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City holds hearing on street vacation

NEW ULM — A public hearing was held Tuesday on the possible vacation of a part of 17th South Street. Anthony Gulden, President of New Ulm Storage, Inc., petitioned the city to vacate a portion of the street abutting New Ulm Storage property.

The area proposed for vacation is located east of South German Street and the bike trail, west of the DM & E Railroad and north of New Ulm Steel and Recycling. The area proposed is 5,200 square feet. The length of the street segment is 130 feet.

The south adjoining portion of 17th S. Street was vacated by the council on Oct. 4, 2011, at the request of Josh Luneburg. The street area is unimproved and there are no utilities in the street.

New Ulm Storage will use the vacated street to improve access to the existing buildings to expand the business.

No comments were received during the hearing and the council voted to approve the vacation.

The city amended an interim use permit (IUP) application from Brett Meyer to operate a part-time gunsmithing business at 115 N. Washington St.

The council approved the IUP May 5 with 14 conditions. Meyer then submitted an application to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for a Federal-Firearm License. The ATF then contacted the city with further clarification on the permit in terms of what types of business activities would be allowed.

One of the conditions the city placed before granting the permit prohibited Meyer from maintaining an inventory of firearms that would be available for sale to walk-in retail customers. The ATF wanted the city to clarify if Meyer was allowed to perform internet transfers of firearms and special order firearms and firearm accessories and also requested additional information about on-site firearm storage.

The amended permit specified retail sales would be limited. Up to six shop-built firearms may be available for customers to inspect for a display model. The display models would be available for purchase if the company decided to dispose of them, but not more than ten firearms could be sold in this manner in a year.

The business is allowed to transfer firearms or firearm accessories to facilitate the legal transfer of a firearm or firearm accessories between two parties. This is to include the transfer of firearms or firearm accessories for repair or modification to the business and back to the customer.

On storage, all firearms and firearm parts will be secured in the building and locked with a steel exterior door with one doorknob lock and one deadbolt per door.

The garage door will be locked by mechanical means from the interior when the owner is not on the property or at night.

Fully assembled firearms will be kept in a secondary locked enclosure while the owner is not on the property.

A locked enclosure may include, but is not limited to, a gun safe, steel mesh athletic type locker, steel gun cabinet, secured locked reinforced room on the interior of the building, or any other locked enclosure that would take a considerable effort to gain access without a key or combination.

City Attorney Roger Hippert said these amended terms were enough clarification for the ATF and would allow Meyer to move forward with the license.

After reading through the amended IUP, Meyer said the changes did align with his intent for the business. He said this would not be a retail store and these changes were acceptable.

The council unanimously approved the IUP amendment.

The council approved a variance request from Paula Williamson to reduce the side yard setback from 10 feet to six feet for the construction of an attached garage. The property is located south and east of Boettger Road and between Bianchi and Hilltop Avenue.

The property owner is proposing to construct a new garage to replace an existing garage. City staff is recommending approval because the proposed garage would go no closer to the side property line than the pre-existing garage and would not change the essential character of the neighborhood.

The council approved the preliminary plat of Oak Bluffs Ninth Addition. This property is located north of 6th N. Street, east of North Highland Avenue and South of 7th N. Street. The platted area is 4.75 acres and would be converted into five lots for a twin home, two single-family residences and three fourplexes.

The city approved a bridge inspection agreement with Brown County for county staff to perform the necessary bridge inspections five bridges in New Ulm’s corporate limits. Two of the bridges are roadway bridges and three are railway bridges.

Retired City Engineer Steven Koehler was certified to perform the inspections, but with no current staff certified by the State for the inspections, a consultant or other certified body is needed to perform the inspections.

Staff entered into discussions with Brown County as an alternative to a consultant to perform the inspections for the City. Using County staff will save considerable costs compared to hiring a consultant to perform the inspections.

The County discussed this proposal with the County Highway Committee, which had no issues with this arrangement. If approved, the agreement would be taken to the Brown County Commissioners for final approval.

The County has indicated they only wish to be reimbursed for the time and equipment hours used to perform the inspections. The cost to the city is expected to be under $8,000.

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