Hastings City Council approved an ordinance variance allowing for signs up to 7-feet tall to be placed at the Dakota County Administration Center.

“It’s termed ‘directional signage.’ What we have in our standard zoning requirements is a 4-foot height requirement for directional signage,” said Community Development Director John Hinzman. “When we’re looking at large campuses, they may not work well, so the county’s asking for a variance from the sign height requirement.”

The proposed signs would vary in width, and 13 signs would be placed on the property. Previously, the council allowed a variance in 2013 for signs at Allina Health, which had signs upwards of 8-feet tall.

Council member Mark Vaughan questioned whether it would be beneficial to take a closer look at the ordinance and see if changing it would make the signage process easier, but Hinzman said it wouldn’t be necessary since most businesses outside of Allina and the administration center don’t use signs that big.

“I would say if it had more wide-reaching use, definitely, but I think this might be it,” Hinzman said.

Certificate of appreciation

Council presented a certificate of appreciation to Heritage Preservation Commission Chair Amy Martin for her work in helping preserve historic Hastings neighborhoods.

“Being a commissioner is an important, a lot of times thankless job,” Hinzman said. “I want to thank you for all that you’ve done for the city all these years. In addition to serving on the HPC, Amy was involved in serving on our comprehensive plan committee the last, and also on our advisory board for the Hastings bridge.”

Martin was invited to give a few words upon receiving her appreciation certificate in which she recognized her fellow commissioners for their continued service to the community.

“It’s a really great mix of people, talents and commitment to preserving beautiful historic properties in Hastings,” she said. “And I know we have some really excellent applicants in the queue, and I’m sorry that I won’t get a chance to work with them.”

Fire chief hiring process

Administrative Services Director Julie Flaten gave an update on the fire chief hiring process, which she said the job will be posted on Tuesday, Nov. 19.

“We’ll accept applications up until Dec. 15,” Flaten said. “First interviews are tentatively scheduled for the week of Jan. 6, and we would anticipate bringing forward a new fire chief recommendation to the City Council at the first meeting in March.”

Meanwhile, Assistant Fire Chief John Townsend will continue to operate the fire department as acting fire chief until the position is filled.