Pequot Lakes will accept applications through Sunday, Dec. 20, to fill a vacant seat on the city council, and the new council and mayor taking over in 2021 will make the appointment.

Jerry Akerson, who died in October, had two years left in his term, through 2022. The council in January will include a new mayor, Tyler Gardner, and a new council member, Pete Clement, joining current council members Scott Pederson and Cheri Seils.

The council agreed at its Tuesday, Nov. 10, meeting to take applications and then appoint someone. Seils was absent from the meeting.

Sign violation

After tabling action last month on a Lonesome Cottage Furniture sign violation until business owner Brandon Andersen could be invited to a council meeting to speak, the Pequot Lakes City Council agreed to postpone the issue until March 2021 so the new council could consider the issue.

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At issue is the large banner on the side of a semi-trailer on Lonesome Cottage’s industrial park property on Morehouse Drive advertising the showroom on Patriot Avenue. The sign, which faces Highway 371, violates city code because it exceeds the maximum size of a freestanding sign and is advertising an offsite location, according to a memo to the council.

At its Tuesday, Nov. 10, meeting, council member Scott Pederson suggested postponing a decision, saying: “Also, in the times we’re in right now, I believe we have to do everything we can to help our city out in any way we can, at least in the short term getting through his COVID pandemic thing.

“If it means putting a sign out on the highway directing people to come visit Pequot, I'm 100% in favor of it,” Pederson said, noting he’s also in favor of possibly repealing or amending the city zoning code pertaining to signs.

It doesn’t need to be enforced today in the current business climate, he said.

Andersen said he thought it was much to-do about nothing and he doesn’t agree the advertisement is off-site signage. It’s been there for four years and there was no issue, he said, adding he doesn’t think the city council should regulate what is put on the side of a trailer of any kind.

“It’s a freedom of speech issue,” he said.

In her staff report, Zoning Specialist Dawn Bittner, after consulting the city attorney, asked that the council enforce the zoning code consistently or repeal/amend the zoning code. She said rather than moving forward with enforcement as outlined in the city code, staff decided to make the council aware of the issue and hoped to receive council support to move forward with enforcement.

Public safety

North Memorial Ambulance provided a Lifesaver Award to police officer Matt Jorgens for his efforts at a medical on June 25 on the 5000 block of Country Care Lane. He began lifesaving efforts on a resident who was choking in the dining room.

Police Chief Eric Klang praised Jorgens’ and other officers’ responses to routine medicals and their work on the street every day.

“Thank you. It’s an honor. I was in the right place at the right time again,” Jorgens said.

For the fire department, the council hired Trevor Kruse as a volunteer firefighter, and agreed to hire Widseth engineering firm to help write an Assistance to Firefighters Grant for a new tanker for $1,200 plus expenses.

Firefighters had seven calls in September, including an outdoor wood pile fire in Jenkins Township, trailer house fire in Loon Lake Township, fire alarm malfunction in Pequot Lakes, outdoor power pole fire in Breezy Point, missing person search in Loon Lake Township, assist police with an RV electrical issue in Breezy Point and a fire alarm in Pequot Lakes.

Police had 206 calls for service in September.

In other business Nov. 10, the council:

  • Certified delinquent bills to the property tax role.

  • Acknowledged Andrew Birch’s resignation from the planning commission because he plans to move out of Pequot Lakes.

  • Learned a request for proposals is being issued to select a consultant to do a study on possible upgrades to the combination of Buschmann, Akerson, Nelson and Wild Acres roads in a cooperative effort with Breezy Point and Jenkins and Ideal townships.

  • Canvassed municipal election results.

  • Met in closed session to develop or consider offers or counteroffers for the purchase of real property permanent easements. No action was taken.

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.