Nearly a half dozen people spoke during the open forum portion of the Wednesday, Dec. 16, Nisswa City Council meeting, mostly sharing opinions about whether the city should allow golf carts to use the Gull Lake Trail.

One person, Troy Scheffler, spoke again about Mayor Fred Heidmann’s arrest in August for allegedly interfering with a traffic stop and told the council he finally obtained the full body camera footage from the incident.

After being stopped at the 5-minute mark (city policy allows 5 minutes per person for open forum comments), Scheffler asked for more time as he has done in the past, and Heidmann said he has always been a proponent to give people time to speak.

“This is where we do our work, the place where citizens come to the council to share,” Heidmann said, noting he believes 15 minutes is a reasonable amount of time for someone to speak.

However, he agreed comments would be concluded after 5 minutes as the council wished.

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Others talked about the golf cart ordinance and trail use policy the city is working on as it would relate to the Gull Lake Trail, which the city and Lake Shore recently received funding for to finish both cities’ portions of the trail in the next couple of years.

Heidmann also spoke to this, raising concerns about allowing golf carts to use the trail.

Council resignation

The council accepted Mike Hoff’s resignation from the council effective Dec. 31 and agreed to accept letters from people interested in fulfilling his term through 2022.

Letters will be accepted through 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29, and the council will then appoint someone to fill the seat.

Hoff, moved out of the city limits so is no longer eligible to serve, received thanks for his service.

Heidmann, who served six years on the council and as mayor, and 12-year council member Gary Johnson attended their last meeting and each received a plaque for their years of service.

“It’s been 12 years and I learned a heck of a lot. It hasn’t always been fun, but for the most part it’s been very enjoyable,” Johnson said. “Thank you all for serving our community and to those who are staying on, good luck going forward.”

Heidmann said: “Thanks to everyone. It’s been enjoyable. It’s been fun. The city’s grown a lot, a lot of neat things are happening, projects are happening. I will certainly be watching how things go.”

He then handed his mayor’s gavel to council member John Ryan, who will become mayor in 2021.

Public safety

The council adopted an updated use of force policy, which the Peace Officer Standards and Training Board redid.

The November police report included 207 calls for service, 23 agency assists, one criminal citation, 24 citations, 131 warnings, five arrests, 13 emergency medical services calls and six alarms.

The fire department received permission to buy a compressor.

The November fire report included 35 calls, including 29 emergency medical services calls, two alarms and one each gas leak, grass fire, car wreck and house fire.

In other business Dec. 16, the council:

  • Heard presentations from Planning and Zoning Administrator Brittney Cotner, Ye Old Pickle Factory Manager Terry Wallin and Public Works/Sewer Director Tom Blomer.

  • Approved a rezoning application from commercial waterfront to planned development district for ETOC Co. Inc. (Grand View Lodge); and approved ETOC’s preliminary plat application for North Pines, which includes building a 27-unit common interest residential community with private roads.

  • Agreed to install street lights in the Wolf Chase neighborhood after receiving a petition from those residents.

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.