BAXTER -- Baxter Council members discussed amending the city's hunting zone map to allow more bow hunting of the urban deer population, but are holding a decision until they get public comments.
The DNR recommended the city expand hunting zones and noted car-deer collisions in the area, specifically along Highway 48 west of Highway 371 and the Highway 371 corridor.
Landowners would still have the ability to allow or deny hunting on private property. The city has a proposed map at city hall and one on the city's Web site, www.ci.baxter.mn.us.
Baxter council members also approved sending a letter to the Crow Wing County Board highlighting the city's objections to high growth as designated by the joint county Highway 371 Corridor plan. The city was specifically concerned about a Growth Management Area designation south of the Highway 371 bypass bridge. The Growth Management Area designation indicates a spot that is encouraged for growth.
In the letter to be sent to the county board, Baxter City Planner Todd Holman Holman stated the city disagrees with the Growth Management Area that denotes a desired development location for land south of the Mississippi River to the Barrows interchange. Baxter also disagrees with the secondary Growth Management Area designation south of the river and east and west of Highway 371.
Currently the Crow Wing County land use plan shows most of the area zoned agricultural, green space, public for the state park, and limited rural residential. Holman said growth should not be encouraged there as there are no municipal services. And Holman said the public sentiment has been to keep the northwoods look on the corridor entrance to Baxter and the lakes area without a commercial look.
Holman noted the city is in favor of expanding the boundaries of Crow Wing State Park and supports the Great River Road designation for the scenic by-pay. At the Tuesday meeting Holman said cities, the county and Crow Wing Township have all expressed interest in restricting billboards in the area.
"It's amazing with so many units (of government) against it, it just keeps getting pushed forward," Council member Barb Wells said of high growth in the area.
About eight people attended the meeting. Several came to hear a discussion on Inglewood Drive and Clearwater Road projects. But the meeting was earlier postponed until the Sept. 17 council meeting. The issue will be discussed at a council workshop session at 5 p.m. Sept. 11 at city hall.
In other business, Baxter council members:
Met as the Economic Development Authority before the regular council meeting and approved spending $2,500 for a Potlatch study contingent upon the community strategy team collecting its goal of $50,000.
Sent a plan to the Planning and Zoning Commission to have it look at amending the city's sign ordinance to allow a temporary signs for 501 (c)(3) non-profit organizations, such as the Jaycee's Fishing Extravaganza, with no fees. The city has a $26 flat fee rate per sign.
Tabled the subdivision ordinance until the next council meeting. Council members were generally in favor of the 100-year storm water plan requirement for all plats.
Approved a decision that an Environmental Impact Statement was not required for the new Baxter Middle School development following staff recommendations and some agency reports gathered during the 30-day Environmental Assessment Worksheet review process. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the DNR did not review the EAW.
The area has a known concentration of protected Blandings turtles. City Planner Todd Holman reported strict adherence to construction guidelines could mitigate the negative effects to the turtles. Wetland buffers greater than 33 feet are to be maintained throughout the site. Areas identified as primary Blandings turtle habitat, wetlands and their fringe areas, have been avoided in the development plan.
Requested more information on city use of services after receiving a proposed Heartland Animal Rescue Team fee increase to the city's contract agreement. Fees for impounded animals are now $7 a day with a 50 cent charge per capita in Baxter. Under the proposal the impound fee would increase to $10 per day and $1.50 per the city's population of 5,555 for $8,332.
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