Fire Chief Jim Finnegan is pictured here, ready to don his turn-out gear.
-- Leadership changes in Fire Department follow Spence retirement
On February 17, 2009, the Scandia City Council appointed Jim Finnegan as Volunteer Chief of the Scandia Fire and Rescue Department effective February 24, 2009, for a term ending December 31, 2012. Finnegan has been a member of the department since February of 1996, and served as an Assistant Chief since February of 1998.
He replaces Steve Spence, who will step down from the post after 20 years service as Chief. Spence will retire from the department later this spring after 26 years of service. Plans are underway to honor Spence's service at the April 21, 2009 City Council meeting.
Finnegan’s educational experience includes studying business management at Inver Hills Community College and Stout University. He holds numerous certificates in Emergency Management, Firefighter 1 & 2 and is a certified EMT (Emergency Management Technician.) His accomplishments include: National Fire Academy for Fire Command and Operations, Past President and Past Vice President of the Washington County Fire Chief’s Association, member of the Washington County Fire Dive Team, and a Trustee of the Scandia Fire Relief Association.
Chief Finnegan’s goals include expanding training and enhancing relationships with the City’s mutual aid partners, which would be critical in case of large fires or emergencies. An officer training program to grow leadership within the department will also be a priority. Retaining current members and attracting new are always important goals. Even though the Department is staffed by “volunteers”, a high level of professional training and commitment is required to do the job.
On March 17, the Council rounded out Finnegan’s management team with appointment of Mike Hinz and Steve Yehle as Assistant Chiefs for terms ending in March 1, 2011. Hinz has been with the Department since 1992. Yehle has been with the Department since 1998, and served as Assistant Chief since 2005.
The Scandia Fire and Rescue Department was founded in 1952. The 28-member volunteer department serves the City of Scandia and parts of May Township.
Council Orders EIS for Proposed Sand & Gravel Mine
At its March 3, 2009 meeting, the Scandia City Council (as recommended by the Planning Commission) ordered preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Tiller Corporation’s Zavoral Mining and Reclamation Project. Tiller Corporation proposes to operate a gravel mine and processing facility on a 114-acre site located east of State Highway 95 (St. Croix Trail) at State Highway 97 (Scandia Trail) owned by Dr. James Zavoral.
The Council found that the Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) did not provide sufficient information to determine the potential for, or significance of, the possible environmental effects of the proposed project, and that additional information should be obtained through preparation of an EIS.
The City had received 49 comment letters on the EAW, addressing a wide range of issues, including:
Potential impacts to surface waters, including the St. Croix River, Zavoral/Spring Creek, and wetlands
Potential impacts to the quality and quantity of groundwater resources, including seeps and wells
Erosion control and surface water runoff management
Potential impacts to rare species and wildlife populations
Noise impacts from traffic and mining operations
Dust impacts from traffic and mining operations Traffic volume and safety issues
Potential impacts of light pollution
Visual impacts to recreation users on the St. Croix and to views from roadways and “gateway” to the City of Scandia
Impacts of proposed processing activities
Adequacy and potential impacts of the reclamation plan
The next step in the process will be to "scope" the EIS. A public meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Scandia Community Center to gather comments.
Materials related to this project, including the EAW and the record of decision on the need for the EIS, are available for review at the City of Scandia Office, 14727 209th St. N., during office hours (9:00 a.m. to Noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday) and on the City’s website. Contact City Administrator Anne Hurlburt for more information.
"Heavy Metal Day-- Scandia's Annual Clean-Up
In the mood for some spring cleaning? “Heavy-Metal Day” is scheduled for Saturday, April 25 from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in the Community Center parking lot. Residents may drop off items not taken by your regular trash hauler, but NOT considered hazardous waste. Examples of items accepted are: appliances, tires, furniture, mattresses, scrap metal and wood. There will be a fee for some items. The fee schedule is posted on the city website. This is now an annual event; there will be no collection event this fall.
For hazardous items, Scandia residents should take advantage of the free Hazardous Waste Drop-off event sponsored by Washington County on Saturday, May 2 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Northland Mall parking lot in Forest Lake (1432 S. Lake St/ Hwy 61.) Products accepted will include household, automotive and lawn & garden hazardous waste.
Electronics will not be accepted at either of these events. Free electronics recycling for Washington County residents is offered at two Oakdale sites (CRT Processing. 3350 Granada Ave. N., or the Hazardous Materials Collection Site at 1900 Hadley Ave. N. ) For more information on disposal of hazardous materials or electronics, call Washington County at 651 430-6655 or check their web site.
New Comprehensive Plan Adopted March 17
After a process spanning almost two full years, the City of Scandia has a new Comprehensive Plan.
After putting the final touches on the plan last fall, the city sent the plan to the Metropolitan Council for review. On February 25, the Metropolitan Council found that the city’s plan update meets all of the Metropolitan Land Planning Act requirements, conforms to the regional system plans including transportation, aviation, water resources management, and parks, is consistent with the 2030 Regional Development Framework and is compatible with the plans of adjacent jurisdictions.
The Metropolitan Council authorized the City of Scandia to put its 2030 Comprehensive Plan Update into effect without any modifications, and the City Council did so at its meeting March 17, 2009.
The City now has 9 months to bring any ordinances that may be in conflict into conformance with the plan. The Planning Commission is already at work, with committees actively studying design standards for commercial buildings (chaired by Commissioner Sue Rodsjo) and how transfer of development rights might help with implementing the land use plan (chaired by Commissioner Christine Maefsky.)
An updated ordinance setting rules for Scandia parks and open spaces was adopted by the Council in March, after recommendations by the Park and Recreation Committee. The new ordinance keeps the same park hours (4:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.) as the 1981 ordinance, but adds some new rules that will give law enforcement some tools to deal with common issues such as littering, domestic animals and open fires.
Some activities (such as sales, signs, temporary structures, and park use outside of set hours) will now require a (free) permit issued by the City Clerk. Others (gatherings of over 100 people, fireworks) will require a permit approved by the City Council. Read the full text of the ordinance here.
The Council also set reservation policies and fees for the Hay Lake Picnic Shelter. Groups may guarantee exclusive use of the shelter for $25 for residents or $50 for non-residents, plus a deposit. Policies were also set for reserving the Warming House outside the skating season. Contact staff or see the website for more details.
Do I really need a permit for that?— Protect your investment in your home. Building Official Steve Thorp is here to help you do the job right. It’s a buyer’s market, so don’t jeopardize a future sale or refinancing with improvements not up to code. It’s more costly to correct problems later. Call Steve at 651 433-2274, Ext. 102 with any questions.
Exterior Storage— Scandia requires that all personal property be stored in a building or fully screened, with a few exceptions for licensed vehicles and recreation equipment. No more than four passenger vehicles per dwelling unit are allowed on parcels less than 10 acres in size. No more than 2 items of recreational equipment (such as campers, boats, trailers etc.) may be stored in the side or rear yard on any lot.
Signs— Permits are required for all signs, including temporary signs for garage sales and community events. There’s no fee for temporary sign permits. No signs may be placed in any public rights-of-way, on any roof, or painted on walls or attached to utility poles.
How many cows?— Thinking of raising cows, or horses, or chickens? Check out the new quick reference sheets about animals and several other topics including exterior storage, signs and sizes of accessory buildings allowed, now available on the city website. Click on “FAQs” on the main menu.
Burning Permits— A (no-charge) burning permit is required for open burning when there is no snow cover. In all cases, please notify the Washington County Sheriff’s Office (651 439-9381) one hour before you burn. There may be restrictions depending on weather, time-of-day or air-quality issues. See the city office for more information and for permits.
Spring Load Limits— are in effect and are expected to last for about 8 weeks after they went into effect on March 8. Call the City office with any questions.
Council Meetings on Cable— Lakes Area Television (available in limited areas of Scandia) tapes City Council meetings for replay on cable channel 10. Contact LATV at 651 464-1143 for more information.
Community Calendar, April 2009 - September 2009
April 6, 5:00 p.m. Board of Appeal and Equalization, Community Center Board Rm.
April 25, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., Heavy Metal Day, Community Center Parking Lot
April 26, 8:00 a.m., Lion’s Pancake Breakfast, Community Center
May 2, 8 a.m. to 1 pm., Hazardous Materials Collection, Northland Mall, 1432 Lake Street, Forest Lake
May 9, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sports Swap, Community Center
May 25 , Memorial Day, Office Closed
June 27, Midsommar Dag, Gammelgården
July 3 (Friday), observance of Independence Day, Office Closed