HASTINGS, Minn. — City Council members approved a land annexation ordinance for a 40-acre parcel of land west of General Sieben Drive and south of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church.

Originally part of Nininger Township, representatives from the Rosalia Bauer estate brought the land forward to the city to be developed. Preliminary plans include dividing it into 121 different lots containing 60 single-family homes and 61 villa homes.

Mike Hamilton, a lawyer representing Nininger Township, stood with Nininger Township Planning Commission Chairman John Bremer to oppose the annexation.

"We're missing our own town board meeting tonight because we thought it was more important to come here and deal with the annexation problem Nininger Township is having," Hamilton said. "It's certainly something we certainly would like to curb before there's no longer a Nininger Township."

Council member Joe Balsanek said that Minnesota law backs the city up in its right to annex the property in the township.

"I think it's important to note the city of Hastings has a legal right to annex this property by Minnesota statute," he said. "The city can annex any properties that it would like to that butt up to the city limits, so that is why we have this proposal before us."

A representative from Solberg Aggregate also spoke during the public hearing saying the controlled demolition it conducts would cause noise concerns for possible future residents. Council member Tina Folch said she's heard from residents on who've said the explosions cause their whole house to shake.

However, at the end of the discussion all council members were in agreement that annexing the property would be in the city's best interests, so the motion was approved unanimously.

In other news...

  • K9 "Ozzy" was formally retired from the Hastings Police Department and was recognized for his nine years of service on the force. Chief Bryan Schafer recounted some highlights from Ozzy's nine-year career, which included apprehending a suspect in 2011 who was resisting arrest, tracking a suicidal person who was off their medications and could not be found, and successfully tracking a burglary suspect for 4 miles. During his retirement, he will live a life of leisure and relaxation with his handler officer Mike Schmitz and his family.
  • Council members approved a tax increment financing plan for the proposed senior housing project at Schoolhouse Square. The senior housing project would have a total of 90 units and an adjacent dog park for residents.