City may opt out of law allowing temporary dwellings

Published 6:39 pm Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Austin City Council is scheduled to discuss opting out of a new state law that allows mobile dwellings for people with mental or physical disabilities on a caregiver’s property.

City staff is recommending the council opt out of the dwelling law, which the Mower County board did last week.

The council will discuss the temporary dwellings during its Tuesday work session, which will follow its 5:30 p.m. regularly scheduled meeting at Austin City Hall.

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State law defines family health care dwellings as “a mobile dwelling providing an environment facilitating a caregiver’s provision of care for a mentally or physically impaired person.”

The idea is to give family members or care-givers a way to keep a close eye on loved ones.

But before the county voted unanimously to opt out last week, Environmental Services Director Angie Knish voiced concerns to the county about the dwellings, the level of care and the potential for future issues with them.

Austin Planning and Zoning Administrator Holly Wallace and her staff recommended opting out to allow more time to review the requirements and look at all options and the demand for this health care alternative in Austin.

The city must act on the law before its effective date of Sept. 1, 2016. If the city opts out, it could be a permanent or temporary move.

In other business:

• Austin Police Chief Brian Krueger will introduce two new officers, Dustin Hicks and John Mueller, who is the son of Lt. John Mueller.

• The city is scheduled to approve a Welcoming America membership to improve the workforce shortage and in general, become a more inclusive and diverse community.

• Approving an airport hangar lease with Ken Schamberger, who purchased the existing Benson hangar. The lease will include a 20-year term through 2036 with a varying rate schedule.

• Approving an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) for cost sharing on the 11th Drive Northeast bridge project. The plan is to widen a sidewalk from 6 feet to 10 feet for an estimated cost to be $80,000 to $100,000, with that cost being split 50/50 between the city and MnDOT.

• Approving a Sunday on-sale license for Dusty’s Bar and Lounge to expand their current hours and liquor sales to include Sunday sales.