Independence says OK to telecom antenna

Antenna will tower over Delano Methodist Church

The property that houses Delano United Methodist Church soon also will be home to two sets of telecommunications antennas. A Verizon Wireless array is already there, and the Independence City Council has approved a second one for AT&T Wireless.

The City Council on Tuesday, April 22, looked at two requests from AT&T Wireless and approved both of them. One request was for a conditional use permit to allow new antennas on the existing telecommunications tower on church property at 3310 County Line Road, Independence. The second request was for a variance to allow more than one accessory building per tower.

City Planner Mark Kaltsas explained how the church has been going wireless. Back in 2001 Independence granted a permit that allowed for installation of the telecommunications tower. Then last year the city approved an amendment that allowed Verizon to locate new antennas on the tower and also construct an accessory building to house related equipment such as a generator, which could be noisy.

City ordinances allow for only one accessory building, so AT&T Wireless would need a variance to construct its accessory building, Kaltsas said. He recommended granting of the variance so that noisy telecommunications equipment would not sit on the ground outside.

The council also took up other business. Here are some meeting highlights.



Independence has gotten a number of inquiries from people who were considering a purchase of a 0.36 acre lot fronting on Lake Independence at 2914 Lindgren Lane. A small cabin sits on the property.

Now Ryan Neslund has a purchase agreement for the property, owned by Chaoyang Jing and Jian H. Kong. Kaltsas said. Neslund would like to tear down the cabin and build a single-family home measuring at 32 feet wide and covering significantly more square feet than the original cabin. To build, he would need variances from the required side-yard setbacks of 30 feet. The house would be located 15.8 feet from both side lot lines. Also Neslund would need a variance from the 100 feet ordinary high water mark of Lake Independence. He asked for a 60 foot lakeshore setback.

The city council granted the variances.

Kaltsas said the maximum impervious surface coverage allowed in the area is 25 percent of the lot surface. Neslund is proposing to use pervious pavers for the driveway, thus enabling him to have 21 percent impervious surface coverage on the lot. Several large trees would be removed to make room for the new house. It would have city sanitary sewer service.



The City Council decided to table until May 13 a potentially controversial request from Cody and Kathryn Johnson for property located at 4540 Shady Beach Circle on Lake Sarah. The Johnsons are asking for a variance that would enable them to build a home closer to Lake Sarah than is allowed by regulations in the Shoreland Overlay District. The council’s tabling actions will enable Kaltsas to consult with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.



The council accepted the 2013 audit of Independence’s finances after hearing from auditor Dennis Hoogeveen, of Clifton Larson Allen. The report gave the city a clean opinion pertaining to its finances. Hoogeveen said Independence did a good job with its year-end fund balance, which will provide the city with operating money until property tax payments arrive at mid-year. Independence had a year-end balance of $1,596,089. The city’s total expenses for 2013 were $2,994,615. Property taxes funded the largest chunk of city expenses by contributing 82.8 percent.



Public Safety Director Gary Kroells said Independence has three emergency radios that the city can use to communicate with West Hennepin Public Safety police officers, who carry similar radios on their belts. Public Works Director Larry Ende carries one of the city radios in his truck. Kroells said that using the radios to communicate with police is more efficient than attempting to contact them by phone.

During a recent training, WHPS and city staff set up an emergency operations center at City Hall, tested the equipment and ensured that it worked.



The City Council also:

GRANTED an amendment to a sewer easement for the Jon Conlin property at 2906 Lindgren Lane.

VOTED to retain the Hennepin County Assessor’s Office as Independence’s assessors for the next four years. The county assessors have served Independence for a number of years.