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PierBridge

Public hearing on fishhouse ordinance

25 posts in this topic

Nothing like making life more difficult for resort owners, resort patrons and the average sportsmen and sportswomen. It seems to me that increased taxes and rules with continue to force more and more resorts to sell for associations or for private residences and bring an end to the few places that allow common folk, like myself and my family from having places to enjoy the great resources we have in Minnesota.

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That is absolutely absurd. Leave it to gvt. to fix problems that aren't really problems, and don't really need fixing.

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this is incredible (in a bad way)! one of the reasons i want to move to mille lacs is to get away from all that!

regards,

minnesotatuff

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Over the summer a bunch of us had to write letters to the county because they were trying to put a huge ban on the fish houses at hunters point. I guess someday we will all be pulling out our big houses with our own vehicle from the public access, with no plowed roads. mad.gif

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It's all about the all mighty dollar. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. I like we should all just move to canada longer icefishing season any ways

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With all of us sports people who frequent this site, there must be something we can do to help. A petition or something?

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Thats just stupid . You can't fix stupid.

This is whats it's all about. Sad

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Just look et the current landscape of the Mille Lacs now. It use to be your ma and pa resorts, and shops, with good hard working blue collar people living in the small towns around the big pond. As you can see in the last few years there are multi-million dollar homes popping up around Mille Lacs. The rich yuppies to not want to see us "dirty" sportsmen and women with our "DIRTY" shacks blocking THEIR lakeview. Its a sad stage but we all know where it is leading to. I am predicting that in about 10-15 years the only boats on the Mille Lacs will be cigar boats, that got on the lake from their yacht club. The public landings will be gone, because the yuppies do not want to pay the taxes to help maintain something that will let the "DIRTY" people into their lake. I don't even go to Mille Lacs that much but the could see this sad affair unfolding. Its happening everywhere, rich are richer, and poor are shuffled aside. Just follow the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$, because it is mighty strong.

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Well we obviously missed the public hearing by 2 days, as it was held on the 14th. Does anyone have a report/meeting minutes from the hearing?

My thoughts are that this is a proposal brought to the council from a few select people, and that the council knows the affect this would have on the local economy. I'll admit, I'm not a Mille Lacs regular, but had I known about this in advance, I would have gone to the public hearing. I go to these several times a month in several cities, and a strong public turnout is the best way to affect the decisions made by local "leaders". Most of these people are just regular "jo blows" without jobs/business experience/leadership experience, and are easily convinced by someone giving them a strong presentation.

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 Originally Posted By: Lip_Ripper Guy
Well we obviously missed the public hearing by 2 days, as it was held on the 14th. Does anyone have a report/meeting minutes from the hearing?

Here's the story from the Mille Lacs Messenger-

1/16/2008 10:05:00 AM

Planning commission agrees to listen to resorters

New panel will look at fishhouse rules

Mille Lacs resorters proved there is strength in numbers on Jan. 14, when they convinced the Mille Lacs County Planning Commission to table their proposed new fishhouse standards and convene a new panel.

And this time, those most affected will be invited to participate.

The commissioners' room at the county courthouse was full, and most were present to state their opposition to the proposed standards.

Zoning administrator Michele McPherson started the discussion on a lighthearted note, asking, "Can I run away?"

Planning commission chairman John Roxbury said, "Just remember they can kill us, but they can't eat us, because it's against the Geneva Convention."

McPherson summarized the process and the proposed standards, which include stricter requirements for setbacks, driveways, parking, toilets and screening.

McPherson said the new rules would not apply to existing fishhouse parks, but if an existing permit was revoked because of a violation, the owner would need to reapply and meet the new standards.

McPherson also summarized letters, emails and faxes she had received on the topic, including a sarcastic fax from Vernon Peterson saying the county should hire a "gestapo police force" to enforce the new rules.

Bait shop owner and Eastside Township supervisor Steve Johnson spoke first after Roxbury opened the public hearing. Johnson asked the commission to put together a group that would include people in the ice fishing business, along with township board members, a county commissioner, two planning commission members, and the county zoning administrator.

Shades of tension were evident from the beginning, when planning commission member Dennis Nelson and chairman John Roxbury asked Johnson what the problem was with the proposed standards. Nelson said, "I hate to get nasty, but I think you're wasting your time if you don't tell us what the problem is."

Roxbury had limited each person to three minutes, prompting Johnson to gesture behind him at the crowd and say, "There's a lot of heated discussion coming in behind me, and three minutes isn't gonna do it."

"What's the problem?" Roxbury asked.

"If you gave me more than three minutes, I'd go through every one of them," Johnson replied.

Johnson turned the question back on Roxbury, asking what the problem was that prompted the commission to create the new standards.

Others who spoke were former resort owner Joe Karpen, Isle City Council Member Lowell Hillbrand, and current resorters Terry McQuoid, George Nitti, Kevin McQuoid, Karen McQuoid and Brad Johnson.

Renee Miller was the only one in favor of the proposed standards. She said fishhouse parks are "out of control," with dangerous fires, unrestrained dogs and public urination.

At the end of the meeting, planning commission member Bob Hoefert said he wanted to set up the committee Johnson and others had called for.

County Commissioner Dave Tellinghuisen agreed that a new group was in order, but he said they would need to balance the needs of the resort community with the interests of home owners. "You gotta find a way to be good neighbors," Tellinghuisen said. "We have to look out for the entire coounty."

McPherson said she would put together a panel including two resorters, two planning commission members, a county commissioner, and township supervisors. She said County Commissioner Frank Courteau had agreed to participate.

Roxbury said the meetings would be open to the public.

For more on this story, see the Jan. 23 issue of the Messenger. For video of Steve Johnson's testimony before the planning commission, follow this link:

http://www.millelacsmessenger.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=17661&TM=40120.61

Proposed fishhouse standards

Proposed Fish House Park Ordinance

Existing Definition:

Fish House - A portable structure, constructed and maintained for the purpose of providing shelter during ice fishing that must be placed on the ice at least once during the winter season.

Proposed Definition:

Fish House - A structure on skids or wheels with the purpose of providing shelter during ice fishing that displays a current annual DNR fish house license and is placed on the ice at least once during each winter season.

Dead Fish House Storage Requirements

1. A conditional use permit is required to store three (3) or more fish houses on any parcel.

2. Stored fish houses must meet the following setback requirements:

a. Outside of the right of way or road easement of any public road, but not less than twenty (20) feet from the edge of the traveled surface of any public road.

b. The underlying zoning district's structure setbacks to the side and rear lot lines.

c. Seventy-five (75) feet from the ordinary high water mark of all lakes.

d. Required structure setbacks for any river or tributary as identified on the Minnesota Public Waters Inventory

3. All fish houses must be accessible by emergency vehicles.

4. Stored fish houses must be screened from adjacent residential properties and the public road through the use of a five foot tall berm, fence, or landscaping or a combination thereof, provided the screening is opaque all year round.

5. The storage area must have restricted access.

6. No repair or maintenance on private fish houses may occur within the dead storage area. The property owner must provide a maintenance area outside the storage facility for this purpose.

7. The property owner must obtain and maintain an annual fish house park license.

Live-In Fish House Park Requirements

1. A conditional use permit is required to have a live-in fish house or operate a live-in fish house park of three (3) or more fish houses on any parcel.

2. The minimum gross land area of the fish house park is 2,000 square feet per house.

3. Live-in fish houses must meet the following setback requirements:

a. Outside of the right of way or road easement of any public road, but not less than twenty (20) feet from the edge of the traveled surface of any public road.

b. The underlying zoning district's structure setbacks to the side and rear lot lines.

c. Seventy-five (75) feet from the ordinary high water mark of all lakes.

d. Required structure setbacks for any river or tributary as identified on the Minnesota Public Waters Inventory

e. A minimum ten (10) feet must be maintained between fish houses.

4. Every live-in fish house must have vehicle access by a minimum twenty-four (24) foot drive aisle.

5. All live-in fish houses must be accessible by emergency vehicles

6. Every live-in fish house must have a 10 x 20 foot parking area; parking on the drive aisle is prohibited.

7. A supplemental parking area for additional vehicles or trailers shall be provided at a rate of one space for every two fish houses.

8. The Planning Commission shall evaluate the layout of the live-in fish house park in relation to adjacent residential properties, existing vegetation, and topography to determine if screening will be required. The Commission shall include in their evaluation the public testimony received at the public hearing. Screening may consist of an earthen berm, landscaping with evergreen trees, fencing, or a combination of thereof.

9. The fish house park shall provide permanent toilet, bathing, and laundry facilities in in the following amounts:

a. 1-15 sites: Toilets: 2 Urinals: 1 Sinks: 2 Showers: 2

b. 16-30 sites: Toilets: 4 Urinals: 1 Sinks: 4 Showers: 2

c. 31-45 sites: Toilets: 6 Urinals: 2 Sinks: 6 Showers: 4

d. 46-60 sites: Toilets: 6 Urinals: 2 Sinks: 6 Showers: 6

e. 61-80 sites: Toilets: 8 Urinals: 3 Sinks: 8 Showers: 8

f. 81-100 sites: Toilets: 8 Urinals: 3 Sinks: 8 Showers: 10

For every 20 additional sites or fraction thereof, facilities shall be added as above.

In addition, contracted portable toilets shall be provided at a rate in order to have a toilet within one hundred (100) feet of every fish house.

10. The applicant for a conditional use permit, when the application is for property in the shoreland district, shall provide a site plan demonstrating that the houses, sanitary facilities, and drive aisle/parking areas, do not exceed 25% impervious surface coverage.

Fish House Park License Requirements

Failure of any fish house park operator to comply with the following standards shall result in the revocation of the operator's license and conditional use permit.

1. An annual license is required for each parcel where three (3) or more dead or live-in fish houses are located. A license is required for each parcel and each live-in fish house.

2. The application for licensure shall include a site plan of each live-in fish house. Each fish house shall be identified by a unique number. The applicant shall provide a list of each unique fish house number and owner last name for both dead storage and live-in fish houses.

3. The parcel license fee shall be as follows:

a. 1-25 houses $100

b. 26-50 houses $200

c. 50-100 houses $400

d. Over 100 houses $500

4. The owner shall ensure that the houses are placed on the ice at least once each winter season. The County will spot-check the parcel periodically during the winter season to ensure compliance with this provision.

5. Individual fish houses within live-in fish house parks shall also be licensed by the County once every four years. In order to receive an individual County Fish House License, each fish house must have the following:

a. Fire extinguisher

b. Carbon monoxide detector

c. Internal chemical or composting toilet

d. Verification that the heating apparatus is properly exhausted to the exterior

e. Verification that all wiring is compliant with the National Electric Code and that all outlets have appropriate covers.

The County Board shall set the fee for individual fish house licenses by resolution.

The fish house park operator shall inspect each live-in fish house for the above items and provide a report to the Zoning Office of the inspection results when it is time to license the individual fish houses. The County, in issuing the parcel license, shall provide to the fish house park operator the appropriate number of individual licenses to be affixed to the fish houses.

This condition shall become effective January 1 three years from the date of the adoption of this provision in order to allow adequate time for fish house owners to update their houses.

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This is pretty typical. The budget gets tight, and instead of looking for ways to cut costs, their initial reaction is to look for a new way to raise taxes and/or fees. What these goofballs are ignorant to is that any fee they assess on the resorts is passed on to the general public. If the fees get too high, the general public will move somewhere else. If the public moves away, so do the sales taxes, income taxes, property taxes, liquor taxes, tobacco taxes, etc. It has happened every time in the past, and will happen every time in the future.

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I really think these proposed regs are sick as the Mille Lacs "fish house culture" is one of the neatest things I have ever seen. Its Minnesota, its Ice Fishing, its Lake Mille Lacs, its tradition!

In light of many of the recent Mille Lacs issues, I can't believe the county would be proposing regulations that are going to impact (for the worse) the number of REPEAT users of the lake. People with these shacks patronize resorts year round, they are valuable repeat customers to the area. Folks who come up for the hot bite are just that, folks who come up for the hot bite. Fish house folks, however, are regular customers.

It just leaves me scratching my head. If homeowners think iceshacks on shore are an eye sore in the summer, what about your docks and boat lifts in the winter which are stored on your property and not screened from the right of way.

This is just another fight that is going to hurt the fishing industry in the area. I sure hope common sense prevails.

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Chris made an interesting point about the "fish house culture". I guide on the lake and live in a fish house all season. I have clients come from all accross the country and marvel at the fishing community that is Mille Lacs. The fish houses are part of that. Hard water or soft.When I describe the lake and area to potential clients , I say it's a FISHING lake. The culture around the lake is based on fishing. Sure,there are a ton of other activities available, but the vast majority of people come here to fish.Mille Lacs is unlike anywhere else in the world, why would they want to ruin that? I've come to call the East Side "home" the last couple years.A fishing community, unique and full of tradition.When is the next public forum? Steve

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I disagree that the county is proposing these regulations just for the money. While I do think they are going overboard with all the proposed regulations (keep in mind this is just a proposition, it hasn't been put into effect) I don't think they are just doing this for the money the county will collect in fees. $500 per resort is not going to do much to the multi-million dollar budget the county currently has.

The county has a problem with loose dogs, public urunation, and houses starting on fire and they have to address the problem.

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Am I understanding this correctly -- the people complaining about the appearance of the fish house lots are the neighbors? If that is the case, did they not realize they were purchasing a piece of property next to the resort or business? And, that resorts/businesses not only operate in the summer but also the winter? Not to mention that over the past 20 years the exterior appearances of fish houses has multiplied exponentially. There used to be some not-so attractive fish houses sitting around, but very few 'shacks' exsist anymore. I cannot wait until the day that my biggest concern in life is the appearance of a local business trying to make an honest living!

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 Originally Posted By: Deadwood
I cannot wait until the day that my biggest concern in life is the appearance of a local business trying to make an honest living!

Great line Deadwood. Couldn't have said it better.

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The County will spot-check the parcel periodically during the winter season to ensure compliance with this provision.

Where do I go to apply for this job ???????

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they are going to far!!!!!!

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Get a rope.......

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I remember hearing discussions about this years ago, because people were T'ed off that the fish houses made money and then were rented out in the summer as cabins making even more money without paying taxes

But honestly, how many of those places are used as cabins in reality? I knew a couple buddies that lived in them when they worked resort or DNR creel jobs, and that was about it. Occasionally a fish house owner might come up for a weekend and stay in his fish house.

I hope this thing gets squashed. There ought to be enough sense in that council to get that things rejected considering how important fishing and tourism is to Mille Lacs county

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It's the summer rental thing I think they are trying to address here. They should stay out of the winter on the ice rules, thats DNR anyway. But I'm against people putting 100 fish houses on their lakeshore without regards to setbacks, emergency access, or restrooms and then rent them out. That sounds really bad for the lake uncontrolled human waste, uncontrolled fires, and someone living 4 feet from the lake.

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 Originally Posted By: da_chise31

But honestly, how many of those places are used as cabins in reality? I knew a couple buddies that lived in them when they worked resort or DNR creel jobs, and that was about it. Occasionally a fish house owner might come up for a weekend and stay in his fish house.

I'm guessing you don't spend a lot of time on Mille Lacs grin.gif

We have a shack at Macs and use it weekly. If I am not there, my brother is there and if we are not there my dad is there and sometimes we are all there.

We have a family cabin that never gets used anymore because I would rather spend my time on Mille Lacs.

The same goes for most of the shacks up at Macs. There is always people around and they do get used, some obviously more than others but for the most part they stay busy.

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I forgot to add one thing.

I'm thinking that a lot of this come from complaints from cabin owners near these resorts that do have high fish house traffic in the summer. I have heard the neighbors complain more than once! Not directly at me but the whole area in general. But then again they are the ones who chose to buy a cabin there.

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Although I wouldn't be a big fan of it, I can understand the rationale for imposing such ordinances. Here's how I read the proposal:

A.) If you are going to offer fish house storage during the summer, you need to restrict it to just that; storage only.

B.) If you want to allow fish house owners to access their houses during the summer, then you need to abide by the same rules, regulations, and ordinances that other seasonal resorts are subject to.

C.) If you are a fish house owner and you are going to use it as a seasonal dwelling, you need to abide by the same codes, regulations, etc that other seasonal dwelling owners are subject to.

Thoughts?

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