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Council approves three-month moratorium on towers

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The Fifty Lakes City Council voted to institute a three-month moratorium on telecommunications towers within city limits at a Tuesday, May 13, meeting and will develop a city ordinance on the topic.

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Planning and zoning administrator Gordy Reller said that currently, Fifty Lakes has no ordinance regulating telecommunications towers.

The council began discussing a moratorium in March, in response to rumors that companies have been looking for locations in the city to construct a tower.

Reller said if the council can prepare an ordinance by next month's meeting, it will not need the full three-month moratorium.

"They want to do it as soon as possible," he said. "(Once completed), the council would have a public hearing, and it would be in effect."

Reller said considerations the council will make in developing an ordinance are related to location of a proposed tower.

"You would want to look at high ground, but not sticking way up above the treeline for aesthetic purposes," he said. "You don't want to have it right on lakeshore."

Reller said there would likely be restrictions on how populated an area around a tower could be.

Other area cities currently have ordinances regarding towers within city limits.

In Crosslake, the ordinance notes five purposes of the regulations: providing an appropriate location to serve residents and businesses most effectively; minimizing "adverse visual impact"; using engineering and careful site selection to avoid potential damage to nearby properties; maximizing the use of a given tower to reduce the number of towers needed; and compliance with the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996.

In Pequot Lakes, towers are required to be no closer than 25 feet to nearby properties and to be "camouflaged" through the use of placement and color, except in the instances where certain colors are required by state or federal laws.

Nisswa's ordinance restricts tower construction within one-quarter mile from the ordinary high water mark of any lake located within the city. Towers must be set back at a minimum of the tower's height from side and rear property lines, road rights-of-way and other structures. In residential zones, towers must be at least 500 feet from the nearest property line.

Reller said the ordinance would have to comply with all state statutes and would be reviewed by legal counsel before official approval.

In other business, the council:

• Amended an ordinance to allow for the use of an interim use permit for the asphalt packing plant in the special protection zoning district.

• Accepted the preliminary architectural drawings for the patio addition to the municipal bar and voted to advertise for bids for construction through June 2.

• Approved the renewal of a liquor license for Golden Eagle Golf Properties.

• Heard from Ty Goeman, account manager for Consolidated Telecommunications Company (CTC). CTC is contracted to perform IT work for the city. The council decided to change the domain name of the city's website over to city ownership, and to manage it with help from CTC using GoDaddy.

• Requested maintenance supervisor Bill Bright obtain quotes to paint the exterior doors of city hall, replace mulch and review bushes for potential replacement.

• Released probationary bartender Mary Emery from employment and voted to hire Vincent Lasher as a part-time bartender.

• Agreed to pre-pay the membership fee of $360 for a horseshoe league team, to be reimbursed by the members.

• Heard from resident Kay Sperl, who requested the council consider replacing old playground equipment.

• Heard a request from Toni Buchite, liquor store manager, to consider lead bartender Diana Johnson as a full-time employee. Council member Jodie Schrupp will research allowing Johnson to remain on the city's insurance policy.

• Heard from Reller that planning and zoning member Andy Levesque resigned from the commission, leaving a vacancy.

• Approved a request from Mayor Ken Hersey to include time spent attending meetings by deputy clerk Ann Raph for planning Fifty Lakes Day to be funded by the city.

• Heard a request from Schrupp to consider placing a streetlight at Town Hall Road and County Road 1. The council asked Schrupp to contact Crow Wing Power and Crow Wing County to discuss options, including moving a streetlight from the rear of the building.

Chelsey Perkins can be reached at chelsey.perkins@pineandlakes.com. Follow her at facebook.com/PEJChelsey and on Twitter @PEJ_Chelsey.

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Chelsey Perkins
Chelsey Perkins grew up in Crosslake and is a graduate of Pequot Lakes High School. She earned her Bachelor's degree in professional journalism from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. Perkins has interned at the Lake Country Echo and the Rochester and Austin Post-Bulletins and also worked for the student-run Minnesota Daily newspaper as a copy editor and columnist during college. She went on to intern at Utne Reader magazine, where she was later hired as the research editor. Before joining the Brainerd Dispatch, Perkins worked as a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal.
(218) 855-5874
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