From building code to bow fishing, city and county officials discuss wide range of issues in joint meeting – Alexandria Echo Press

DOUGLAS COUNTY — Among the dozen topics discussed between the Douglas County Board of Commissioners and Alexandria City Council at a joint meeting on Tuesday, May 3, included the city’s two-mile radius rule, the archery within city limits, deer hunting within city limits, street projects, sales tax, and the Douglas County Library Long Range Plan.

Commissioner Charlie Meyer again expressed his dislike of the city’s two-mile radius rule.

Charlie Meyer

Landowners within the radius are under Douglas County “land use” or zoning control and are also within the city’s building code enforcement area. In this area, two permits are required – a county land use permit and a city building permit.

Meyer, who has repeatedly raised the issue in joint meetings between the two entities, said that to make life easier, the city should just “get rid of it.”

Douglas County Chairman Tim Kalina feels the same way, saying, “It’s ridiculous that we have it. I would like it removed. »

Alexandria Mayor Bobbie Osterberg said there was no duplication and if the county wanted to give up its land use permit, it could do so.

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Bobbie Osterberg

Marty Schultz, administrator for the city of Alexandria, said to clarify that the county needs a land use permit and that if residents build a house inside the city limits and its radius two miles, they needed planning permission.

“You need to have two permits to follow the rules,” Schultz said. “What the city is doing is enforcing the building code.”

Alexandria city planner Mike Weber said there were no double fees or double permits. One is a land use permit and the other is a building permit.

There was no consensus and no action was taken by either party on the matter.

City Council member Bill Franzen said council and council should meet more than once a year, and the two entities agreed to meet again in October.

Meyer said he promised not to bring up the two-mile radius at that meeting.

Commissioner Jerry Rapp raised the issue of having a deer hunt within the city limits to which the mayor replied, “We’re past that.”

The Alexandria City Council had been considering the idea of ​​having a citywide deer hunt for some time, but recently decided against it for safety reasons.

Rapp thinks there are too many deer and a hunt would solve the problem.

“It makes sense to clear them up,” he said, explaining how many he sees as he drives through town.

jerry rapp

jerry rapp

He said that with a little thought, a bow and arrow deer hunt could work. Rapp also said he also doesn’t understand why people can’t “bowfish” within the city limits.

Alexandria Police Chief Scott Kent told Rapp that the city did extensive research and was very thorough in making the decision not to hunt the deer. He also explained to Rapp that people can spearfish from a boat in open water, but bowfishing or spearfishing from shore is prohibited for safety reasons.

“All lakes are open for bow fishing within the city limits as long as you are in the water,” the chief said.

A roundabout on Nokomis, the 18th Avenue project and the extension of the road near the exhibition center were all topics of discussion.

Currently there are no roundabouts planned on Nokomis, but this is something that has been discussed. A corridor study by the Minnesota Department of Transportation indicated that the intersection of 3rd Avenue and Nokomis could be a possible location for a roundabout, but Schultz said that if it happened, it wouldn’t be. not before 2028 or 2029.

The city, he said, is considering Nokomis and that there have been talks of a possible “mini roundabout” at 6th, 10th or possibly 12th Avenues. Nothing has been decided at this point, Schultz said.

Alexandria City Engineer Tim Schoonhoven provided an update to commissioners on the 18th Avenue project, noting that work is expected to begin this summer.

Meyer expressed concern about the red light on 17th Avenue, saying, “I really hope the lights on 17th stay.”

Schoonhoven said that for now the lights will remain, but MnDOT will conduct a corridor study and review the traffic light system.

Sales tax for road projects

A question was asked about the county’s half-cent sales tax and Douglas County Director of Public Works Tim Erickson explained how it works.

The half-cent sales tax was approved in 2014 for a list of road improvement projects in the county. Once these projects are completed, the tax would be lifted, which Erickson says would be around 2030.

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Tim Ericson

However, he also noted that his intention is to update the list and bring it back to the Board of Commissioners, as he understands that it would take a public hearing and a resolution to add more projects and extend the tax from sale.

Erickson also clarified that the sales tax was not set for a certain period of time, but was to end when the projects were completed.

Franzen asked about the County Library’s long-term plans, and Library Board Chair Becky Albright provided a brief update. She noted, however, that she was on the next agenda of the city council and did not want to say too much now.

A library needs assessment has been completed and Albright said they are in the preliminary stages of reviewing the report, but one of the key takeaways is that the library’s space requirements are critical. and that the current location does not offer much. of expansion.

Franzen, along with some of the county commissioners, said they wanted to work together on the needs of the library, so Franzen pushed for a second meeting between the city and the county.

The meeting was set for 5 p.m. on Monday, October 24.

Earnest A. Martinez