Marina lease approved

Other split votes result from busy council agenda


Clint Riese
News Editor

The City Council on Monday approved a lease agreement with Your Boat Club, LLC, bringing a marina one step closer to the shores of Lakeside Memorial Park.

The measure passed on a 3-2 vote, with support coming from Mayor Chris Johnson and council members Jim Dufour and Susan Young.

The action came on the heels of the agreement winning unanimous approval from Park Board. Now, all that stands in the way of a 24-slip facility on Forest Lake is a conditional use permit. That process requires a public forum and approval by the Planning Commission and City Council.

The lease noted the possibility of the marina eventually expanding to 50 slips, but City Attorney Dave Hebert noted that would require a host of new obstacles, including an environmental impact worksheet required by the Department of Natural Resources.

If approved, the Minneapolis-based boat club business would install the facility at its own expense and be entitled to a maximum of 12 slips for its own use. The other half would be leased to the general public.

The marina would be staffed from May 15 to Oct. 1 and the dock and all equipment would be stored by the boat club before Nov. 15.

Your Boat Club would pay $10,000 rent in 2013, and 11 percent of its gross slip rental in subsequent years.

Council members Mike Freer and Jackie McNamara voted against the lease. Freer took issue with its 10-year length, while McNamara felt the council should be the lessor rather than the Park Board.

Dispatch Debate Ends

The long-chronicled animal dispatch policy proposal went in the books Monday, though not into the city code. The council voted 3-2 to accept the recommendation of a task force that this summer concluded it is not in the city’s best interest to create a policy governing police response to situations where animal dispatches may occur on private property.

Forest Lake resident Jeff Carpenter had asked the council for such a policy after two deer were killed in his yard in January.

As in the marina agenda item, Dufour, Young and Mayor Johnson carried the vote.

Each council member, at the group’s Nov. 15 workshop, appeared resigned that no policy would be approved. There was discussion of having Hebert present a draft of a potential agreement at this week’s regular council meeting.

Hebert on Monday said he did not sense consensus from the council at the workshop, and thus did not prepare a policy in any form.

“It wasn’t clear to me at that meeting whether the consensus of the council actually requested that we bring forth a policy at this time, and the minutes of the meeting seem to confirm that there wasn’t a consensus of the majority of the council to bring forth a policy,” Hebert said.

The council members on Monday did have a copy of a policy that Police Chief Rick Peterson prepared for the committee meeting in July, but Freer said that is not what the council requested two weeks ago.

“There’s not a policy that has been recommended and that’s what we asked for,” Freer said. “I think we have to learn to compromise. That doesn’t mean it was going to pass [or even come to a vote.]”

Other Business

In other business, the council:

• Voted 3-2 to lay off building inspector Dan Grinsteinner effective Dec. 31 and appoint current building official Keith Wille to a reconstituted position of the same title as of that same date. The cost-cutting move is part of a reorganization of the building and community development departments.

• Voted 5-0 to approve an agreement for professional services with Bolton & Menk, Inc., an engineering firm out of Maplewood. The move ends the local agreement with Stantec (formerly Bonestroo), which dates back decades to services provided for Forest Lake Township.

• Voted 5-0 to accept a refund of $1,359,101 from the Metropolitan Council. Forest Lake and Hugo were overcharged for wastewater processing for many years due to a faulty meter. The refund will go towards the city’s sewer and water utility fund. Funds will be used for sewer line repairs that are expected to reduce inflow and infiltration, ultimately preventing a hike in utility fees for residents.