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Pine River Council denies variance request

The Pine River City Council decided to deny a variance request by Nathan Savageau regarding installation of signs on his property for the reason that he had not proven a hardship.

The variance discussion took place at the regular city council meeting, July 9.

Savageau had requested the variance during the June regular meeting, and the council agreed to discuss the variance request on July 9. Savageau wanted to install two 4-by-8 signs on his property at the Pine River Laundromat. He proposed installing these signs in such a way that they would count as one, however, the two signs are too big to meet the 24 square foot sign limit within the city even if installed separately.

The request for a variance was denied because Savageau had not yet proven hardship, as is required for variances.

“If you’re going to grant a variance without having someone prove a hardship, then you’ll have to do that for every application,” said City Clerk Wanda Mongan.

It was mentioned that Savageau had the option of either making the signs smaller to meet city regulations, or to request a variance again once he could prove a hardship.

In other business, the council:

•Approved a request by the Pine River Fire Department to increase the department’s benefit levels from $2,100 to $2,400. Members of the department told the council that the department has the money to cover the cost of a benefit pay-out, and would reduce the benefit amount if their assets were reduced to the point that they could not afford to do so. Due to questions concerning the department’s available budget, council member Patty Melby voted against the increase, and Tamara Hansen abstained from the vote, but the decision still passed with the majority voting in favor.

• Denied a request to temporarily rezone a piece of property within the city, as the council saw no sufficient reason.

• Discussed an ordinance to limit the number and duration of rummage sales within the city. The issue of the ordinance was raised by Mayor Jim Sabas, but it died for lack of support.

• Heard from Bryan Drown that crack sealing at the Pine River Municipal Airport is still under warranty for repair.

• Heard from Police Chief Paul Sand, who acquired house numbers to distribute to city residents that do not have them sufficiently on display.