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Pequot Lakes Downtown Plan identified as high priority

The Pequot Lakes Planning Commission highlighted priorities to focus on in 2014 from the comprehensive plan and sought council reaction to those ideas.

The council on Monday, Feb. 3, asked that the commission put the Downtown Plan at the top of the list. The current plan was done several years ago and shows Highway 371 going through town, as it does today.

A revised plan should consider that the highway will expand to four lanes east of town in 2018, and the plan should include such items as streetlights, public bathrooms, streetscapes, walking and bike trails, parking lots and green space, the council has said.

The top three high priority items the commission identified included:

• Adopt new standard street sections that reduce long-term costs by narrowing lane widths to appropriate neighborhood scale and providing safe pedestrian mobility throughout the city.

• Adjust the zoning code to clearly reserve all space within the industrial park for uses that are not public, will pay property tax and will employ people.

• Identify and establish well-marked routes that more directly connect snowmobile and bicycle traffic from the regional trail system into the city.

The commission also sought council direction on a comprehensive plan item to establish a Subsurface Sewage Treatment System monitoring program to ensure ongoing maintenance and compliant operation of systems throughout the city.

The council agreed the commission should develop a plan, though it wouldn’t be implemented until the council further reviewed the issue.

Public safety

Pequot Lakes firefighters responded to 10 calls in January: good intent motor vehicle rollover, good intent fire alarm, two good intent carbon monoxide detectors going off, structure fire, good intent tree on power line, gasoline spill, chimney fire smoke in basement, structure fire-electric heater in kitchen, and good intent fire alarm canceled en route.

Calls included four to Pequot Lakes, five to Breezy Point and one to Jenkins Township.

In other business Feb. 3, the council:

• Provided clearer direction on 2014 priorities set at a previous meeting by appointing council, staff and commission members to various committees. Those committees will report back in the next few months as work progresses.

• Accepted resignations from firefighter Dean Arnold and part-time police officer Chelsea Collette.

• Hired Jerry Logelin as a part-time maintenance worker.

• Accepted the 2013 Planning Department assessment of services that department provides. Dawn Bittner, zoning administrator, plans to use the assessment as a tool to continually improve customer service and consistency in code enforcement and interpretation.

• Authorized the Maintenance Department to buy a dump/plow truck. Cost is $108,403 for the truck and $81,307 for the plow and related equipment. The council approved a resolution providing for the issuance and sale of $193,000 General Obligation Equipment Certificates to Lakes State Bank and levying a tax for the payment.

• Approved preliminary plans for North Washington Avenue improvements, which would make the street the city’s only one-way.

• Approved an agreement to lease the chamber building to the chamber. The agreement needs to be presented to the chamber board for approval.

Nancy Vogt can be reached at Follow her on Facebook.