CROSSLAKE - Four years after Crosslake residents helped craft a comprehensive plan for the city, council members may finally be prepared to adopt it.
That was the message Tuesday morning as Crosslake City Council members met in a joint session with the city's planning and zoning commission. The two groups spent nearly three hours discussing land use issues. The planning commission presented a list of areas that need work and may affect how residents utilize their property.
The council unanimously approved a plan that should bring the 2003 draft comprehensive plan off the shelf, install a few updates and lead to its adoption. The existing comp plan was adopted in 1996.
In regard to problem areas, council member Terry Curtis said many of the issues appeared to be related to enforcement of existing rules. Peter Abler, planning and zoning commission chairman, said the previous council philosophy was not in favor of enforcing much of anything.
Mike Winkels, planning commission member, said the commission needed to know the council would back up decisions when variances were denied and that was previously lacking.
Council members said their philosophy was to have staff enforce existing regulations.
The 2003 comp plan languished as changing city councils never adopted it. The comp plan serves as a guide for city codes, future development plans and land use policies. Tuesday, the council agreed staff and the planning commission should make revisions to the 2003 comprehensive plan draft and then come back to the city council for approval.
Council member Dean Swanson said the contention for the last four years has been in the mapping.
Using his military background as a guide, Abler suggested a two-pronged approach to the comp plan. Phase one would make revisions to update the document. Phase two creates a timeline with measurable goals and expected completion dates to get things done - with near-term, mid-term and long-range goals. Abler described it as a plan "on how to cut this elephant up and eat it in bite-size chunks."
An example of a near-term priority is getting the city compliant with the American Disabilities Act for parking needs, Abler said.
Swanson said when the vision of the comp plan moves into action is where people get squeamish. The group also talked about being open to green, or environmentally friendly building techniques and how to encourage that kind of development.
Abler said the question is what kind of community Crosslake wants to be. "Are we ever going to have affordable housing?" he said.
The city code does not readily allow for construction of an apartment building. Another big issue is whether lots should be used to give off-lake housing subdivisions access to lakes and whether public lake access is readily available instead. Council member Steve Roe said the current city ordinance allows what is called a controlled access lot that gives lake access to people living in subdivisions that could be in the metro area.
Other priority issues included: billboard signs; the size and number of out-buildings; outdoor storage; manufactured homes; architectural standards; definitions for guest quarters, patios, decks; lighting standards; subdivisions; pre-existing lots; handicapped and commercial parking; and flood plain management among others.
RENEE RICHARDSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.
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