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Crosslake: Council approves radar signs, waives new park dedication fees

Radar signs that show drivers their speed will soon be placed near the Crosslake Community Center after the Crosslake City Council approved purchasing the signs at its Monday, July 10, meeting.

Police Chief Erik Lee said high speeds on Daggett Pine Road near the community center have become a concern. He requested the council allow him to buy two permanent, solar-powered radar signs to put on either side of the community center and two mobile radar signs that can be moved to various places around town as police see fit.

Council member Brad Nelson echoed Lee's concern for high traffic speeds and agreed the signs are a good idea, as they can do a lot more than just monitor speed.

"They can do traffic counts. They can see minimum speeds, maximum speeds, average speeds," Nelson said. "There's a wealth of information that comes out of these things."

Lee assured the council, however, that tickets cannot be issued through radar signs.

Each permanent sign costs $4,350, and each movable sign is $2,859. Lee's proposal was for the police department to use forfeiture funds - which are made up of drug money, DWI vehicle forfeitures, etc. - to purchase one permanent and two movable signs, which adds up to roughly $10,000. Lee said the department has enough money for that and added that forfeiture funds are supposed to be used for "unbudgeted public safety concerns."

Parks and Recreation Director Jon Henke agreed to have the parks and rec department pay for the second permanent community center sign.

Ordinances

After several recent noise complaints around Crosslake, Lee informed the council he and City Clerk Char Nelson drafted a noise ordinance, as the city doesn't currently have one. Because there's no ordinance in place, Lee said he can't do anything about noise complaints beyond telling establishments or residents to quiet down, which doesn't always produce results.

The new ordinance, which the council approved, defines various types of noises as nuisances, including loud vehicles, excessive dog barking, loud music and several others. Under the ordinance, loud construction work and usage of loud power tools is constricted to 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The ordinance also says that each violation is subject to a $75 fine.

Crosslake's land use ordinance also received updates Monday. Changes the planning and zoning commission made include updates to requirements for conditional use permits and the city's fencing policy. Another change is required updates to the city's floodplain ordinance, as mandated by the Department of Natural Resources.

Park dedication fees

During the "old business" portion of the meeting, council member Dave Nevin brought up the issue of dedication fees for the new park planned near town square, which was discussed at a special council meeting June 26.

At the special meeting, the council voted to half the park dedication fees for the townhomes and apartments that are planned to go up on either side of the new park. Nevin asked to revisit the issue, as the council's decision to reduce the fees by only half didn't sit well with him because of how big of an asset a new park would be to the city.

"I want to make a motion to waive the park dedication fee," he said. "All it's doing is taking the park dedication fee and contributing it to the park."

Other council members agreed on the importance of developed green space in town but felt they couldn't agree to totally waiving the dedication fee until they saw concrete plans.

After much discussion, the council unanimously decided to waive the park dedication fee for the apartments and townhomes up to the proposed amount, pending receipt of cost estimates and a plan.

Henke advised council members to look at changing the city's ordinance on this issue if they're going to make decisions like this, as it could be dangerous.

"I agree, town square's a great asset," Henke said. "But to pick and choose who's qualified and who's not when you're doing the same exact project, you're going to get sued eventually when you deny the next developer that comes in."

In other business Monday, the council:

• Heard from a representative of the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association, who asked the city to consider, in lieu of membership fees each year, to consider budgeting for "donations" to the association each year. The council approved $200 for the PBSBA at the meeting and decided to consider the request when budgeting for 2018.

• Heard from a resident who was concerned about cars that park on the sides of West Shore Drive when the public boat access parking lot is full. The resident said, because the public access is on a curved hill, the parking situation is dangerous. Other council members said they have received similar complaints. Lee said he will work with Public Works Director Ted Strand to look for a solution.

• Turned over control of the Board of Equalization and Appeal to the county, as members decided county officials are more qualified.

• Approved a resolution that allows the city to reimburse itself for construction and engineering costs of road and sewer projects, as payments on those projects have so far been internally financed and the final costs are unknown.

• Heard that City Administrator Dan Vogt has received a complaint about lack of accessibility to some commercial buildings in town in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Vogt said the city should hire someone who can sign off on ADA compliance on commercial building permits. The person will most likely, Vogt said, be someone who is a building official in another community and just consults with Crosslake.

• Approved quotes for three city projects, including:

• $68,395 to Blue Water Wells, Inc. for new well construction at the wastewater treatment plant.

• $16,920 to Linscape Linestriping for line striping.

• $45,223.21 to Anderson Brothers Construction Company for road patching.

• Set a special council meeting to discuss the 2018 preliminary budget and levy for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8.

In June, the Crosslake Police Department responded to 204 incidents, including six crashes, five thefts, two fires, one burglary in progress and one traffic arrest. Police responded to 51 calls in Mission Township in June, including five traffic citations, four thefts and one driving complaint.

The Crosslake Fire Department responded to 34 calls in June, including 31 medical assists and one grass/wildland fire.

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