Special City Council Meeting – May 26, 2020

MINUTES
SPECIAL COUNCIL MEETING
CITY OF REDWOOD FALLS, MINNESOTA
TUESDAY, MAY 26, 2020

Pursuant to due call and notice thereof, a special meeting of the Redwood Falls City Council was called to order by telephone and other electronic means on Tuesday, May 26, 2020, at 5:00 p.m.

Roll call indicated Council Members Matt Smith, Larry Arentson, Jim Sandgren, John T. Buckley, and Denise Kerkhoff were present constituting a quorum. Mayor Tom Quackenbush was absent.

Also present were City Administrator Keith Muetzel, Director of Finance & Administrative Services Melissa Meyer, Public Works Project Coordinator Jim Doering, and Council Secretary Caitlin Kodet.

Parks & Rec Director Ross Nachreiner was present to discuss the current status of the 2020 Aquatic Center Operations.

Mr. Nachreiner stated Governor Tim Walz released a phased plan to begin reopening Minnesota businesses. The phased plan indicated pools would be allowed to reopen with restrictions beginning in Phase III. There is no specific date attached to Phase III. With the uncertainty of an opening date, it makes it difficult in the planning and decision-making process. The pool cannot open today based on the Governor’s orders of the maximum capacity currently allowed. Capacity would need to be increased to at least 150 people or 25% of total capacity to make opening the pool feasible financially and for staffing.

Mr. Nachreiner stated staffing for the pool is currently not an issue for reopening. The pool season would not be able to be extended further into August due to staff returning to school and starting sports. However, previous pool staff members have communicated that they are still available to work this summer even with a shortened season.

Council recommends delaying a decision to close for the 2020 season in order to wait for further guidance to determine if the pool could open on July 1, 2020, and be able to operate within the guidelines provided at that time.

A motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to approve the Redwood Falls Aquatic Center to open on July 1, 2020, operating on the guidelines provided by the State if the capacity is allowed at 25% or more and it can be properly staffed. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

AYE: Council Members Sandgren, Smith, Buckley, and Kerkhoff
NO: Council Member Arentson

City Administrator Muetzel gave an overview of the requirements of the outdoor seating provision put into place for restaurants, specifically focusing on restaurants that hold an on-sale liquor license.

Mr. Muetzel stated guidelines were announced last week to allow restaurants to resume some seated business. Beginning June 1, 2020 restaurants are still not allowed to have indoor seating but are allowed to have outdoor service with a maximum of 50 customers and continue take-out orders. Restaurants that have an on-sale liquor license and would like to serve alcohol on an outdoor patio are required to hold a liquor liability insurance policy that extends to the outdoor seating area.

Mr. Muetzel stated some of the restaurants in the City would like to temporarily expand their current outdoor patios or add an outdoor space if they don’t currently have one. In order for some of the restaurants to achieve a larger outdoor patio area, approval would be needed for certain zoning restrictions. City staff is asking for approval of a 90-moratorium on zoning requirements for restaurants with outdoor patio seating areas to allow staff to work with business owners to provide the temporary space. Restaurants would be required to complete a one-page application, provide the Zoning Administrator a site plan, and submit proof of liquor liability insurance covering the outdoor seating area.

Council President Smith suggested allowing business owners to rent the City’s current inventory of picnic tables and barricades.

City Administrator Muetzel stated the City currently offers picnic tables and barricades for rent to any individual for a daily rental fee and would be delivered by City staff for a one-time charge. The fees are set by the Council and could be amended by the Council if approved.

Council recommended a flat monthly fee as opposed to a daily fee per table or barricade. Council suggested $35.00 a month per picnic table and $10.00 per month for four barricades. Delivery fees would remain the same as the current fee schedule.

A motion was made by Council Member Sandgren and seconded by Council Member Buckley to approve a 90-day moratorium on zoning requirements for restaurants with outdoor seating areas or until capacity for indoor seating is at 100%. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

AYE: Council Members Arentson, Sandgren, Smith, Buckley, and Kerkhoff
NO: None

A motion was made by Council Member Arentson and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to amend the fees to businesses for picnic tables to $35.00 a month per table and the barricades to $10.00 per month for four barricades. Delivery fees would remain the same as the current fee schedule. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

AYE: Council Members Arentson, Sandgren, Smith, Buckley, and Kerkhoff
NO: None

Anne Johnson, Executive Director Redwood Area Chamber & Tourism was present and thanked the Council and staff for the accommodations they are making for area businesses.

There being no further business, a motion was made by Council Member Arentson and seconded by Council Member Smith to adjourn the meeting at 5:48 p.m. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

AYE: Council Members Arentson, Sandgren, Smith, Buckley, and Kerkhoff
NO: None