BY SUE WEBBER
Osseo residents can park and store as many vehicles at their homes as they wish, provided that the vehicles are contained on their properties.
That’s the gist of an ordinance amendment the Osseo City Council approved Sept. 23 on second reading.
The owner of the residential property on which the vehicle is parked or stored is liable for any violation of the ordinance.
Consideration of the ordinance amendment arose from a recommendation by Police Chief Tom Hartkopf that outside parking and storage of vehicles on residential property be restricted, according to City Attorney Loren Magsam. A draft of a proposed ordinance amendment was discussed at a July 22 City Council meeting. At that time, the ordinance included a four-vehicle limit.
A revised draft of the amendment was considered at an Aug. 12 council meeting, and the council approved the first reading of the ordinance amendment Aug. 26.
The council then referred the amended document to the Planning Commission for further review. The council subsequently voted unanimously on Sept. 9 to eliminate the four-vehicle restriction.
Magsam told the council the ordinance does not address on-street parking. “This only talks about vehicles on the owner’s property,” Magsam said.
According to the amended ordinance, all vehicles must be currently licensed and in operable condition and be parked only on the driveway or other hard surface abutting a garage as approved by the city. Vehicles are allowed to be parked in the backyard provided they are on a hard surface, such as a driveway, if the driveway enters off an alley.
The ordinance pertains to any motorized vehicle, truck, passenger vehicle, motorcycle, motorized bicycle, motorized cart, golf cart, boat, watercraft, snowmobile, recreational vehicle, trailer, or “any similar device with wheels or tracks capable of transporting an operator or passenger.”
The ordinance is effective on publication, Magsam said.
In other action:
• The council voted 3-2 to decline participation in the Minnesota GreenStep Cities program. Councilmembers Bonnie Heinen and Allan Hartkopf cast the dissenting votes.
According to information prepared by Brett Angell, the city’s planning intern, the program is a voluntary challenge, assistance and recognition program to help cities achieve sustainability and qualify-of-life goals. The free continuous improvement program, managed by a public-private partnership, is based upon 28 best practices, he said.
The actions focus on cost savings and energy use reduction and encourage civic innovation, Angell said.
The item was tabled at the Aug. 26 council meeting to allow staff additional time to gather information about the program.
Philipp Muessig, representing the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), told the council the program grew out of a report to the 2009 Minnesota Legislature. A total of 57 cities statewide have signed on, ranging in population from 326 to107,000, he said.
Councilmember Rick Weber noted that although the program is advertised as not being “overly burdensome,” Osseo has a small city staff whose time is limited for additional projects.
• A travel policy was approved for city employees and elected officials who attend conferences, workshops and seminars. Approval is required in advance from the city administrator and the city council if the cost is to exceed $100.
• A $23,394 bid for the 2013 sanitary sewer project was awarded to Visu-Sewer, Inc. The project involves sanitary sewer lining in an easement between 2nd and 4th avenues Northeast.