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Residents comment on new Crosslake planning code

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The city of Crosslake held its first open house regarding a rewritten planning ordinance on Monday, Jan. 6.

It was the first of two meetings the council scheduled to discuss the planning ordinance. The council recently hired Sumption Environmental to review the city’s planning code, streamline and rewrite it. A second public hearing will be at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 13, before the council’s 7 p.m. meeting.

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Along with some of the council, five or six residents attended the Jan. 6 meeting. Attendance may have been down because of the sub-zero temperatures and low wind chill values.

Both the proposed code and the current code are available at the city’s website, www.cityofcrosslake.org, or at city hall.

Perhaps the main concern residents expressed at the meeting was the difficulty to decipher what changes had been made to the code in the proposed version. There was concern that something could be missing from the proposed code that is in the current code. If the omission isn’t caught soon enough, a permit could be issued for something the council believed was illegal because it had been in the former code.

Jon Kolstad, land services specialist in Crosslake’s planning and zoning office, said if there are mistakes in the code after the council approves it, the council can go through the channels necessary to make changes.

Resident Patty Norgaard requested to see what changes had been made between the current and proposed code, and what the benefit of those changes is.

Kolstad said by phone after the meeting that the intent for the open houses and public hearings is for the public to read the proposed code, compare it with the existing ordinance and comment on any issues they see.

“This is your opportunity to go in and look at it. I think the intent is for the public to read the proposed ordinance and compare it with the existing ordinance. That’s not something we’re going to do for them ... that’s why it’s out there for public comment.”

Kolstad said during the meeting that in its current form, the 300-plus pages of current planning and zoning code are almost impossible to implement.

Council member Mark Wessels, who was at the meeting, said, “This (new code) is going to be largely as much as possible the same as the county code, which is largely the same as DNR (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources) ordinance.”

The public comment period for the new code remains open until Jan. 31. Comments can be dropped off at city hall, emailed to environmental.services@crowwing.us or mailed to Crow Wing County Land Services at 322 Laurel St., Suite 14, Brainerd, MN 56401.

After the Jan. 13 open house, the new code will go before the planning and zoning commission Feb. 28. That meeting will include a public hearing. The council plans to review the code and potentially approve it at its March 10 meeting.

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