Harris City Council briefs

The following actions and discussion points were addressed at the Nov. 18 Harris City Council meeting. 

New business, same name, same location 

It appears an old business is going to reopen in Harris.

The first item on the agenda at the Nov. 18 Harris City Council meeting was an application for a liquor license for Big Daddy’s Bar & Grill.

The applicant is Tony Wood, of North Branch, who will be a partner with the present owners of the property. Eventually, Wood will buy sole ownership. Harris City Clerk Joanne Dargay said that Wood was aware the apartment in the upper level of the establishment has limitations, and once the business was sold, the area would not be able to be used as living quarters.

Development plan nixed 

The Harris Planning Commission met prior to the council meeting to discuss the application by Bakken/Graff development group to develop the area bordered by County Road 10 and Interstate 35.

An application to subdivide the property had been submitted. The zoning requirements state that an industrial development must have a minimum lot size of 2 acres. The submitted application did not meet these requirements. The Planning Commission had sent the application to the council requesting denial; the council denied the application.

But as part of the denial, the council noted that a platted subdivision application is expected and welcomed. Part of the plat will make sure that the minimum 2-acre lot size is met, along with a north-south easement for an alternate new road, should one be needed. If the Minnesota Department of Transportation should replace the bridge over I-35, the existing frontage road would probably be demolished.

The council feels now is the time to plan ahead and have an alternate road established to serve the new lots that could be created, along with the existing properties. Both the Planning Commission and the council members said they felt that this development would be good for Harris, but that it needed to be done correctly.

Fire siren broken

The Harris fire siren is not working. The council said its motor went out and cannot be replaced. A quote for a replacement siren was reviewed.

One estimate was for used equipment, utilizing as much of the existing system as possible. The estimate was $9,036.17. To replace everything with new equipment would increase the estimate to $13,150.97. Both bids include installation.

The council decided to table this issue while options for grant money were explored. Grants could become available through Federal Emergency Management Agency; that money would cover half the cost.

While waiting for that grant to become available, the council said other sources will also be checked.

The Harris Fire Department is notified by a pager system and by radio, so the siren is used mainly for severe weather warnings.

New lease needed with American Legion 

The American Legion has a lease with the city of Harris for use of its building.

It is a 99-year lease, but no one can find a copy of the lease. Dargay had gone through files and was unable to locate a copy. The present administration of the Legion cannot find a copy, and neither can the past commander of the Legion. Dargay said that minutes of council meetings were found that reflected the terms of the lease, but not the original copy. A file folder, titled American Legion Lease was found, but it was empty.

Councilman Randy Carlson motioned to have the city attorney draft a new lease. The motion died for a lack of a second. After further discussion, a second motion was made to have the city attorney prepare a draft lease, with options as to what could and should be included in the new lease, and not just a rewrite of the original. Laws and duties under leases have changed in recent years. The new lease should abide by the original conditions but incorporate new language to cover the changes in law.

In addition to identifying that the city will insure for liability and damage to the structure, the new lease would reflect what insurance the Legion must carry. Also, if the building is rented out, the new lease will identify the correct insurance to be obtained from the party that is using the building.

Public works employee terminated

Minutes from a Nov. 12 special meeting reflected that a Harris Public Works employee was terminated prior to the expiration of the 90-day probationary period. An agreement has been reached with a prior public works employee to do snow plowing until a replacement can be found.

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