CROSSLAKE -- Crosslake council members voted to reduce the number of members needed to vote in favor of a zoning ordinance amendment before realizing a public hearing was needed.
Thursday the council met in a special session and voted to reduced the number of members needed to vote for an ordinance change from a four-fifths majority to a simple majority -- or three council members -- in most cases. The motion passed 3-2 with Mayor Jay Andolshek and council member Dean Swanson opposed.
Ken Anderson, community development director, pointed out a change to this part of the city's code requires a public hearing. Council members then debated whether the council should rescind the motion now that they knew a public hearing was required. Council member Dean Eggena said rescinding the motion wouldn't change anything. Swanson agreed but said it was not the way to operate.
Council member Terry Curtis asked if members were starting to wonder what the city attorney is paid to do.
"You guys are wasting my time," Curtis said, asking how the council got that far in the discussion and vote if a public hearing was needed from the beginning.
A public hearing was set June 24.
In May, a 3-2 vote in favor of an amendment regarding metal-sided structures was determined to have failed because it lacked a four-fifths majority. The city's attorney's office reviewed the issue and found the state, in 2001, had reduced the voting requirements for zoning ordinance amendments to a simple majority. But the city never changed its voting rules.
There are still circumstances where a four-fifths majority is required. For example, the state requires more than a simple majority when an adoption or amendment of zoning ordinances changes the zoning from residential to commercial or industrial, when a comprehensive plan is adopted or amended or when a hospital board or planning agency is abolished.
Swanson questioned whether the special meeting was needed to go over the voting change or other agenda items.
Council member Dick Phillips said he was in favor of the special meeting.
"We never seem to get anywhere," Phillips said. "I'd like to get something done -- period. I'm hoping this is one of the subjects we get resolved today so we can move on."
About 23 people attended the meeting.
In other business; the council:
Amended a previous motion to state all city council members and the mayor may have direct contact with all department heads in order to gather information.
Noted the city's moratorium on planned unit developments expires Dec. 31.
Phillips said people are upset with planned unit developments in the city and Cross Lake takes more than its fair share of traffic. Eggena said his vote is to have no more planned unit developments on the water. Although Eggena noted the city will have to deal with existing resorts and what is required of them.
The city's ordinance allows planned unit development with performance standards. Curtis said if the community wants to prohibit them on the water he could support that.
The city plans to review what Cass and Crow Wing counties and Baxter have done in regard to their reviews of planned unit developments. A draft is expected to the council by early fall with adoption by the council by year's end.
Received two versions of the city's comprehensive plan, one from 1996 and a draft plan from 2003, along with color maps. The council expects to meet at 4 p.m. June 30 at city hall to discuss the comp plan.
Copies of the plans are available for public review by checking them out at city hall or for purchase.
RENEE RICHARDSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.
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