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News


08/01/2017

THE FAIRMONT CITY COUNCIL MET IN SPECIAL SESSION MONDAY NIGHT TO REVOTE ON AN ORDINANCE CHANGE REGULATING BUILDING HEIGHT THAT THEY HAD APPARENTLY APPROVED LAST WEEK ON A VOTE OF 3-2, BUT THEN THAT RESULT WAS CHALLENGED BY COUNCILOR AT LARGE TOM HAWKINS WHO CITED CITY CODE THAT SAID AN ORDINANCE CHANGE MUST BE APPROVED BY TWO THIRDS OF THE COUNCIL. SINCE THE FAIRMONT CITY COUNCIL IS MADE UP OF FIVE MEMBERS THAT WOULD MEAN 3.3 VOTES WERE NEEDED TO PASS.

AFTER A REVIEW BY CITY ATTORNEY ELIZABETH BLOOMQUIST THAT FOUND NOTHING TO DISPUTE HAWKINS CLAIM AND FAIRMONT MAYOR DEB FOSTER DECLARED THE MOTION FAILED.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW LAST WEEK BY BLOOMQUIST OF THE LEAGUE OF MINNESOTA CITIES "ZONING GUIDE FOR CITIES" WHICH STATE THAT ZONING ORDINANCES MUST BE A ADOPTED BY A MAJORITY VOTE OF ALL COUNCIL MEMBERS. SHE ALSO CITED AN OPINION BY THEN ATTORNEY GENERAL MIKE HATCH THAT CITED A 2001 LEGISLATIVE ACTION THAT REDUCED THE NECESSARY VOTING MAJORITY FOR ADOPTION OR AMENDMENT OF CITY ORDINANCES FROM TWO THIRDS TO A SIMPLE MAJORITY.

LAST NIGHT'S FINAL VOTE WENT THE SAME AS A WEEK AGO WITH COUNCILORS JIM ZARLING, WAYNE HASEK AND BRUCE PETERS SUPPORTING THE ORDINANCE UPDATE WITH COUNCILORS TOM HAWKINS AND RUTH CYPHERS VOTING AGAINST.

AT ISSUE WAS THE CITY ISSUING A BUILDING PERMIT TO AL WOHLRABE OF 188 W. BELLE VUE ROAD TO ENLARGE HIS GARAGE. AFTER THE CONCRETE FOUNDATION HAD BEEN LAID AND BUILDING SUPPLIES ORDERED HIS NEIGHBOR SUSAN KRUEGER OF 192 WEST BELLE VUE OPPOSED THE PROJECT CITING THE EXISTING CODE THAT DIFFERED FROM STATE PRACTICES THE CITY STAFF HAD FOLLOWED FOR MANY YEARS.

KRUEGER IS APPEALING THE DECISION THAT ALLOWS THE BUILDING PERMIT TO GO FORWARD TO FAIRMONT BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING AT 4:30 TODAY IN THE CITY HALL COUNCIL CHAMBERS.


ROD HALVORSEN
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