Weather Forecast


City Council: Overnight noise, new construction and a back yard variance

Much of Monday's City Council meeting will be given over to development topics.

The first is a request from the Minnesota Department of Transportation that the city allow noisy bridge construction activity to be done overnight and on weekends. The city's noise ordinance currently prohibits construction noise after 10 p.m. and before 7 a.m. on weekdays, and between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. on holidays and weekends. MN/DOT is requesting a variance to allow crews to work double shifts, overnight and weekends in order to make up for lost time due to extended high water levels on the river.

A Hastings resident is running up against changes in the city's variance regulations. A recent Minnesota Supreme Court case set a precedent that makes it difficult for cities to grant variances. The homeowner requested a variance to build a garage addition attached to the main structure, but has so far been denied by the Planning Commission based on criteria set for variances. In order for a variance to be granted, it must be in harmony with the purpose and intent of the original ordinance, be consistent with the comprehensive plan, put the property to use in a reasonable manner, address unique circumstances not created by the landowner and shouldn't alter the character of the area.

The issues that were raised by the Planning Commission centered around the first point - that the variance be in harmony with the intent of the original ordinance. The ordinance, the Commission said, was to keep back yards free of principle structures and keep a sense of open space for neighbors, and the proposed addition may not agree with that. The homeowner had obtained signatures from every neighbor who would be able to see the addition, all of them in favor of allowing the structure to be built.

The council will also discuss the construction of a new parking lot at Tilden School, which is being converted into a community center.

Two new building projects will also be considered, including a residential addition at Regina Medical Center and the site plan for Carlson Capital Improvement's new office building across Fourth Street from City Hall.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, June 20, at City Hall. To see the full agenda, including more information on each item, click here.