By Adam Quandt
Long Lake firefighters will see upgrades in some of their equipment following the City Council’s acceptance of a grant from CenterPoint Energy, during their regular council meeting on Aug. 15.
During the meeting, LLFD Chief James Van Eyll explained that the fire department had applied for a grant totaling $2,500 from CenterPoint. The chief said that the grant will go to funding the replacement of the hoods that the firefighters use that block out cancer-causing particulates while firefighters are on scene at a fire.
A representative from CenterPoint was in attendance at the meeting to present the check to the chief and Long Lake’s mayor, Marty Schneider.
The CenterPoint representative said that since 2003, the company has provided over 1.5 million dollars in donations for various safety projects in the communities that they service.
During the meeting, the Council also addressed a variety of other topics.
About a month ago, the City Council tabled a discussion about the upcoming 2040 Comp Plan update and proposal, in order to reach out to the Met Council for direction.
In the time between that meeting and the regular council meeting on Aug. 15, Mayor Schneider met with various members of the Met Council.
“We wanted them to articulate the 2040 outlook from the Met Council’s perspective,” Schneider said during the meeting.
At this point the City Council is still in the early stages of putting together the plan’s update and proposal, however Mayor Schneider said that the Met Council members “assured us that Long Lake was not behind schedule in the process of updating the 2040 plan.”
Mayor Schneider said that he had invited a representative from the Met Council to the next City Council meeting, so that they might be able to provide input and direction to the Council as a whole in a public setting.
Councilmember Tom Skjaret expressed that there should be some way that the community can have an input in the Comp Plan as they have in the past. Mayor Schneider and the other councilmembers agreed.
“What they’re [Met Council] is looking for is a vision for the city,” Councilmember Tim Hultmann said. “And that’s why it’s a good idea to have the community members and residents involved in that vision.”
During the meeting, the City Council also addressed rising concerns over parking matters at Birch’s on the Lake Brewhouse.
The City Council has received numerous complaints of cars parking on Glenmoor Lane, near the restaurant and that even the valet staff at Birch’s was parking cars there.
The city has looked at a variety of options, including making parking on Glenmoor Lane a residential only area, to which a permit would be required.
“The issue with that is the parking will just move further down the street,” Councilmember Tom Skjaret said.
“I’ve spoken directly with Birch’s and I think the process can be worked out a little bit better,” Mayor Schneider said.
Birch’s owner, Brenan Green was in attendance at the Aug. 15 meeting and explained that he honestly didn’t understand all of the limitations to the parking variances set upon Birch’s by the City Council.
Recently, Green said that he has worked out a lease with the nearby cemetery that will hopefully remedy the parking issues caused on Glenmoor Lane.
“I think we can avoid that,” Green said. “I’m confident going forward that we won’t have an issue.”
However, Green also said that it’s hard for him and his staff to control where their customers might park.
“We can control where our staff parks and where our valets park,” Green said.
Mayor Schneider encouraged Green and staff and Birch’s to continue engaging with the neighbors in a positive way to come to a peaceful resolution.
The next regular meeting of the Long Lake City Council will take place on Sep. 5 at 6:30 p.m. inside Long Lake’s City Hall.