By Katie Friedman, Correspondant. At its most recent meeting, Tuesday, January 16, the Maple Lake City Council heard Mayor Lynn Kissock’s recap of a council workshop held two weeks previously. A number of topics had been discussed, including a local housing study by Economic Developer Jim Gromberg, options for a city Christmas tree, and the prospect of allowing chickens to reside within city limits. The housing study looked at areas such as workforce, infrastructure, finance, and governance, and while Kissock said it revealed few surprises, it did provide clarification as to the type of housing and number of units needed to meet the community’s needs today and in the future. Many homeowners and renters in Maple Lake are burdened by their housing costs, which the study indicates are less affordable because of a limited supply of residences. To satisfy projected growth, it is estimated that additional 74 senior housing units and 64 family units will be needed by 2022. Describing the study as “preliminary,” Kissock said additional work will be required before any possible housing grant applications, land acquisitions, or other options are further explored. The council will be discussing additional sections of the study at its next workshop. A request by local business owner Tricia Manuel for consideration of planting a permanent Christmas tree on a city lot was also hashed out, with final consensus being that as the lot is intended for sale, a strong possibility exists that any tree the city plants will be cut down by an eventual buyer. Council members talked about the expense of annually purchasing a cut tree, and agreed it may be more appropriate to budget for that cost. An ongoing discussion of a possible chicken ordinance took one step forward as the council heard information gathered by Deputy Clerk Elizabeth Borell regarding ordinance in nearby cities. Borell noted a lack of qualified personnel to inspect and monitor for proper coop construction and animal welfare, and suggested that an interim use permit could be used to require a range of enforcement of conditions. In the interest of ensuring that permit fees cover the cost of enforcement, the council directed Borell to outline the true cost of instituting such an ordinance and to report back.
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