Weather Forecast


Afton City Council briefs from Feb. 19

Sewage improvement project gets low-income funding

Afton City Council approved the first step toward cleaning up a contaminated area slated for improvement.

The council on Feb. 19 approved a $259,700 Clean Water Legacy grant that will go toward low-income noncompliant Old Village properties that currently use subsurface sewage treatment systems.

According to a project report, there are 25 noncompliant properties, many of which utilize subsurface sewage treatment within the 100-year floodplain. The report states those systems contaminate the surface and groundwater "and cause a threat to public health and safety."

Those systems could present even more problems, the report states, due to "high susceptibility of contamination" in the event of a flood or inundation.

The report lists a $3.5 million dollar total project cost. Affected properties will be assessed for the ongoing flood mitigation project, according to a city memo.

The city has sought out additional funding for the project since it "cannot fund a project of this magnitude with their tax (levy) and special assessments alone," the project report states.

Wedding facility in Afton?

A wedding facility could be opening in Afton if a Twin Cities woman gets her way.

Plymouth resident Clare Holderle announced plans at Afton City Council's Feb. 19 meeting that she recently bought a home on Manning Avenue and intends to run a wedding facility out of it.

Holderle said the facility would provide a "positive economic impact" to the community and would abide local noise and parking ordinances.

She said a conditional-use permit request has been submitted through the Afton Planning Commission.

Residents to 'Get Caught Recycling'

Faithful recyclers could get rewarded this year by the city of Afton.

City Council members on Feb. 19 approved a "Get Caught Recycling" program, where residents - picked at random - will be rewarded for their recycling efforts. A city worker will visit random residents on recycling day. Residents found with items in a recycling bin will receive what City Council decided will be $25 gift cards from local businesses.

The program is funded by a $7,100 Washington County grant approved in 2011.

New planning commissioners

One new face will join three returning Planning Commission members who were re-appointed last week by Afton City Council.

Four vacancies on the commission will be filled by returning members Kitty Kilmer, Mark Nelson, Richard Bend and new member Adam Smerud. Smerud will fill the seat left by vacant by former commissioner Michelle Dunkirk, who was forced to resign last year after moving from out of the city. Planning commissioners serve three-year terms.

Guest apartments re-examined

Afton City Council continued to take baby steps before ruling on limitations to entryways on homes with guest apartments.

Discussion continued on the issue, which involves city review of access to guest apartments. City Council has issued concerns about the possibility of guest apartments - generally, a secondary living space connected to the principal structure of a home - being rented out.

According to a city memo, Afton Planning Commission concluded that a house could be designed in such a way that would allow a guest apartment to be its own quarters, even if entrance was only allowed through the main home.

Council members were generally supportive of the Planning Commision's report, though Council Member Bill Palmquist suggested "we can't think it to death."

Planning Commission Chairwoman Barb Ronningen said her panel would draft new language before the process moves forward.

-Mike Longaecker