Meeting Minutes of the Joint Workshop with Richmond City Council,

Planning Commission and EDA

February 16, 2017



Item #1: Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance

Mayor Hemmesch called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. at Richmond City Hall.


Council Members noted as being present: Jim Hemmesch, Mike Mathiasen, Katy Kirchner, Michael Ricke

Council Member noted as being absent: Tim Paczkowski


Planning Commission Members Present: Jon Person; Ken Gertken

Eda Members Present: Jim Bruner, Dale Maus

Members Absent: Chad Vogt, PC; Sheldon Lang, EDA


Also present were: Tesa Tomaschett, City Administrator; Cynthia Smith-Strack, City Planner; Gordon Dingmann, Public Works Director; Heidi Stalboerger


Item #2: Approval of Agenda

Mayor Hemmesch asked if there were any additions or changes to the Agenda.   


Motion made by Councilor Kirchner to approve the Agenda, seconded by Councilor Mathiasen.  Motion passed unanimously.


Item #3: Consent Agenda

a.       Resolution 112-17 Satisfaction of repayment agreement for D.C. Properties, LP.


Motion made by Councilor Mathiasen to Approve the Consent Agenda, seconded by Mayor Hemmesch.  Motion passed.


Item #4: MCFOA Clerk’s Conference: March 14-17

Administrator Tomaschett announced that she would be attending the conference.  


                (Temporary recess to the Council Workshop)


Item #5: WORKSESSION – Cynthia Smith-Strack, City Planner


Cynthia stated the purpose of this meeting is to begin to chart a course for the City of Richmond

a.       Survey Results – Cynthia reviewed the results of the survey.

She defined 3 Principles from the survey results:

1.       Stewardship

2.       Sustainability

3.       Livability

b.       Roles/Purposes of the Council, and Commissions – reviewed the fact sheets provided.

Council- decision making body; fiscally responsible; 

EDA – responsible for expansion of wealth (inside and outside)

Planning Commission – recommending body - responsible for comprehensive planning, legislation – setting zoning, regulatory – reviewing code, etc.

c.        Break-out sessions – (each commission broke into their small groups to discuss the following questions:


Question Number 1:

What Richmond Looks Like in 2040 If Nothing Changes

Vision (From Meeting Participants)


Potential Action Steps*
(Suggested by Cynthia Smith Strack)

Small increases or steady population, business


Talk to realtors, builders, etc. find out what housing types are missing and why things aren't moving; contact & meet with Stearns Co HRA re: most recent housing study and needs, find out how this relates to Richmond; contact MHFA Nira Lin re: SF owner occupied grant program. 

Potential decrease in population


See statement above

Main Street will dry up


Focus redevelopment, rehabilitation, and incentive programs in Downtown - not Highway. Find creative people and partner with them.

Growth will occur on Hwy 23 toward Cold Spring


Allow this to happen; work with Stearns County re: Comprehensive Plan "urban reserve" area to ensure limited growth in township

Richmond and Cold Spring will come together


Talk to Cold Spring about working together to grow closer - identify common interests

Some growth will occur if the Council helps things keep moving


Continue to encourage

Businesses owned by older people, older people retiring without replacement


Find out who may be retiring within the next 10-15 years & meeting with them; find out if they have succession plan in mind; strategize

Lose businesses, possibly get more housing


If business loss occurring Downtown are their different uses that could work (e.g. light manufacturing) instead of pure commercial

No incentive for people to move to Richmond


Market quality of life, be open to young families and millennials who look for outdoor amenities and environmentally friendly places

Utilities will become unaffordable


Prioritize maintaining what you have; building up not out; filling up vacant lots

Continue to keep streets up and fixed; we are saving money for this


Track LMNC effort re: legislation to assist cities with street reconstruction (pending legislation in both houses right now)

Low to minimal growth


See statement #1 above

A graying (aging, older) population


Become an age-friendly community; invest in senior housing

Downtown businesses will reduce/decline


Ask yourself what other uses may fit and still keep the appearance of storefronts on Main Street? E.g. industrial

Richmond will be a bedroom community


This is probably a good thing at this point, increased retail and service business follow increased population

Taxes will stay high


To a certain point, this is what it is at this time

Footprint of City will be similar to what it is now


See statement #1 above

More vacant storefronts in Downtown as businesses move to Hwy 23


Again, ask yourself what other uses may fit in the Downtown but still keep the appearance of storefronts (offices/retail areas)

Empty Downtown


See statement above

Less population diversity


If you want more diversity, be very public about being open and welcoming to diversity (e.g. Seattle "Bring Your Weird" campaign)

Expansion on Highway 23


This is likely a good thing

Tax base doesn't grow so taxes would have to go up


See all statements above

Schools holding steady


This is a strength


Question #2


What Richmond Looks Like in 2040 with Good Planning and Strong City/Citizen Efforts - But No Miracles

(From Meeting Participants)


Potential Action Steps*
(Suggested by Cynthia Smith Strack)

Downtown has restaurant and entertainment (bars) businesses


If this is what the Downtown can support, then perhaps work on joint marketing to bring more people into town as a fun option for night life

Residents grow and businesses grow on Hwy 23; utilities extended into towns


Talk to realtors, builders, etc. find out what housing types are missing and why things aren't moving; contact & meet with Stearns Co HRA re: most recent housing study and needs, find out how this relates to Richmond; contact MHFA Nira Lin re: SF owner occupied grant program. 

Senior housing options have increased and more seniors are present


Work with area health facilities to determine what options are needed; partner with them to build a financial model that helps needs be met

Kids and young parents gather at a splash pad; people using nature park


Nature parks will be used more if more programming or events occur there (e.g. watch what people do there and build events around that) ; splash pad - be sure to think of re-use or complimentary uses as well

Taxes are reduced because more people and businesses are present


Keep trying

More tourists are in town


Talk to resort owners, find out what tourists are looking for; hold more festivals/events

Heavy use of trail with connections made to other regional trails


Join regional groups or advocate/support regional groups that are trying to make regional trail connections; market trail with surrounding communities and groups (regional cycling organizations or walking clubs)

Better proportion of housing types


Find out what's missing and why; what needs to happen to build what is missing - talk to anyone and everyone

New or revitalized Main Street


Focus your EDA efforts and target incentives here; meet with DEED Representatives specializing in redevelopment programs - invite them out or visit them in the metro - bring aerial maps and a good story - ask for help

Strong core destination businesses in Downtown


If you can find a creative person who is willing to invest - do everything you can to support - cultivate a deep and lasting friendship

Aho property filled up


Meet with property owners, find out what is happening, what they need to move ahead

Build out of businesses along Hwy 23


Find out what impediments to development are and attempt to remove

Homes being built north of town but within City


Determine if this is feasible/realistic - if so go for it; if not leave it alone

Some sort of orderly annexation


Ask yourself what has changed? Is it worth time, effort, talking? Ask for help from Stearns County in form of urban reserve

Further improvements of parks


Observe what people are doing at parks; plan more activities which complement what people are doing at parks. Think activities and programming year round versus spending money on infrastructure. Learn about placemaking - look it up & talk about it.

City sewer/water adjacent to Hwy 23


Make sure any extension of sewer/water is in City - not Twp.

Existing residential lots fill up and growth will feature a variety of options


See statement #2 above

Businesses will grow along Hwy 23; vacant storefronts Downtown fill up


Again, ask yourself what other uses may fit in the Downtown but still keep the appearance of storefronts (offices/retail areas). Reach out to SCSU - ask for demographic analysis and economic analysis. If King Banaian is still there take a member of City Council, set up a face to face meeting, and plead for help with trying to grow Richmond in any way, shape, or form.

Lakes and resorts bring people into town for recreation and overnight stays


Create the recreation that draws people in - maybe it's off-beat, but interesting - motorcycle roll-ins; antique car nights; etc.

Investment in livability


When you think of livability think about what it takes to get you to leave your house and do stuff outside - build on that! Think also about environmentally friendly higher profile projects: Mayor's Monarch Pledge, Tree City USA, MPCA GreenSteps Program; build the fabric of your community: introduce people to others (i.e. make connections that make sense), get people together, and network.

Partner with Cold Spring and Rockville to keep ROCORI healthy


Meet with all three cities and school board just talk about what you did in the last year and what your priorities are for the next year - cultivate collaboration; eliminate any sense of competition

Continue to have viable elementary schools and faith community in Richmond


Support your schools and their activities - go to events at school


Question #3


Action Step


Consultant Comment (if any)

The City Council will offer tax abatement/TIF for businesses for the next five years

City Council

Agree on terms: what level of investment needed or jobs retained/created; who is paying for cost of 'getting into' abatement or TIF; if abatement will you abate just new tax revenue generated or that that is existing; realistically you need about $500K value before abatement makes sense; over $1M for TIF; are you going to promote this?

The City Council will pursue annexation for commercial growth by making properties shovel ready at the rate of one property every year for the next five years

City Council


The City Council will encourage development of empty lots on the west side of town by revisiting building code and negotiating timelines for building fees for the next five years

City Council


The City Council will direct the Planning Commission to revisit zoning of empty downtown buildings to possibly change the zoning type in the next three months

City Council

Storefronts adjacent to the sidewalk (think big windows, glass doors people can look/see into) are what define a Downtown. If you can retain these and allow other uses to the rear or upper story that works. Maybe look at possibility of limited manufacturing (no outdoor storage, office on front street retained, company vehicles parked off-street) or residential. rental in the rear of store front commercial. Maybe downtown fringes should be residential and not commercial.

The City Council will resurrect the Parks and Recreation Board by the end of 2017, to convene all partners for collaborative community involvement.

City Council

Learn about placemaking (look it up) - focus on programming and engendering emotional ties to public places over and above spending additional money on infrastructure

Enter into dialogue with Township re: annexation

City Council & citizens

Make a conscious decision whether or not you can meaningfully move the needle here

Consolidate fire departments - rationale: everybody can save on taxes

City Council & citizens

Make a conscious decision whether or not you can meaningfully move the needle here

Assemble a group of investors to assist in development of housing and commercial lots (St. Cloud Opportunities)


If Stearns Electric services Richmond and Dave Gruenes is still there - talk with him - invite him to a brainstorming session - share all your business challenges with him

Find out if there is a way to buy commercial property and market for $1/sf


Identify where and how

Review/revise the Comprehensive Plan; tweak to make more appropriate for future; split update duties between City staff, Planning Commission, and others.

Planning Commission

See if SCSU can provide demographic profile and economic profile. Sometimes DEED can help with economic profile too.

Review future land use and zoning

Planning Commission


Meet with developers


Meet with as many people as possible - talk about development and what your needs/challenges are. If you want to fill up Downtown talk in public about the need to fill up Downtown; if you want to appeal to tourists - talk about appealing to tourists in public

Bring in C & C for first step before Spring season


 This goes hand in hand with what's above

Revitalization plan for Main Street

Planning Commission

See if SCSU can help here - graduate school - community development & public administration

Build a splash pad

City Council

Be sure to think of re-use or complimentary uses as well

Look at zoning of Aho Property - if more is needed for commercial or industrial pursue


This falls under the heading of removing impediments. Commercial and industrial end-users want/need shovel ready lots

Find out specifically what City needs to do to get existing, potential business leads to move forward


Leave no stone unturned

Meet with DEED Reps re: available programs that could help Richmond




                (Reconvene Council Meeting)


Item #6: Other Matters of Concern and Related Matters

a.       Next meeting March 1, 2017 at 6:30 pm


Item #7: Adjournment

Mayor Hemmesch asked for any additional items. 

Hearing none Mayor Hemmesch declared the meeting adjourned at 8:43 p.m.


Respectfully Submitted,




Tesa Tomaschett

City Administrator/Clerk/Treasurer