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Council approves new precincts, discusses quilting retreat

March 7, 2012
By Josh Moniz - Staff Writer , The Journal

NEW ULM - The New Ulm City Council discussed new precinct boundaries for New Ulm's wards at its Tuesday meeting at City Hall.

The lines were redrawn as part of the once-a-decade redistricting process to reflect New Ulm's current population densities. Wards were effectively unchanged. Precincts were redrawn using data from the 2010 U.S. Census. New Ulm's four wards are roughly divided horizontally by Franklin Street and vertically by 1st North Street. Each ward has two precincts.

City Finance Director Reg Vorwerk presented the new maps. He explained the new maps had much clearer and uniform boundary lines for the precincts.

Overall, all precincts around where the wards divide were made more compact and block-like with clear lines.

A public information meeting about the new precincts will be held Tuesday, March 20 at 3:30 p.m. The meeting is separate from the Council meeting held later that night.

Bed and Breakfast

The Council also discussed a waiver request by Sally De St. Croix to establish a bed and breakfast at 400 S. German St., which is the same block as the Deutsche Strasse B & B.

St. Croix explained that she wasn't planning to actually start a bed and breakfast, but instead was seeking the only applicable ordinance for establishing a quilting retreat.

She said she was willing to undergo the rigorous requirements and inspections for a bed and breakfast to be able to operate her retreat. She said she plans to both charge people for quilting and for occasionally having them stay overnight in two bedrooms. She said she doesn't plan to provide food for her guests.

Councilors supported St. Croix's quilting retreat idea, but points of debate were whether a new retreat ordinance was needed and whether St. Croix would be violating the bed and breakfast ordinance with her business.

Assistant City Attorney Roger Hippert said there was a concern on client charges. He explained that if she charged for quilting sessions separate from room rentals, she could be violating the bed and breakfast ordinance's ban on running other businesses in the same house. He said that if she charged customers as one lump sum, and provided the lodging for "free," she could avoid violating the ordinance.

Because the drafting of a new ordinance can take over six months, the Council decided to grant the waiver with the intention of temporarily granting a bed and breakfast license later. Meanwhile, city officials would begin work on a new ordinance to better meet St. Croix's needs. She would be able to begin her business this summer, but she could switch to the more appropriate ordinance in December during license renewals.

Finally, the Council approved providing $5,000 to the Brown County Historical Society for the creation of a third floor exhibit for the 150th Anniversary of the U.S. - Dakota War.

(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at



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