Independence discovers more spring storm damage

Lightning strike put City Hall furnace out of commission

Independence City Hall
Independence City Hall

The city of Independence has learned that storm damage can lay hidden for a while.

Mayor Marvin Johnson said on Tuesday, Nov. 26, that city staff had an unpleasant surprise when they attempted to fire up the furnace at Independence City Hall. They discovered that the computer board in the furnace was yet another victim of the lightning strike on the building during the violent storm in June. The result was no heat.

Johnson mentioned the furnace damage during the City Council meeting. Ray McCoy, director of West Hennepin Public Safety, was ending in his October activity report and saying that the Police Department was waiting for a check from the insurance company to cover some $18,000 worth of damage to public facilities from the storm. Johnson said he was glad Independence had waited to settle with the company so that costs to repair the furnace could be included.


At the meeting, the City Council also met Rep. Jerry Hertaus, R-Greenfield, who represents District 33A in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Hertaus reported on actions of the Legislature and commented about tax increases passed by legislators. In particular, he expressed concern about business-to-business taxes and how they might affect businesses that operate on slim profit margins. He predicted that failing local businesses no longer would be paying city property taxes, and increased property taxes on homeowners would have to make up the difference.

Hertaus said that he co-authored a bill that exempted cities and towns from sales taxes. He also was involved with another bill that would have provided money for water quality improvements related to the Pioneer Creek Sarah total maximum daily load plan. However, this provision was the victim of a line item veto and did not get passed.


Turning to planning issues, the City Council approved requests from Ray and Carrie Caruso pertaining to properties at 3560 and 3610 County Road 90. The Carusos needed council approvals to construct a home on the 3560 property in a location that would cross the existing property line separating the two properties.

First, the council approved the rezoning of the 3610 property from Agriculture to Rural Residential. Then councilors approved a lot line rearrangement that increases the size of the 3560 property and decreases the size of the 3610 property. The new 3560 lot would span 21.8 acres, and the new 3610 lot would span 3.55 acres.


Shady Moon Properties got City Council approval for a lot combination involving 4540 and 4560 Shady Beach Circle.

City Attorney Bob Vose said that the lot combination would add small slices of vacant property to the two lots. The size of the 4540 property would be increased from 0.62 acres to 0.64 acres. The increase in size of the 4560 property is so slight that it would be 0.52 acres both before and after the lot combination.

Vose said that during the 1990s, the location of Shady Beach Circle was shifted slightly. This small adjustment left several remnant property triangles. Shady Moon Properties now owns these small land slices and wants to combine them with the 4540 and 4560 properties to aid in future development.


Contact Susan Van Cleaf at [email protected]