FAIRMONT– Fairmont City Council on Monday reviewed multiple permits for events to be held on Downtown Plaza later this month
While event permits are usually on the consent agenda, city administrator Cathy Reynolds said they’ve pulled a few with new developments they didn’t. seen yet, so she wanted to give the board an opportunity to discuss them.
“These two permits, in conjunction with one approved by the last council meeting, will allow for five days of operations in downtown Fairmont during the week leading up to and on Memorial Day weekend,” said Reynolds.
However, because they are proposing to close parts of Downtown Plaza and the Downtown Business District for five days, Reynolds said she wanted to let the council discuss it.
The first permit was for the Fairmont Opera House to hold a Star Wars event on May 25 in front of the Opera House. The Opera was asking to block Downtown Plaza from the intersection of Blue Earth Ave. to the southern end of his property.
“It’s a great opportunity. We have a lot of good things happening in the community, but as these are three permits closed for five days, I wanted to take them down for council to discuss if they wish,” said Reynolds.
Mayor Deb Foster asked if businesses that would be affected had been notified. Reynolds said when permits involving road closures are handed out, applicants are advised to notify the businesses that will be affected.
The board approved the May 25 event.
The next permit application was for the Fairmont Opera House’s Memorial Weekend Street Fest, which is scheduled to take place May 27-28.
Reynolds explained that in the permit application, the proposal was to set up a stage between City Hall and the Blazer Bar for a band on Friday nights and the stage could stay up all night. On Saturday morning, a second stage around the Human Services Building and Edie’s will be set up and a series of shows will take place between the two stages that day.
“They have planned food trucks, games and different activities during the day,” said Reynolds.
The event would involve road closures around various access points to Downtown Plaza.
Council member Bruce Peters cited the various dining establishments in the Downtown Plaza area and said he was concerned about the idea as it would involve road closures and make it more difficult to get to restaurants. He asked if city staff had heard from any of the restaurants, and Reynolds said no.
Council Member Wayne Hasek pointed out that the event could bring people to the various restaurants downtown to eat and Council Member Britney Kawecki added that people could also visit retail stores.
“I don’t disagree, but if there are 11 food trucks, the likelihood of going up at Edie’s or El Agave is relatively low,” Peters said.
Foster said she visited several businesses and asked if they had any concerns and were told they were unaware. She suggested that in the future, whenever there is an event where there is a road closure, a public hearing should be held to allow any individual or business owner to come and express their thoughts or his concerns.
Reynolds agreed that she would like to encourage individuals, organizations and businesses to involve the city in the planning stage when it comes to an event that would require a road closure.
“When they’re in the parks that’s one thing, but when we start closing the roads…we have a lot of events and it’s great and wonderful that people are planning all these events…but in trying to understand the road closures, if we can initiate communication with city staff earlier in the process…so everyone is aware,” said Reynolds.
The board approved the permit application for the May 27-28 event.
Moving on to other matters, the board reviewed certain liquor license violations. Although a public hearing was held, allowing any member of the business public associated with the violations to speak, no one spoke at the public hearing.
The Fairmont City Council imposed a civil penalty of $750 on the Fairmont Municipal Liquor Store and El Agave. On December 31, 2021, at both locations, an employee sold an alcoholic beverage to a minor authorized by the Fairmont Police Department to participate in liquor licensee compliance checks.
“It’s really embarrassing that this happened in our liquor store. Have we made any changes to the training so it doesn’t happen again?” asked Lubenow.
Reynolds said he resolved the issue and spoke to the employee and appropriately documented that it happened. She said they used the incident as a training opportunity in the store.
Peters asked how they will mend their ways. Reynolds explained that they will withdraw a check from the liquor store funds and place it in the general fund.
Several local businesses, Walgreens, Hy-Vee Grocery and Hy-Vee Convenience Store, also faced civil penalties after failing tobacco compliance checks run by the Fairmont Police Department on Dec. 11, 2021. Each business has was fined $300.
The council also held a second public hearing on a rezoning application by Krueger Realty, Inc. for 1800 State Hwy. 15 S. This was the second public hearing held on the application. On Monday, council approved the rezoning of the property from R-1 single-family residence to R-3 multi-family residence.
In other actions, the council:
— Approved a purchase order for the purchase of residential water meters totaling $636,000. City Engineer Troy Nemmers said the current meters are 15 years old and upgrading them would provide better tracking of water use in the city. The Public Utilities Commission had also approved the purchase.
— Approved a Midco telephone system proposal to replace the City’s existing staff telephone system. No equipment purchase is necessary and no setup fees and monthly fees should be comparable to Frontier’s exit fees.
— Approval of an agreement with MSA Professional Services to complete an update to the zoning ordinance and subdivision by-law. The board previously budgeted $40,000 and the cost of the service will be $44,000 plus approximately $1,200 in additional expenses.
— Approved seven event permits for upcoming community events to be held this summer in the Town of Fairmont.
In addition, three part-time police officers were recently hired at the Fairmont Police Department and two of them, Seth Reinke and Carolyn Jacobson, were sworn in
City Council Monday. Jon Auringer was unable to attend.