Hastings council approves 15th Street assessments

Posted 4/28/21

Change to parklet Ordinance gets OK by John McLoone The Hastings City Council unanimously approved special assessments for the Phase II of the 15th Street construction project at its meeting last …

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Hastings council approves 15th Street assessments


Change to parklet Ordinance gets OK

by John McLoone

The Hastings City Council unanimously approved special assessments for the Phase II of the 15th Street construction project at its meeting last Monday night.

The second phase of the project includes full reconstruction of 15th Street from Pine Street to Pleasant Drive, with concrete sidewalk replaced on the south side of 15th Street.

“15th Street is a collector road, therefore abutting properties are proposed to be assessed in accordance with the City’s Ordinance policy for collector roads,” a memo from City Engineer Ryan Stempski to the council stated.

Total project cost is $3.8 million. Of that total, special assessments to property owners to pay the for the project will be $581,849.25. Other sources of revenue are state aid ($750,000), City of Hastings bonding ($1,138,150.75, sanitary sewer ($530,000) and Water utility ($800,000).

The property assessments are done at a rate of $66.48 per foot of frontage for residential properties and $44 per foot for Calvary Christian Church, 9087 15th St. West.

Stempski said that to arrive at assessments levels, an appraiser looks at land value before and after the street improvement. The increase in property value because of the street project is the amount assessed.

Stempski said that a statement is sent to property owners at the end of summer. Those wishing to pay a lump sum can do so starting Oct. 1. If it isn’t paid, after Nov. 30, the amounts are certified to the Dakota County property tax roll, and a 10-year payoff process through tax statements starts in spring of 2022. The city earns 3-5 percent interest on the assessments owed.

A total of 97 properties are being assessed, and Stempski said most are in the $5,000$6,000 range.

Councilmember Tina Folch asked if such things as removing ash trees can be included in such project assessments.

“Is there anything that limits what can be included in the property assessment?” she asked. “If ash trees are in the right of way, you can remove it and the stump, level the turf and put in the sidewalk. Is that something we could be additionally doing?”

Stempski said city policy wouldn’t allow that but that there were only about a halfdozen ash trees along the route that are required to be removed for the project.

“They’re already incorporated in the project,” said Stempski. A portion of street and storm sewer projects are all that can be assessed.

“If there’s a change in policy, that’s a different animal. We’re not set up to do that,” he said. “I don’t think we have very many ash trees in the inventory on that corridor. I don’t think that’s a project that has many suspects of EAB (Emerald Ash Borer).” He also said stressed that assessments are determined by the value added to the property.

“There might not be any associated benefit from removing a tree. Some people would think to the contrary,” he said.

A public hearing on the assessments was held, and there were no comments received.

Parklet ordinance change Because of the configuration of some parklets along 2nd Street downtown, a change was needed to the new city parklet ordinance. The ordinance as written required 20 feet from the street centerline to the end of the parklet, which was based on the parklet being constructed outside of restaurants fitting the angled parking spaces. However, parklets have been proposed directly out from establishments, meaning their 18 feet of depth is only 18 feet from the centerline.

“The council may be asking, ‘We just adopted a parklet ordinance. Why are we looking at amendments already?’” said Community Development Director John Hinzman. “What we’re looking at is amending the 20foot minimum setback from the centerline to 18 foot.”

He said city staff has no problem with the 18-foot setback, and it should still be safe.

“This is something we’ll monitor over time,” he said. “We’re comfortable with the 18 feet.”

There was no comment during a public hearing on the matter, and the council passed the amendment unanimously.