WORTHINGTON — The Worthington City Council made decisions in regard to assessments and community development at its regular meeting Monday night.

Assessments

Following a series of public hearings, the council voted in favor of adopting assessments for water and sewer extensions.

Water and sewer were assessed for properties along North Crailsheim Drive — from Fox Farm Road to the ALC/gymnastics building and some Minnesota West housing — at an interest rate of 3.6% over 15 years. Properties along West Gateway Drive were assessed at 3.6% for 15 years, 1616 W. Oxford St. at 8% for 15 years; and 1147 W. Lake Ave. at 0% for one year. Additional assessments for unpaid charges on removal of ice and snow, solid waste and noxious weeds and vegetation were also adopted.

Independent School District 518 Superintendent John Landgaard addressed the council, explaining that a portion of the ALC property assessed is not planned for further development and will not need water and sewer connection.

"I'd like you to consider reducing the lateral assessment for the school district," Landgaard told city council. The council members agreed to reduce the assessment to the school district by deleting 950 feet of frontage from the total.

If assessments are paid by Nov. 13, no interest will be accrued. Starting Nov. 14, interest is attached to payments. If the first installment of an assessment is not paid by Nov. 15, it can no longer be paid directly to the city and will be assessed through the county with taxes.

Development

Several ordinances passed third readings and were adopted. Two of these were changes to city code to expand maximum deck and landing allowances for Planned Unit Development 5, Lake Shore Park Condominiums, and to add a subsection that would allow construction of needed ADA-compliant ramps in residential districts, even if they may violate some aspects of zoning code.

Other ordinances changed zoning designations for certain properties, allowing DK Buildings to construct more than one development and Yellow Company LLC to develop housing lots and leave a parcel open for commercial land use.

As the city prepares to construct a new field house in a former Campbell's Soup building, it's necessary to investigate the condition of the two lake outlet pipes that run underneath the building, Worthington Director of Engineering Dwayne Haffield explained. Engineering firm Short Eliott Hendrickson has located equipment that can view the pipes using radar and determine the status of the pipe wall as well as the surrounding soil.

That equipment, however, must be transported and mobilized across the Canadian border, which alone will cost $60,615. Haffield proposed that there may be some cost-sharing on equipment mobilization, as communities in the Twin Cities and Milwaukee areas have also expressed interest in using the equipment.

"This is a very unique piece of testing equipment that is not readily available," said City Administrator Steve Robinson, adding that there is no real means for competitive bidding.

On a related note, the city council approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with regard to the field house and the W.E.L.L. project. The memorandum states that costs for environmental and geotechnical services are to be evenly divided between the city, Nobles County and District 518. This will amount to an estimated $15,808 per entity for environmental and geotechnical services related to the W.E.L.L. project, and a total of $46,133 from the city between the W.E.L.L and field house projects combined.

If the county and the school district don't also sign the MOU, the city of Worthington will just focus on building the field house and not commission environmental and geotechnical services on the W.E.L.L. site.

"We need to move forward with the W.E.L.L project if it's going to happen," noted council member Amy Ernst. "If we keep dragging our feet, it's never going to happen."

The council also approved a first reading of an ordinance to allow the the land uses of public parks, playgrounds, recreation and community centers, golf courses, country clubs, tennis courts and other non-commercial recreational uses within a B-2 zone zone — the zoning designation of the proposed sites of the W.E.L.L and field house projects. The amendment was recommended Oct. 1 by the planning commission.

In other council business:

  • Worthington Fire Department Pumper Truck #5 was declared surplus property and will be advertised for sale.
  • Tax abatements were approved for Dan Wagner and Doug Nau for construction of homes as part of the Nobles Home Initiative.
  • A conditional use permit was approved for Pulver Towing to build a 58 feet by 86 feet warehouse and office and a 78 feet by 86 feet impound lot on property north of Rising Sun Estates along Read Avenue.