No more extensions for commercial property

November 27, 2016

After noting a local commercial property owner was given four extensions to repair his building to address safety violations, the City of Sandstone council last Wednesday voted 5-0 to start the process of bringing criminal and civil action against the property owner.

The building in question is located at 302 Main Ave. N. in Sandstone, and owned by Leonard Bonander, Jr.
Two weeks previous, Bonander and his contractor appeared before the meeting saying the most recent delay had to deal with siding that was in Cloquet, that had not been delivered in Sandstone.

Bonander, at the meeting last week, said he had "good news" to share with the council, that his contractor had finished other jobs, and was ready to start on his building. Bonander said work would be started on trim on Thursday, the siding was on site, and it would only take three days to install the siding.
"I have all the funds to pay for the installation," Bonander told the council.

"I've been following through. I've been very active," he added.

Bonander noted that it was a busy season for his contractor, and also lots of rain in the fall which delayed the project.

Bonander said the plan would be to open up the blue building to a new business, which he hoped to open this winter.

Brandon Devlin made the motion to go ahead with the charges.

"I don't think there is anything else we can do," Devlin said.

Other councilors noted the numerous extensions, along with little work done on the building the past four weeks, after the old siding was previously removed before this.

A criminal action could take a couple months to complete, City Attorney Sarah Sonsalla noted at a previous meeting, while a civil action could take six months to wind its way through the court system.
Bonander first received a building code violation letter on June 7th.

As part of the motion, the council agreed to drop any possible charges if the work is completed satisfactorily. Work on the siding began on Monday, November 21.


Lundorff Drive
City Engineer Greg Anderson gave an update about Lundorff Drive into the new business park, and noted that as of last Wednesday, pretty much the entire road was done. At the previous meeting it was discussed about the possibility of blacktopping the road in the spring because of wet conditions. One smaller layer was put on the road, with another layer coming this spring. The road will remain closed to the public until spring.

The road will be plowed to bring more fragile medical equipment to the new hospital.

Tree ordinance
MCCU was granted a waiver from the tree ordinance, which requires people and businesses to replant a portion of trees that are removed. At the tree board meeting right before the city council meeting, the tree board unanimously recommended MCCU plant or pay for 25 trees either on land they own, or on city land, at a cost of around $2,100. If the tree ordinance was followed exactly like written, the cost would be around $20,000 to replant trees it is removing for its new credit union building on Lundorff Drive. The council, in a 5-0 vote, overrulled the recommendation of the tree board, and granted a full waiver to MCCU.


Councilmember Franklin added a friendly ammendment to the motion from councilmember Devlin that MCCU be asked for either a donation to the tree board, or to plant the 25 trees  on public land in Sandstone.

Administrator review
The council went into closed session at the end of the meeting for a six-month review of the new city administrator, Jessica Seibert. When the meeting reopened, Mayor Carl Steffen said she had received top ratings from both staff and the city council, and granted her a pay increase, as was previously determined in her contract when she joined the city six months ago.

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