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New DL ordinance looks at salvage, location

What is salvage and where does it belong? That's the question Detroit Lakes city officials are trying to determine.

Aldermen approved the first reading of an ordinance amendment pertaining to salvage operations and where they should be located.

After a lengthy bout with TS Recreational, located along Highway 10, the council and planning commission decided to put a stricter, better worded, plan into place for future salvage issues.

The ordinance defines salvage as inoperable motor vehicles, construction and agriculture equipment, household appliances, etc. East Shore Drive resident Ardys Hanson suggested adding language to include vehicles and recreational vehicles -- items that came up in the TS Recreational issue.

She also said she'd like to see more language and guidelines added to the section on buffers. Currently, it reads that outside storage areas should be screened with a 6-foot high fence, and a planting buffer should be placed between the fence and the property line.

Buboltz said the Community Development Committee wasn't happy with the buffer section either, and restrictions will likely be added.

"We actually have gained nothing," Alderman Ron Zeman said of the ordinance, and amended the motion so that the ordinance would return to the planning commission for further work.

He said words in the salvage definition should include ones that pertain more to Detroit Lakes and lake country like marine engines, boats and lifts.

"I believe the planning commission took a good shot at this," Alderman -- and planning commission chair -- GL Tucker said.

He said if it's city council members that want different language, that group should rewrite the ordinance and not send it back to the planning commission where it has already been discussed at length.

Alderman Bruce Imholte said he had talked to his wife, Ginny, who also sits on the planning commission, and she had echoed Tucker, saying the council needs to come up with the language it wants since the planning commission has already rehashed the issue.

Zeman's amendment to the motion failed, and a first reading was given to the salvage ordinance. Next month, the community development committee will take a second look at the policy before it's given the second and final reading.

Street improvement plan

Council approved the street capital improvement plan, which outlines major street projects slated in the next five years.

"We've been fairly aggressive in the last few years as far as street projects," Gary Nansen said at a special Public Works meeting late last month.

While it was discussed if Tower Road would be worked on, the group decided it would be too costly at this point. It has been designated as a Minnesota State Aid street though.

If the Tower Road is redone, City Administrator Rich Grabow said, the "MSA account is seriously in trouble."

"I wouldn't say trouble. A deficit," City Finance Officer Lou Guzek said.

If the city took the money to do Tower Road, there wouldn't be any funds in the MSA fund for 10 years to do more projects.

"We're stringing ourselves out, in my opinion, too much," Grabow said, if all the MSA funds are used up.

Also with those funds, $80,000 is reserved for maintenance, and in using it up, the city would lose that and have to pay the principle. The council would also have to levy from the general fund to cover the maintenance costs in the future.

The schedule for the major street projects looks like this: Richwood Road utilities (not the road), Minnesota Avenue (street and utilities), Langford Street, Lincoln Avenue, Lyndale Avenue and Parkview Street in 2008; State Street, Front Street and Oakgrove Avenue in 2009; North Washington Avenue (utilities only) in 2010; no projects scheduled for 2011; North Industrial Park and Tower Road in 2012, and Long Lake Phase 3 would follow those, but no year has been decided yet.

"Go drive it (Langford Street). I guarantee it's one of the worst streets in the city," Imholte said.

The plan is just that, a plan. It will be reviewed and updated each year.

Northern annexation

Detroit Lakes is growing to the north once again.

The city council held a public hearing to annex 49.818 acres into the city. It is located in the Richwood Road and Tower Road area.

Developer Bob Bristlin requested the annexation, saying the property will be used as residential at this point. It is coming into the city zoned R-2, for one and two family housing.

Only one concern was raised, by Gary Huberty, who owns property nearly surrounded by the proposed annexed land.

"Since I'm in the middle, what's to keep the city from swallowing me up," he asked the council.

Mayor Larry Buboltz told Huberty it was his decision to come into the city or not.

"I can only speak for this council though," he said, adding that it's more on a voluntary basis and not by force.

When Buboltz was shown where Huberty lived, his tune changed slightly.

"To say it's never going to happen isn't (real) though either," he said.

Bristlin added, "It won't happen for us overnight either," assuring Huberty he won't be pressured for a few years at least.


-- Hoffman Construction has asked the city council for permission to work during nights on the Roosevelt Avenue underpass and Highway 59 bridge if need be, to get the projects done on time. The council approved.

-- Gov. Tim Pawlenty appointed Detroit Lakes Fire Chief Jeff Swanson to the Board of Firefighter Training and Education.

-- Council approved the appointment of Pat Lindquist to the Planning Commission, an open position due to the resignation of Steve Lund.

Public meetings

Several public hearings and meetings were set pertaining to street repairs.

-- Sept. 4 at 5 p.m. -- public informational meeting for sewer and water improvements to Phase 3 (east portion of lake) of Long Lake Annexation.

-- Sept. 11 at 5 p.m. -- a public informational meeting on the Capital Improvement Plan.

-- Oct. 9 at 5 p.m. -- public hearing for sewer and water improvements to Richwood Road, from Terry Street to Tower Road.