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Council approves guest quarters ordinance

The Crosslake City Council approved an ordinance amendment Monday night, March 25, allowing guest quarters above new and existing garages in the city.

Crosslake resident Dan Miller has been working with both the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Crosslake community development director Ken Anderson to develop the ordinance amendment for the city.

Things had been going well, Miller told the council, but Miller’s DNR contact, former area hydrologist Lonnie Thomas, had retired and Miller felt the process was beginning again from square one.

The DNR had requested that guest quarters be allowed over existing buildings, but not new buildings.

Miller said that both Crow Wing County and Nisswa have similar ordinances, both of which allow guest quarters above existing and new buildings. The DNR had not pursued either ordinance, he said.

He suggested that the city approve the ordinance amendment and allow residents to build guest quarters over both new buildings as well as existing buildings. He made the point that allowing guest quarters over a new garage reduces impervious surfaces by eliminating the need for a separate guest quarters building.

Anderson noted that a public hearing for the ordinance amendment was held in June. He also said that if the city adopted the ordinance amendment, he believed the DNR could either ignore it or request that the city change it within a year.

The council agreed that guest quarters should be allowed over new and existing garages, and passed the ordinance amendment unanimously.

In other business Monday, the council:

• Decided it will have two regular meetings a month, adding a meeting to the fourth Monday of the month in addition to its current schedule of a meeting on the second Monday of the month.

• Approved participation in the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) police and fire plan.

• Discussed issues involving properties that are considered disorderly or a potential threat to health. Council member Gary Heacox brought the matter to the attention of the council, and suggested the council have a way of enforcing such issues.

The particular property Heacox displayed, on Big Pine Trail, is vacant and will be bank-owned in mid-June. The council decided it will send a letter to the bank at that time, asking that the property be cleaned. If no action is taken in 30 days, the city will clean the property and asses the cost to the property.