Corcoran citizens survey to go live on city web site on March 17

Corcoran residents and business people will have a chance to express their vision for the future of the city beginning on Friday, March 17, when a survey of citizens goes live on the Corcoran website.

The survey on Corcoran’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan update will be available through Monday, April 17 at www.ci.corcoran.mn.us. Also on April 17, Corcoran will hold an open house at which citizens can learn about the purpose of the comp plan and the update process and also give feedback on what they want to see from Corcoran in its 2040. The open house will run from 6 to 8 p.m. at Corcoran City Hall, 8200 County Road 116.

Corcoran will kick-off the process of updating the comp plan at a March 16 work session involving both the Corcoran City Council and Corcoran Planning commission. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. and will be open to the public.

The City Council tweaked the online survey at its regular meeting on Thursday, March 9. At the meeting the council also took up other business. Here are meeting highlights.

COMP PLAN SURVEY

The Metropolitan Council requires cities in the seven county Twin Cities region to update their comprehensive plans every 10 years. Corcoran currently is operating under its 2030 comp plan and must submit the 2040 plan for Met Council approval by the end of 2018.

The City Council reviewed a preliminary draft of the citizen survey on the comp plan. The draft said the objective of the survey is “to identify strengths and weaknesses in the current Corcoran 2030 Comprehensive Plan in order to identify needed updates in the 2040 Comprehensive Plan.” Survey results will be summarized and shared with the City Council and the public, as Corcoran starts work on the comp plan.

The online survey is a little over two-pages long in print form. Here are sample questions:

“What should be preserved about the City of Corcoran as new development occurs?”

“What do you enjoy about the City of Corcoran?”

“What types of shops, businesses and housing do you think are most needed in Corcoran?”

Corcoran has a schedule of numerous opportunities for public education and input on the 2040 comp plan. They include Planning Commission meetings, Night to Unite, Country Daze and an Oct. 10 open house. The final opportunity will be a public hearing at the Nov. 2 Planning Commission meeting.

COMP PLAN KICKOFF

The March 16 comp plan kickoff meeting will begin with a presentation by city planning consultants from Landform. Planning Commissioners and City Councilors will learn about the Met Council’s submittal requirements for comp plans and major changes since Corcoran’s 2030 comp plan went into effect.

Most of the meeting will be devoted to small group breakout sessions, large group discussion and a summary of major themes and then development of a 2040 vision.

MINNESOTA SOLAR APPEALS FINANCES

The City Council decided to make no changes in Corcoran’s financial requirements for decommissioning the community solar garden proposed by Minnesota Solar for the site at 23710 Highway 55. The council came to this conclusion after hearing from Michael Krause, of Minnesota Solar, who requested a reduction in the financial guarantee.

Krause said the financial guarantee approved by the council on Dec. 19 would create “a financial burden on the project” for Minnesota Solar. If Corcoran sticks with the Dec. 19 figure, Minnesota Solar might not be able to afford to build the community solar garden.

On Dec. 19 the City Council approved a 30-year interim use permit that allows Minnesota Solar to construct and operate a community solar garden at the Highway 55 site. The interim use permit carried conditions with it. One condition was that Minnesota Solar must pay a financial guarantee to cover costs of decommissioning the solar garden, in other words, removing and recycling the solar equipment and restoring the property to its original condition.

Estimated decommissioning costs for the Corcoran site are $510,829, but estimated salvage value of pieces of solar equipment, including metals in solar panels, is $544,254. The council on Dec. 19 decided to require Minnesota Solar to fund a performance bond for the full decommissioning cost of $510,829. The purpose of the bond would be to protect Corcoran from financial responsibility for cleaning up the site, if Minnesota Solar were to walk away from the project.

Both Krause and City Council members talked about the fact that solar power generation is a relatively new industry. As a result, its financial future is unpredictable. The future will be more uncertain after the end of government financial incentives for community solar gardens. The consensus of City Councilors was that Corcoran should protect itself from a potentially uncertain financial future of Minnesota Solar.

Community solar gardens produce energy that is channeled into the local power grid. The energy is used locally, but subscribers living in Hennepin County or a neighboring county can purchase it. CSGs are a result of state legislation that requires Xcel Energy to generate a percentage of its energy with alternative energy sources.

OTHER

The City Council also:

APPROVED a request from the Corcoran Athletic Association for funds to help the CAA pay for installing a press box at Snyder Field. Corcoran would pay $3,000 to match donations for the $6,000 project. The two-story structure would be used to operate the scoreboard and to provide storage space.

DIRECTED city staff to draft a new procedure for the public to interact with the City Council at council meetings. The new procedure will be based upon the procedure used by the Plymouth City Council.

APPROVED the purchase of a Bobcat compact track loader and a Bobcat skid-steer loader for the Public Works Department. With trade-ins, Corcoran would pay a total of $5,500.40 for both.

RENEWED an optional 2 a.m. liquor license for Mama G’s.

APPROVED a temporary liquor license for the Hamel Rodeo.