City gets update on MnDOT plans

Patrick Fisher, Staff Writer

At its Monday meeting the New Prague City Council received an update on different plans that the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) District Seven, the Mankato office, is considering. Rolin Sinn, Project Manager, informed the council about proposed surveys, layouts and designs. MnDOT District Seven has had to deal with some changes since New Prague is a recent addition to their area. Previously New Prague was covered by MnDOT's Twin Cities Office.

Sinn's office is completing some preliminary concepts that will be shown at an upcoming open house. The date for the event is tentatively set for Wednesday, August 23, and will be at the New Prague Public Library from 4-7 p.m.

At the open house, there will be layouts for intersections in the area, including Chalupsky Avenue, Alton Avenue and 10th Street. Sinn said that besides layouts with traditional signals, there will be those with roundabouts. MnDOT is hoping to get public input about the layouts that will be at the open house.

In addition to the open house, Sinn presented other items, including a rough estimate for work on 10th Street/County State Aid Highway 37 to Alton Avenue, which is set at $3 million. The District Seven staff is also reviewing design constraints in terms of rights of way, needs and budget.

Request for sewer reduction

The council denied a request from D.R. Horton for a reduction in the sewer hookup fee for townhomes it plans to build.

Earlier this year, the city had raised its sewer fees. The current charge for hooking up a townhome is $6,500 per unit.

Bob Erickson of D.R. Horton is building townhomes in the Raven Stream Village development. He said the market and the economy has caused them to make some changes, including asking their subcontractors to take cuts and asking the land owners, Geiger O'Neill Companies, for land cost reduction. Erickson said that this is part of an effort to keep housing affordable.

Councilmember Jim Kratochvil said the city spent time trying to come up with a fair and equitable system. He felt it should remain as is.

The council approved a motion to deny the request, 3-1. Casting the dissenting vote was Councilmember Rob Babione.

Sanitary sewer extension

The council was presented information about a request for a sanitary sewer extension. Douglas Pint, who owns property in Lanesburgh Township, south of the Raven Stream Village development, was making the request. The home on the property is serviced by a private on-site septic system that Le Sueur County Environmental Services has said needs to be replaced. Pint is requesting that the home be allowed to connect to the city's public sanitary sewer system.

New Prague City Planner Renee Christianson said a meeting needs to be held between the city, the county and the township about the request. She asked the council what its feelings were regarding the proposal.

The council was told if other homes made the request the city would deal with them on a case by case basis.

The city will continue to look into the extension, but no decision was made.


Also on the city council's agenda Monday…



• A fence variance was approved for Julie Litzau of 804 First Street SE. The fence would meet the city's four-foot height limit, but a variance was needed for decorative brick columns that would be five feet tall.

• An interfund loan for the New Prague Golf Club for $60,000 was approved, to help with costs during the current season.

• The council was informed that the Praha Haus Family Restaurant was inquiring about a Grand Opening event with an Oktoberfest theme, to be held outdoors and become an annual event. A tent would be set up on the restaurant's property and there would be polka music for entertainment. Council members indicated they would approve such an event.

• In response to a request from a part-time employee, the council discussed the topic of medical insurance for part-time employees. City Administrator Jerry Bohnsack said he checked with other cities, studied the matter, and didn't think it was feasible. The council took no action.

• Jim Kratochvil and Rob Babione volunteered to interview potential committee members regarding a new Public Safety building and Wastewater Treatment Plant, and Kay Wilcox and Babione will interview members for a committee on a possible library expansion.

• The council unanimously accepted the resignations of Ted Novak from city maintenance and Patrolman Brian Buesgens. It also unanimously approved the employment of Andy Sirek as a Police Patrolman.

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