LINO LAKES — Neighbors who live near Waldoch Farm voiced their support for the business in an effort to convince the council to approve a special event permit for events this fall.
The item on the Sept. 23 meeting agenda was to approve a special event permit for Waldoch Farm's sixth annual Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze, which runs through Oct. 31. The council originally approved the permit at its last meeting without specifying an alternative exit. This time around, the permit specifies that the business would be permitted to use Elbe Street as an alternative exit route during the event.
City Clerk Julie Bartell explained because there were some concerns about the use of the street (and traffic and noise), city staff contacted residents who live in the area to inform them that the council was considering the possibility of allowing Waldoch to use Elbe Street as an alternative exit. “City staff has reviewed the request and did recommend the council include conditions if it were to approve the permit,” she said.
Mayor Jeff Reinert said, “This is kind of a tough one, because if I lived in that neighborhood, I'm not so sure I'd want all of that traffic.” He then invited neighbors to share their thoughts.
Ellen Testin, who lives on Danube Street, said she supports the alternative exit. “I find the comments about noise rather ridiculous. I really wish you had taken this much consideration when you let those atrocities (the gas station and liquor store) come in. You can't step out of your house without the generators, the lights at night, the garbage trucks at 6 a.m.; why didn't you take consideration for us then?” she said. “The Waldochs have been very good neighbors ... I think that they have enhanced the neighborhood, and I can't think that there is going to be any kind of noise problem. If I can live with that gas station noise 24/7, the Waldochs should be allowed to use that exit on an as-needed basis.”
Reinert suggested area residents set up a meeting with city staff to discuss concerns.
Steve Mosser, who lives at the corner of 81st Street and Elbe Street, said he had no problem with Waldoch's request. “That little bit of traffic is going to be no louder than all the lawnmowers from people cutting grass on Saturday mornings and all other things that go on in the neighborhood on the weekends,” he said. “There will be a little more traffic, but I think the Waldochs have managed it very well.”
Dawn Bush, who lives on Elbe Street, said “I don't see any problem with it at all. I know there is going to be a little more traffic, but I have confidence in Waldochs,” she said.
Doug Joyer, of Waldoch, said that if the permit is approved, there will be signs to help direct motorists where to go when coming/leaving the property. Councilman Michael Manthey wanted to know whether there was a specific incident that spurred the inclusion of this provision in the permit.
Joyer explained, “I have been going to a lot of conferences and visiting a lot of farms over the past 10 years, and the best strategy for a parking lot is to have an entrance and an exit. We like to think ahead and try to correct things before they are a problem.” He added, “If there are 20 to 30 cars in the parking lot that are trying to leave while cars are trying to come in, that's what we don't want to see ... we want to try to eliminate the risk of an accident.”
The permit was ultimately approved with the following conditions:
Any connection to Elbe Street would require a 20-foot-wide driveway base from the edge of pavement (improved Elbe Street) to the property line, surfaced with a minimum of 3 inches of Class 5 gravel to provide adequate support for vehicles and minimize vehicle tracking onto paved surfaces, and maintained by applicant through the course of the event. Any vehicle tracking onto Elbe Street must be cleaned daily.
The applicant is to provide and maintain a gate at the property line. The gate should be adequately secured to prevent vehicles from entering or exiting the property when the alternative route is not in use.
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