Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery, located south of Loretto on County Road 19, is getting ready to grow by 600 new grave sites.
The Medina City Council, Tuesday, Aug. 19, reviewed the cemetery’s request for the conditional use permit that Medina requires for new and expanded cemeteries in the rural residential zoning district. Then the council directed city staff to draft a resolution approving the conditional use permit — with conditions attached.
At the meeting, the council also took up other business. Here are some meeting highlights.
City Planner Dusty Finke described the proposed cemetery expansion. Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery stretches along Hamel Road. The historic cemetery is at the far east end, where Hamel Road begins to bend to the south. A wetland area sits to the west of the historic cemetery and separates it from the existing cemetery. The proposed expansion site is just west of the existing cemetery and fronts on County Road 19.
Along with the new burial sites, Sts. Peter and Paul is proposing an additional looped access drive that matches the existing looped road, rain gardens to treat runoff from additional hard surface, a trail system around the expanded cemetery and landscaping improvements. The cemetery is proposing no additional structures at this time and has submitted to the city information about potential future columbaria structures. They would be made from stone and less than 10 feet in height.
Width of roads inside the cemetery proved to be the biggest issue for city councilors, the planning commission and city staff. Medina ordinances require 20-foot-wide roads in cemeteries. Current roads at Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery are between 16 and 18 feet wide, and roads in the expanded cemetery are proposed at 18 foot widths.
Bill Sanders, of Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery, said the city council’s concerns were reasonable. He thought it would be economical to widen the roadway at the same time as the other roadways are paved, so wider roadways would not be a problem for the cemetery.
Sanders also said the cemetery has no plans to construct an on-site crematorium.
The City Council agreed with proposed conditions for the conditional use permit, including the one requiring new access roads to be a minimum of 20 feet wide and the widening of the existing access drive to be widened within 10 years. A newly added condition is that parking is not allowed on the access portion of the roadway until it is expanded to 20 feet. Councilors also added the condition that a crematorium will not be allowed.
CHANGES IN THE FINANCE DEPARTMENT
Prior to the meeting City Administrator Scott Johnson explained changes that are beginning to happen in the city Finance Department. As of Jan. 1, the city finance director will no longer be an outside consultant. Current Finance Director Joe Rigdon, of Kern, DeWenter, Vier, Ltd., will spend one day per month working for Medina instead of the current one day per week. Assistant Finance Director Erin Barnhart, who is a city staff member, will move up to finance director.
Johnson asked for and got council approval of the 2015 contract with KDV that includes reduced hours for Rigdon.
Changes in the Finance Department already have begun. Accounting Technician Teri Portinen left to become a finance officer for the city of Osseo. A new accounting technician will begin work in Medina on Aug. 25. Also a part-time payroll specialist and receptionist is coming on board. Reduction in the number of hours put in by an outside finance consultant is making it possible for Medina to upgrade its city finance staff without increasing its budget, Johnson said.
NEW AFFORDABLE TOWNHOME PROPOSAL
Finke listed 16 proposals that are under review by city planning staff. One of them is from Dominium, a national builder and manager of affordable rental town homes with headquarters in Plymouth. Dominium has applied for a Stage I Plan to develop 26 affordable rental town homes on 3.85 acres at 510 Clydesdale Trail, north of the Medina Entertainment Center. The proposal potentially could come before the Medina Planning Commission on Sept. 9, a meeting that is open to the public.
The new Dominium proposal is for a smaller development than was proposed by the developer earlier this year for the same site. The first proposal was for 32 affordable rental town homes. Both proposals contain rent and income limitations for residents. This is because Dominium has received pledges for funding through the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency.
Medina held two town meetings on the first Dominium proposal in June to collect feedback from residents. Most people who spoke at the meetings criticized the proposal. Shortly after that, the council was scheduled to review the proposal. Dominium withdrew its application before the council meeting and gave no explanation.
BUDGET OPEN HOUSE
Medina residents and business people will have the opportunity to get information and comment about the city’s proposed 2015 preliminary budget at an open house, set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2, at Medina City Hall.
Contact Susan Van Cleaf at [email protected]