Fifty Lakes Council: AIS signs to stay
Web posted December 10, 2013
By Paul Boblett, Editor
The Fifty Lakes City Council reversed three decisions to not allow three Interim Use Permits for the Burma Shave-style Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) educational signs.
The appeal was brought forth by the Fifty Lakes Property Owners Association (FLPOA) after the Planning Commission recommended the permits not be continued at their regular meeting on Oct. 1, 2013.
The initial IUPs, approved a few years ago, allowed the signs to be placed high traffic areas to help educate the public about the continuing efforts to reduce the spread of AIS.
The applicants were three property owners who agreed to have the signs placed on their property. All three were asking for an extension of the permits for the signs located on CSAH 1 and CR 136.
According to the commission minutes from the Oct. 1 meeting, resident Ken Neihart and Jack Riodan spoke in favor of the signs and the favorable impact of educating the public. Neihart said that the signs are paid for, and that cost is nothing compared to the potential cost of dealing with contaminated lakes. He added that the signs involve the FLPOA, City of Fifty Lakes, and the Fifty Lakes Foundation, as the DNR awarded two grants toward supporting this method of educating the public.
Commission member Andy Levesque stated the survey taken by council with property owners in 2009 indicated the number one request was more education about invasive species.
Commissioner Don Reierson said having these signs for 3 years on CSAH 1, and, 2 years on CSAH 136 was enough, adding that they are no longer effective, they’re visually polluting and he can’t support them staying in the same locations.
Neihart told the commission in October that Mark Johnson of the FLPOA has spent hundreds of hours on this project and noted how many more hours will it take to get property owner permission to move the signs, then the labor. All eight members of the FLPOA board discussed moving the signs and they will not do this.
The Planning Commission denied all three IUPs, all failing by a 3-2 vote.
At the November 12 council meeting, All three P&Z decisions were overturned by a 3-1 vote. Voting no was Jay Weinmann, council member Greg Buchite was absent.
Mayor Ken Hersey closed the meeting to discuss a personnel issue as council discussed disciplinary action against city employee Jake Stern. When the meeting was reopened, council motioned to demote Stern to part time bartender, less than 32 hours a week, with the loss of health and dental benefits.
Council member Jan Schrupp stated the action was effective immediately.
In other council action:
• Approved a donation to the Initiative Foundation in the amount of $450.
• Arianne Sizenbach was hired as a part time permanent liquor employee.
• Approved the USPS to install a slab in the parking lot of City Hall for the installation of Post Office Boxes. the last day for the Fifty Lakes Post Office is January 17, 2014. The closure is deemed an emergency closing by the USPS.
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