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January 15, 2021

12/18/2020 12:42:00 PM
DNR's  appeal of dock for Green Lake Villas denied

The Chisago City Council  December 8 denied an appeal from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, asking the city to reconsider its approval of a conditional use permit for 24 boat slips at the Green Lake Villas development (on the old Lakeside School property). The 24-vessel dock will be in addition to the private docks permitted for 11 lots directly on the lake.

The Green Lake Villas planned unit development project was approved for 35 homes, 11 lake lots  and three outlots Aug. 25. The city says that additional docks are allowed with a CUP under the city’s zoning ordinance section 6.11. The DNR asserts the extra dock would not be allowed under the city’s own code regarding planned unit development.

Nov. 5, the city planning commission held a public hearing and recommended approval of the conditional use permit for the 24-unit dock requested by the developer to serve property owners not on the lakeshore.   Craig Wills, DNR regional hydrologist, was present and stated the city did not follow its shoreland zone rules for boat docks and slips.

City staff reported that the dock had been part of the planned unit development project from the start and that after consulting with a League of Minnesota Cities attorney and their own city attorney, staff was  confident that the city had taken the right steps for the conditional use. After a lengthy discussion and after hearing input from City Attorney Tom Miller, the city planning commission recommended approval of the conditional use permit. The city council approved the permit on Nov 12, with the understanding the state would appeal.   

An email appealing that decision contended that the city did not comply with shoreland regulations. The DNR states that under shoreland regulations docks and mooring spaces in the project must be limited to the number of allowable units in the first tier (those on the lakeshore) and must be centralized. They say this restricts the number of docking spaces to 13, not 35. The DNR appeal was asking the city to rescind its approval of the communal dock.

Before voting unanimously to deny the DNR appeal, the city council sought input from Attorney Miller. Miller said that prior to the meeting he had submitted a letter to the MN Attorney General indicating that the city’s decision was neither arbitrary nor capricious, and is consistent with what is done in similar circumstances.

In other business, the council:

- set its first meeting of the new year for Tuesday, Jan.12.

- passed an amended ordinance establishing the minimum age for the purchase of cigarettes and tobacco products in the city to 21 to be consistent with state law. The vote took place following a public hearing at which no members of the public appeared.

- unanimously agreed to issue an interim use permit to Matt Ariola for a home occupation to operate a plumbing business at 8994 Viking Blvd. A neighbor expressed no concerns about the proposed business at a Dec. 3 planning commission hearing.

- at the request of Craig Lindstrom, treasurer of the Chisago City Fire Relief Association, voted to increase the pension for volunteer firefighters in the Chisago City Fire Department from $4,600 for each year of service to $5,200.

 The only payment firefighters’ receive is through the pension paid when they retire. Lindstrom Treasurer reported that the pension investment revenue is adequate to cover the increase and that the pension helps the department recruit and retain members.

- accepted a letter of impending retirement from Public Works employee Kenny Lindstrom, who plans to retire on or before July 15. City Administrator John Pechman said they hope to bring on a new public works employee before Lindstrom leaves to benefit from his training and experience. The council said they appreciated receiving the advance notice.

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