The Wayzata City Council charged through a busy agenda in its regular meeting on Tuesday, June 1.

The first item of new business was to approve excess reserve transfers. Aurora Yager, administrative services director, explained where excess reserve funds come from, stating they are compiled from the general, licensing and liquor funds. The city establishes a fund balance which is a target amount to allocate to those funds. Anything over the fund balance can be transferred to use for projects. In the past the city has used these funds for capital improvement projects.

It's pretty impressive, in a year impacted by COVID we were good stewards of resources and made sure at the end of the year we still had reserves,” Yager said. 

The total amount available is $560,365. Yager presented three recommendations on how to use those funds, which were:

  • Lakefront (Panoway) loan repayment: $250,179
  • General building fund for capital improvements: $82,779
  • Parks and trails capital improvement fund: $110,000

These three uses total $442,958.

The motion to approve the excess reserve transfer was unanimously passed.

Next, the council discussed approving the city’s new design standards with amendments as needed, as well as approving the first reading of the amended city code regarding design standards. Laura Shagalov and Andrew Faulkner of urban design and architecture firm Van Meter Williams Pollack presented the 2021 Design Standards Handbook the city would give to developers. 

City planner Emily Goellner explained how the application process for development will work based on updated city code. Minor deviations from the design standards would be handled administratively with staff making those decisions. Significant deviations will require a public hearing with the planning and zoning committee and the city council. Compliance issues will either be handled by the developer or they can request a deviation exception.

The design standards passed with amendments being applied as needed and the first reading of the city code was approved with council member Cathy Iverson as the lone “Nay” vote.

Public works director and city engineer Mike Kelly presented designs and costs for Wayzata Beach Playground improvements.

“The existing equipment is about 15 years old — and it doesn’t meet current safety standards. It’s outlived its useful life,” Kelly said.

The updated equipment would have a seafaring water/nautical theme, be Americans with Disabilities Act compliant and qualify as a PlayOn! National Design Site.

“It’s consistent with our parks and trails master plan,” Kelly said. “We want to provide better health and fitness options within the city. Our core mantra in our comprehensive plan is we want to get out and be active.”

The parks and trail department has budgeted $330,000 toward playground improvements. This project is estimated to cost $272,086 with another $53,000 to add a water feature that mists water. 

The city was planning to make improvements to Klapprich Park this year and Wayzata Beach next year, but Kelly proposed flipping those plans around because the Wayzata Beach project is very “straightforward.” The council agreed.

Kelly said Wayzata Beach Playground will remain the same until after Labor Day weekend. Then demolition will begin with the expectation that the updated park will be available for use later in the fall.

The council approved the purchase of equipment and the playground design.

The council voted unanimously to create an ad hoc Panoway District Committee. The committee will focus on public safety, maintenance, operations, regulations and events and programming in the district.

Seven members were appointed to serve on the committee: Cathy Iverson, Molly MacDonald, Becky Pierson, Alicia Vig, Jimmy Beltz, Mary Dolan, Tory Schalke.

Dean Vlahos, co-owner of COV Wayzata, returned to council to ask for approval of a sidewalk cafe permit and approval of an encroachment permit for the restaurant at 700 Lake Street. Vlahos was recently denied permission to build a sidewalk patio and returned with a new design.

The proposal was for a patio area of about 525 square feet on the northwest corner of the building. It would be bordered by planters and leave 12 feet of sidewalk clearance. The outdoor cafe would fit about 37 seats and would have a gate and pergola.

“I just think that the addition will finish off that corner in a nice way,” Vlahos said. “We’re going to do it the way we do everything. It's going to be first class.”

Public works director Mike Kelly and council member Jeff Buchanan said the new design improved on the issues which caused the last design to be rejected, including keeping the view of the lake open and serving alcohol in a bar setting on public land.

“The council has been supporting the hospitality industry throughout the city, especially during a tough time for that industry. That should continue,” Buchanan said. “We love our restaurants. We appreciate what  they’ve been through. This application completes a very beautiful patio experience.”

The council approved the permit with Iverson as the only “Nay” vote.