Hanover declines interest in workforce apartment housing

The Hanover City Council agreed it is not interested in a proposed workforce housing apartment development.

The council also discussed how the city would administer a code enforcement fine option, and approved a resident’s request for a front yard accessory building.

SAND COMPANIES

City administrator Brian Hagen noted that the council, at its previous meeting, was approached by the Sand Companies.

Sand Companies of Waite Park, Minnesota, is a developer in design, construction, hospitality, residential management and real estate.

Sand Companies built one work force housing site in St. Michael with a second under construction there. It also recently built a similar site in Dayton, and has a site in Plymouth, as well as numerous other developments in the state and nation.

The company has application deadlines to apply for state funding through the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency.

Councilor Maryann Hallstein asked Hagen if he followed up with other cities regarding Sand Companies’ apartments. Hagen said he spoke with the city of St. Michael.

“(St. Michael) is very happy with it,” he said.

Mayor Chris Kauffman added, “Sand Companies wants to be in Wright County and close to the metro.” He noted the company has also contacted Rockford, and that “Rockford is interested.”

Kauffman, on the other hand, said his preference is for single-family homes in Hanover “and not apartments.”

Councilor Doug Hammerseng also indicated he is not interested in the concept.

“Thanks but no thanks,” Hagen summarized. There was no further action or discussion regarding this issue.”

FINES

In other news, the council discussed administrative enforcement of city code and ordinances.

In purpose and intent of the enforcement, Hanover “retains the right, at its sole discretion, to enforce provisions of this Code and City Ordinances by bringing criminal charges or commencing in civil litigation in any case where the City determines it is appropriate or necessary, but finds that an administrative process is beneficial to the residents of the City and further finds that such process is a legitimate and necessary alternative method of enforcing compliance to code or ordinance violations.”

“We haven’t practiced a fine system since I’ve been here,” administrator Hagen noted.

“How do you see that being administered?” councilor Hallstein asked.

Hagen responded, “You get noticed up to 15 days or you get a fine. Then it’s an escalating fine.”

Councilor Ken Warpula asked if the city would handle code enforcement “on a complaint basis?” Hagen answered essentially yes, since the city does not have a code enforcement official.

Ultimately the council agreed to have one city council member and one staff member enforce the ordinance. The city will still determine a fine structure.

ACCESSORY BUILDING

In further news, the council reviewed a variance request for an accessory building within a front yard at 311 Jansen Avenue.

In her memo to the council, city planner Cindy Nash noted, “The applicant is seeking permission to construct a shed in their front yard. The placement of an accessory building in the rear yard is permitted, and in the side yard is permitted only with the issuance of a Conditional Use Permit. Accessory buildings in the front yard are not permitted.”

The planning commission recommended approval with conditions.

Mayor Kauffman was generally supportive but concerned about setting precedent. “I just think (the color) should match your house,” he told applicant Ben Lange. “What I want the council to think long and hard about is the next (accessory building application). We want to get it right this time.”

Lange responded that the colors will be the same.

“I’m sure it will look good,” Kauffman added.

The council ultimately, unanimously approved the variance.