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Breezy Point Council repeals zoning restrictions for short-term rentals

The Council approved the measure 4-1

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In its regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 7, the Breezy Point City Council passed another resolution regarding short-term rentals in the city.

This new ordinance restricts the number of short-term rentals within Breezy Point to 60 (there are currently 37 in operation) and requires a property’s well water test results to include lead, mercury, sulfate and manganese. It also repeals all current zoning regulations on these rental properties.

Prior to discussing the issue, the council opened a public forum allowing the roughly 15 members of the public in attendance to give their thoughts on the topic. Seven audience members took advantage of this, with several having issues with the zoning expansion and calling for greater communication from the city on the issue.

Once the council took up discussions, Council member Gary Bakken said he is “so tired” of short-term rentals and the inherent issues they bring, but saw the ordinance as a reasonable compromise. Tom Lillehei informed the council and public that there have been very few complaints stemming from the properties already in the city.

Mayor Todd Roggenkamp said this ordinance served as a necessary compromise.

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“This city is growing whether you want it to or not,” Roggenkamp said. “Whether you wish it would stay small like it always has been, I don’t think that’s going to happen. People are coming to this area for a reason, and the short-term rentals are kind of a product of some of that. People (who own rental properties) also see this as an area to invest in.”

Roggenkamp also reminded the crowd that the council could revisit the issue at any time.

With regards to communication, Roggenkamp said all of the necessary information is already available to the public in one form or another.

“I can tell you honestly, one of the reasons that I ran for mayor was part of that, because I didn't feel systems were being communicated enough, but it is a challenge,” Roggenkamp said. “An old adage my dad always said was ‘you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.’ We can put out as much information as we can possibly put out there, but the people have to be able to be willing to go into places where we have the information … I know that maybe it's a pain to call the city hall, but if you have a question about something or you want information about something, we have staff here that serve you, the people of this city.

“The information is there for the people to get a hold of. I just encourage all of you to take the opportunity to just look for it a little bit.”

The measure passed 4-1, with council member Michael Moroni voting in opposition, saying he did not want to see the allowed rental area expanded.

“We have always had short-term rentals in commercial, resort commercial and the R4 district,” Moroni said. “(Planning and Zoning) had asked us not to change that – not to expand on that … I am in favor of not expanding it, to leave it to those three zones and test out our licenses, to test out our website and to test out how things go for the next three years.”

Roggenkamp said the county will issue permits regardless of the area, and for the city to restrict location after an individual already has a permit from the county may lead to issues.

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“We would create this big fight between us and Crow Wing County, and we have already tried to go down that road,” Roggenkamp said. “You are not going to be very successful. We are the small guys on the totem pole, and they supersede us in regards to the government aspects. It's just the way it is.”

In other action, the council:

  • Agreed to enter a contract with Civic Plus to overhaul the city website, and change the city website URL from www.cityofbreezypointmn.us to www.breezypointmn.gov. City administrator David Chanski said the city would try to make it so typing in the old URL will redirect people to the new site.

“When the Technology Committee met, this was a no-brainer,” Moroni said. “We heard it tonight (during the public hearing): communication, communication, communication.

  • Agreed to set a special meeting for Thursday, Nov. 14 at 4 p.m. to canvas election results.

In October, the Breezy Point Police Department responded to 276 incidents, an increase of four from October 2021. Among the incidents were eight traffic arrests, six crashes, two thefts and one fire.

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Dan Determan, sports writer/staff writer, may be reached at 218-855-5879 or dan.determan@pineandlakes.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Dan.

Related Topics: BREEZY POINT CITY COUNCILGOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Dan Determan has been a reporter for the Echo Journal since 2014, primarily covering sports at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus
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