vancleaf@ecm-inc.com

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