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New sign ruffles some feathers

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The former Marathon Gas Station along Highway 3 has long sat empty, but that could change soon. Dr. Kurt Walter-Hansen hsa purchased the property and plans to open the station again. As part of that process, he requested a sign setback variance to locate a new ground sign in the same location as a previous non-conforming sign.

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The Rosemount Planning Commission’s board of appeals and adjustments approved the request and waived an ordinance standard requiring the ground sign have a masonry base equal to at least 50 percent of the width of the sign.

That move piqued the interest of council members Kim Shoe-Corrigan and Jeff Weisensel, and so the issue was brought to the Rosemount City Council Tuesday for review.

Shoe-Corrigan said a lot of investments have been made in the downtown area and that she wants to make sure high standards are maintained for the area.

Community development director Kim Lindquist said Walter-Hansen, who also owns Shamrock Animal Hospital submitted plans in accordance with the 50 percent requirement but board members felt the sign would limit drivers’ visibility. Specifically, the board had concerns the masonry would reduce the amount of open space between the columns, according to a city council memo.

Originally, Lindquist said Walter-Hansen expressed support for the proposed sign including the masonry support columns.

Late in the meeting though, the council received an email from Walter-Hansen stating that he would prefer a landscaping plan above the masonry.

Lindquist added that the proposed sign would be located within the sight triangle for drivers. The city ordinance requires a minimum sight triangle on each corner lot at every street intersection so motorists have an unobstructed view.

The sign will be in the same location as the previous sign.

Lindquist said the city has no record of traffic issues related to the previous sign.

City staff recommended the council uphold the setback variance but reinstate the masonry requirement as they do not believe the sign will inhibit views for drivers on Lower 147th Street.

The council approved the motions 4-1. Vanessa Demuth voted nay.

Before the vote, Demuth looked for a comprimise between the ordinance and the board of appeals action.

“I want to respect the board’s decision,” said Demuth.

Test well approved

In other business the city council approved bids for a test well.

Originally, the council considered the item at the Dec. 17 meeting but after council member Jeff Weisensel brought up questions about cost the council tabled the item.

WSB, the city’s engineering firm, brought in Dave Hume to explain the differences between drilling a domestic well and a municipal testing well.

The main factor that increased costs was the depth of the well.

Hume said to adequately test, the well must fully penetrate the Jordan aquifer. A private well would pull water from much shallower ground water.

The approximate depth of the test well will be 495 ft. Generally, domestic wells reach a depth of around 425 ft. A drift well can be as shallow as 190 ft.

Also, because of the geological features at this site, the test well will require double casings.

The council approved the low bid of $37,835 from Bergeson-Caswell, Inc.

The well will be located off of Bacardi Avenue.

The Department of Natural Resources has requested the city build the observation well. Additionally the DNR may require a geophysical.

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Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
(651) 460-6606
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