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Pequot Lakes: Council grapples with off-sale liquor store proposal, Girl Scouts visit City Admin

Members of Pequot Lakes Girl Scout Troop 26 spent time with Pequot Lakes City Administrator Nancy Malecha, police and fire department personnel for their local government badge. Shown with Malecha at the city council meeting are Girl Scouts Valerie James (left), Gabby Ziesemer, Brianna Guggenberger and Isabelle Ziesemer. Not pictured is Ashley Slaybaugh. Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal

Will Pequot Lakes change its ordinance regarding how close liquor stores can be to schools and churches?

At its meeting Tuesday, Jan. 2, the council advised Shannon Schmidt to work with city staff regarding his request to open an off-sale liquor and convenience store on the corner lot of Gravdahl Street and County State Aid Highway 11 near city hall. City ordinance doesn't allow off-sale liquor licenses within 500 feet of a school or church, and Schmidt's property is not 500 feet or more from St. Alice Catholic Church.

To allow the business, the council would have to amend city ordinance. Council member Jerry Akerson said he believed the city should work with potential businesses and do everything possible to get businesses up and running.

Other council members mentioned Pequot Lakes Supervalu's denied request when it opened nearly eight years ago to locate a liquor store in its building because it was too close to Gloria Dei Lutheran Church.

Land development

The council agreed to have city engineer Widseth Smith Nolting provide two to three development schematics for the 80 acres south of the Pequot Lakes Business Park for $10,500.

Plans will include the city maintenance facility that will be built, commercial development and ballfields on the south end.

The land formerly was the city's spray irrigation fields, before the Highway 371 four-lane expansion was built.

Public safety

The council agreed to amend an ordinance regarding the selling, giving away, owning, possessing and discharge of weapons and explosives within the city. Basically, the council simply cleaned up the ordinance.

Police had 350 calls for service in November. Firefighters had four calls in November: toaster fire out on arrival in Breezy Point; strong smell of gas in the city of Jenkins; powerline transformer fire in Breezy Point; and animal fell through the ice rescue in Pelican Township.

In other business Jan. 2, the council:

• Agreed to clean up the Robert Swenson property at 31051 Pine St., which was declared a public nuisance. Last June, the council had ordered the dwelling, attached garage and breezeway, deck and hot tub accessory structure be removed from the property.

Mayor Nancy Adams said the council has tried to work with Swenson.

• Approved a rotation of council members to attend planning commission meetings. Adams stressed the importance of council members attending their assigned meetings.

• Approved refuse haulers' licenses for Nisswa Sanitation, Pequot Lakes Sanitation and Waste Partners Inc.

• Agreed to appoint a committee of city staff, two council members, two planning and zoning members, city engineer and city planner to create road specification standards to address how to treat different city roads.

• Approved annual city committee and department appointments and made the following annual appointments for 2018: Widseth Smith Nolting as city engineer; First National Bank of Pequot Lakes Wells Fargo Bank as official depositories; Echo Journal as the main official newspaper and the Brainerd Dispatch as the secondary official newspaper; and First National Bank Insurance Services as the insurance agent of record.

• Reappointed Sheila Holley and Jon Lubke to the Economic Development Commission; reappointed Clara Nelson to the Housing and Redevelopment Authority; reappointed Tom Adams and appointed Faith Kimbler to the Library Board; reappointed Dan Ronning and Barbara Sjoblad to the Park Commission; and appointed Andrew Birch to the Planning Commission.

• Learned the city's Park Commission and Planning Commission each has one vacancy.