A motion to comply with the county’s Shoreland Management Ordinance by no longer allowing temporary decks, platforms or sheds in campsites at the Akeley City Campground passed unanimously at a special Akeley City Council meeting Wednesday night.
“All this happened because a complaint was filed,” City Clerk Kristi Kath told the council. “They (Hubbard County Environmental Services) came out and took pictures. They can’t have decks and they can’t have sheds either. No structures. If a deck is attached to their vehicle, they can’t say anything about that.”
Hubbard County Environmental Services Director Eric Buitenwerf is the one who contacted the city about the need to address the violations since the county administers the shoreland regulations on Akeley’s behalf.
The council approved placing a notice that decks, platforms or sheds will no longer be allowed on the city website as well as sending a letter to campers.
Before the decision was made, the council discussed the possibility of variances for these structures.
“We’re already a non-conforming campground,” Kath said. “In my opinion, being the person who sat through it (county board) the last time, this isn’t going to happen. We could do all of the paperwork and jump through the hoops, but the city would have to apply for a variance every year.”
Council member Dan Riggs said campers have to realize this is a unique situation because the city campground is within 100 feet of a lakeshore, something that is generally not allowed.
The suggestion was made that seasonals could put down rugs to place their lawn furniture on rather than the non-conforming decks that have been used.
The council also discussed other park business. They approved building up sites 19 and 20 and repairing a couple of docks. Two of the docks will be repaired with new ones received from the Department of Natural Resources.
Out of the 32 picnic tables, 10 need to be replaced. Green-treated, 8-foot tables were suggested. The council approved putting aside $2,000 for the purchase.
Building up dump stations is also needed since heavy rains washed out some of the gravel along and some fire rings need to be replaced.
Some work also needs to be done in the park bathroom, including new shower heads. Extra cleaning with bleach due to COVID has damaged some of the fixtures. The city will look into another type of disinfectant to use next year. They also need six new heavy duty shower curtains and a new light outside the brown building. The council approved having the bathroom floors repainted at a cost of $5,300. Work will be done prior to the park opening in the spring if weather conditions permit.
It was reported that campers complimented the park managers on keeping bathrooms so clean.
A customer reported being able to request a campsite on the website on the current day. This setting could be changed to make it easier for last-minute bookings. Parks commissioner Billy Krotzer will look into changing the online settings so same-day bookings are possible.
A new stainless steel counter with a double sink is needed in the fish house as the old one is reportedly in bad shape. Council member Dan Riggs suggested looking at online auctions for items from restaurants that are going out of business. He also suggested getting a custom cover for the city’s riding lawn mower.
Campground managers reported there has been an issue with not being able to mow in some seasonal spots because there is too much junk lying around. In the future, they will give those campers notice so they can move their stuff in time.
It was suggested the wood be moved to a more visible spot on pallets. A lean-to over the wood to help keep it dry was suggested, but it was pointed out that would not meet the shoreland ordinance.
The council also discussed putting up a new campground sign to direct people to the campground the right way. Currently, it was reported that Google Maps is directing people down Crow Wing Drive to the landing. A sign with an arrow and “campground ahead” was suggested.
In other business, the council approved Miller, McDonald as certified public accountants to do the city audit with a three-year contract for approximately $13,500 per year, after learning their previous auditor was no longer available. “Nevis had great things to say about them,” Kath said.