Pequot Lakes won't regulate or require a permit for short-term rentals
Council consensus is people pay property taxes and should be able to use their property as they wish, within reason
PEQUOT LAKES — Pequot Lakes will not regulate or require a permit for short-term rental properties in the city.
The city council agreed at its regular meeting Monday, Feb. 6, to adopt the planning and zoning commission’s recommendation after the Crow Wing County Board recently rescinded its short-term rental ordinance.
Council member Dan Ronning was opposed.
The county ordinance previously was administered under the county’s public health authority. Now a similar ordinance falls under the county’s land use authority and no longer applies to cities in the county.
The planning and zoning commission talked about four options:
- Disallow: Modify the code to not allow short-term rentals in the city.
- Allow outright: Do not regulate short-term rentals and allow without a permit.
- Crow Wing County administration: Adopt the county short-term rental ordinance and contract with the county to administer it each year. All permitting would be directly through the county, who would receive all permit fees.
- City administration: Adopt a short-term rental ordinance and permit administratively.
Council member Scott Pederson said the city has ordinances that short-term rentals already have to follow, such as a noise ordinance.
City Administrator Rich Spiczka asked if the city could ask short-term rental property owners to register without a fee, just so the city can get in contact with the property owner if need be.
Mayor Tyler Gardner said the city could ask people to register, but not all will.
Other area cities have struggled over the years with how to regulate short-term rental properties, including Crosslake and Breezy Point.
Gardner said only six to 10 permits, or 40% of short-term rentals in Pequot Lakes, were previously issued.
“They’re everywhere,” Gardner said of such rental properties.
Council consensus was that people who pay property taxes should be able to use their property as they wish, within reason.
Eric Larson, a planning commission member who owns a short-term rental, said he knows there is negative talk in the community about short-term rentals, but he believes it’s nothing but positive.
Of 362 rental licenses in Crow Wing County in 2021, only two had licenses revoked for septic system reasons.
“I don’t see any need to worry,” Larson said.
The council further discussed the block of Patriot Avenue from the Main Street stoplights to Sibley Street (by Builders FirstSource).
The city tested a design last summer with a goal to test traffic flow, pedestrian safety and parking.
Council members shared their thoughts, and city engineer Widseth will provide an initial design in March.
The council discussed other possible road projects, including Main and Front streets scheduled in 2024; Ninth Avenue, with parts of this road in Pequot Lakes, Jenkins and Loon Lake Township; Patriot Avenue, which is set for chipsealing this season; Akerson, Nelson and Wild Acres roads, which also encompass Breezy Point and Ideal and Jenkins townships; and Coleman Drive, set for spring/summer work.
And the council discussed possible ways to improve the Highway 371/County Road 29 intersection.
Council members agreed this intersection is a concern and talked about having a meeting with concerned entities.
Police Sgt. Ryan Franz said law enforcement also is talking about the intersection at Toward Zero Deaths meetings.
The police department received approval to hire Masen Barton as a full-time officer and Jennifer Strack as a part-time officer, pending preemployment requirements..
The hirings come after former officer Mike Davis was promoted to police chief in January.
The Pequot Lakes Fire District listed nine fire calls in December and eight in January.
Police reported 206 calls in December and 255 calls in January.
Council member Cheri Seils was absent Monday.
In other business Monday, the council:
- Adopted an official city flag designed by a Pequot Lakes student. A certificate will be presented at the March 6 meeting.
- Appointed Rachel Mesa to the planning and zoning commission.
- Met in closed session for evaluation of the performance of a city employee.
Nancy Vogt, editor, may be reached at 218-855-5877 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.