Single-family rental cap takes effect

A new rental density cap will limit the number of single-family homes that can be leased in the city of Anoka.

Under the ordinance that took effect last month, no more than 10 percent of the single-family lots on any residential block can be eligible for a rental license. The City Council voted 4-1 to approve the ordinance on Sept. 17, with Council Member Elizabeth Barnett dissenting because of property rights concerns.

The new density cap follows a recent moratorium on building or expanding rental housing. Anoka officials have expressed concern about the city's housing mix and want to boost owner-occupied housing. Renters make up 48 percent of Anoka households, one of the highest ratios of rentals in the metro area.

Hannah Covington


City tables vote on mountain bike trails

Minnetonka has postponed a vote on building mountain-biking trails for a park as it battles litigation brought by local environmentalists.

The City Council had been scheduled to vote Oct. 22 on whether to advance the project, which would add 5 miles of trails to Lone Lake Park.

However, city officials said last week they would postpone that decision indefinitely and revisit the matter once the suit, filed last month by the nonprofit Protect Our Minnetonka Parks, was resolved.

The suit "is expected to last several months," officials said.

The suit challenges the city's denial of an environmental assessment work sheet for the project, arguing that such a work sheet was needed because of the potential for environmental impact. City leaders have said that they did their due diligence.

Miguel Otárola


City Hall getting a masonry face-lift

The exterior of Hastings City Hall, the 147-year-old domed landmark that long served as the Dakota County Courthouse, will be undergoing an extensive restoration in the next few weeks.

Inspectors two years ago found that mortar in the foundation and other areas of the Italian Villa structure of brick and limestone had deteriorated. The foundation will be excavated, tuck-pointed and waterproofed. Some damaged bricks and limestone features also will be replaced.

City officials accepted a $471,434 bid from Innovative Masonry Restoration to perform the work and will use a $212,187 grant from the Minnesota Historical Society to help pay for it. The project is slated to be done by late November.

The building, which the county left in 1974, became Hastings City Hall in 1993.

Kevin Duchschere

Washington County

County moves three tax-forfeited parcels

The Washington County Board this month approved the conveyance of three tax-forfeited land parcels.

One will go to the Whistling Valley Homeowners Association in Lake Elmo. It contains the association's community septic system plus drainage, utility and conservation easements managed by the city.

One parcel went to Denmark Township for a road right of way; another went to Lake St. Croix Beach for recreational trails.

Two parcels, including a condominium complex in Oakdale and a vacant commercial lot in Woodbury, will go up for public auction next month.

Mara Klecker