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Motion signs ordinance 'fair compromise,' would allow most of what's already in town

Motion signs are going to be allowed in Detroit Lakes, and although existing signs are grandfathered in, most of them would have been legal under the ordinance anyway.

After over a year of meetings, the sign committee recommendations were voted on at the Detroit Lakes City Council meeting. A second reading will be held at the next council meeting, June 10.

Restrictions include signs with graphics and words being allowed in a residential section -- which would include, for instance, a church or school -- with the motion being static for six seconds at a time.

In the business district, signs must be static for three seconds.

Community Development Director Larry Remmen said generally all the motion signs already in Detroit Lakes would be allowed under the new ordinance except the flashing of the price shocker at Central Market. Because it is grandfathered in, the sign can continue its rate of flashing.

The Lodge on Lake Detroit's Scott Mehlhaff commended the sign committee for the work done on the ordinance. He said the first attempt was extremely restrictive, but this one is a "great compromise." There are still restrictions, but they're fair.

Mayor Larry Buboltz said he feels 95 percent of people involved are content with the final ordinance.

Also at the city council meeting, aldermen passed a motion concerning snow removal on public sidewalks.

A letter carrier said he feels people have a misperception that it's the city's job to remove the snow with Bobcat plows and therefore are not taking care of their sidewalks, causing injury and difficulty for letter carriers.

"They don't have to do anything with the front sidewalk because it's the city's job," he said is the misperception.

Public Works Director Brad Green said that the city cleans the public sidewalks, but it's still the taxpayers' responsibility to clean the area after the Bobcat if needed.

"It's an excellent service you provide, but if residents could just follow up," Postmaster Paul Collins said.

The new ordinance will be enforced on a complaint-driven basis.

"We're just not going to have cement sidewalks in the winter," City Administrator Bob Louiseau said of the sidewalks being cleaned to the concrete at all times. "Everyone understands we're in Minnesota and still going to have snow and ice (on the sidewalks)."

Also at the meeting, because of the Interstate 35 W bridge collapse, the city is requesting funds from the Minnesota Department of Transportation to replace the bridge over the Pelican River on Lori Avenue.

The bridge is safe, but aging, and funds are available to replace it.