City sells Interpretive Center property

Cargo container moratorium expired without new ordinance
by Michael Strasburg

The Sauk Centre City Council approved the sale of two town properties at their March 15 meeting: the four-acre former Interpretive Center property and the 39-acre racetrack property south of I-94.
The racetrack property was sold to Felling Trailers, the previous owner. The party who purchased the Interpretive Center has not been disclosed as of press time. The buyer requested their identity not be disclosed until completion of the deal, which is expected to happen sometime this week. Check future editions of the Sauk Centre Herald for updates on the sale of the former Interpretive Center property.
The city council was also presented with a cargo container ordinance drafted by the planning commission. The purpose of the ordinance was to regulate the use of cargo containers within city limits.
For the past year, the city placed a moratorium on the installation of cargo containers in Sauk Centre. That moratorium was set to expire March 16. The city defines cargo containers as a standardized, reusable vessel that either appears to be formerly designed for or used for packing, shipping, movement, transportation or storage. This would include anything that could be mounted to a rail car, chassis, truck trailer or even trailers intended for pulling behind a semi-tractor. The ordinance would also consider box van bodies and PODS as cargo containers.
“[The proposed ordinance] would regulate the placement of containers and where they’re allowed, where they’re not allowed; if they’re allowed as a rental, what they’re requirements are,” city administrator Vicki Willer said during the meeting.
The ordinance outlined a variety of scenarios, but in general, it allowed for free use of cargo containers on agriculture and industrial property, but not residential property. In order to store a cargo container on residential property under the proposed ordinance, an individual would have to file for a temporary use permit, which, if granted, would authorize the use of a container on residential property for 30 days.
After much discussion, the ordinance was rejected, as a majority of the council members were not satisfied with the ordinance — in some instances due to wording, clarity or ability to enforce the ordinance. The council voted 4-1 in rejecting the proposed ordinance and reinstating the moratorium for up to one additional year or until an ordinance is accepted. Councilwoman Heidi Leach voted against the motion.
It was later determined, however, that statutes prevent the town board from reinstating the moratorium for another year. Therefore, Sauk Centre currently has neither a moratorium nor an ordinance enacted regarding cargo containers. This absence of any regulation or prohibition returns the cargo container situation to the state it was at one year ago.
The next regular meeting of the Sauk Centre City Council is April 5.

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