Council hears complaints about city blight
By Robert Williams
The Frazee City Council unanimously approved a beer and wine license for a new restaurant, The Gobbler Grub & Pub, during the second council meeting of the month on Wednesday, April 26.
The new restaurant was represented by Alesia and David Jopp, along with Patrecia Rutledge.
“We plan to be open until 7 or 8 p.m., we’re playing with that yet,” said Aleisa Jopp. “We’d like to have that option for the restaurant.”
According to Jopp, the pub will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner during the summertime, with a schedule to be readdressed come winter. An opening date is still in the works.
“It’s a waiting game going back-and-forth with the state,” she said. “As soon as they give us the go-ahead, we’re ready. We can only go so far as the state will let us at this point.”
The new eatery got a positive response from the council.
“Very exciting, it’s going to be awesome,” said councilman Jim Rader. “It’s going to draw more people to town and it’s a positive thing for everybody.”
Jopp acknowledged she has heard from the public that people want a place to eat in the evenings, having more dinner options in town.
“We’ve wanted to do this for so long, but not on a large basis,” she said.
Seating is anticipated to be approximately 30 people, but that number has not been finalized. There will also be a seasonal outdoor patio for more seating.
“We’re excited to see that and appreciate all the work you are doing,” said mayor Mark Flemmer.
Frazee resident Dan Parsons submitted photos and discussed blight around the city, specifically in the area of 5th Street SE and Cherry Avenue.
“I’m looking to get the city council to adopt some kind of policy in this town to clean this up,” he said.
The properties include both homeowners and rentals.
“They’re bringing down everybody’s value,” Parsons said. “Nobody wants to move to our town because…look at it. We’ve got to do something.”
Ordinances are already in place to deal with such issues and there are penalties for landlords after enough instances of non-compliance. Parsons also cited community health issues regarding asbestos at one property.
“I wish people would take a little more pride in our community,” Parsons said. “It’s getting out of control.”
The issue is stickier when it comes to enforcement regarding homeowners.
“I can’t force somebody to put siding on their house or re-roof their house,” chief of police Tyler Trieglaff said. “The catchphrase on some of this is people have the right to live in squalor. The landlords and rental units, we have a little more teeth there, because they’re considered a business.”
Frazee police will be assessing blight and code enforcement beginning this week and notifying violators.
Parsons also discussed issues with feral cats in the area.
Flemmer spoke on behalf of the council that they share the same concerns about blight around town and multiple members of council stated that as a group they plan to be more aggressive in combating the issue.
“We appreciate you bringing the pictures and bringing it to our attention,” said councilwoman Andrea Froeber.
Trieglaff expanded the conversation during staff reports discussing how the police will begin with citing residents for unwanted or unregistered vehicles and public nuisances.
“By rights any violation is a misdemeanor, so we could just start writing tickets,” said Trieglaff. “There is a time and place for that. We haven’t done that. There have been a few.”
One option for residents is the city will tow away unwanted vehicles at no cost with a clear title in hand.
Vice mayor Mike Sharp brought up the city’s comprehensive plan and the number one issue brought up by residents in the formulation of the plan was code enforcement.
Ashley Renollet updated the board on behalf of the Frazee Community Development Corporation (FCDC). As scheduled, the transaction to purchase the land to become Wannigan Regional Park is scheduled for late May with a transition of ownership from FCDC to the city to happen late summer or early fall.
In regards to the sewer pipe removal, Ulteig Engineering has completed a feasibility study on the project. FCDC will be exploring bonding money at the capital. FCDC has been in discussions on infrastructure with Sen.Paul Utke and Rep. Krista Knudsen to advocate on behalf of the project.
Once the legislative session convenes May 17, both Utke and Knudsen have been invited to visit the site and learn more about the project.
“It was very well received,” said Renollet.
Fire and Rescue
Both the Rescue Squad and Fire Department are in need of volunteers. The Rescue Squad is currently at 11 members, according to Treiglaff. The Fire Department has recently added two probationary members, pending background checks and physicals, which would bring the department up to 20 volunteers, according to assistant fire chief Adam Walker.
“We’re still 10 short; we’re having trouble filling trucks,” Walker said.
Applications are available at the city office or on the city’s website.
Walker reported on last month’s Frazee Firefighters Relief Association’s auction being the best the association has had in the past decade.
Walker thanked the Frazee Fly Girls booster club for providing the food and the public and businesses who contributed.
Lake Street parking
Issues with vehicles parked across from All in All on Lake Street continue to be an issue. No parking signs will be installed in the near future to help keep people from parking in the spots by the former Hostel Hornet. The recent construction of the Highway 87 project, along with the coming railway quiet zone, have eliminated those parking spots. There is a yellow curb there, but drivers continue to ignore it.
CBD moratorium tabled
The Planning & Zoning Committee recommended that the Council impose a 1-year moratorium on CBD (Cannabidiol) sales in the City of Frazee to allow for time to research and prepare for this potential type of business.
CBD products are currently available via online sales and at multiple retail outlets in town.
The city has been approached about changing potential zoning to allow for a future store that would sell said items. City officials are more worried about future changes to the cannabis laws and how that could affect a CBD business, allowing expansion into products containing THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol).
“I don’t want this to open up to a potential smoke shop,” said Trieglaff.
After discussion, the issue was tabled given the impending state legislative vote on cannabis this week and to review similar ordinances on licensing or a moratorium based on documents created in similar-sized cities.