Fergus Falls Code Enforcement Officer April Zumach’s thorough presentation to the Fergus Falls Committee of the Whole Wednesday drew a recommendation for a City Council work session.
Zumach bombarded the committee with visual evidence of infractions of the city’s ordinance regarding the storage of campers, boats, semi-trucks, food truck/trailer and RV units.
Two key points brought out in the presentation was that one section of the ordinance allows for one camper to be parked on a property in the rear of a dwelling, another section requires RV’s to be parked at the rear of the property and a third allows only two trailers, which includes enclosed boat and utility trailers.
The committee saw one picture where a Fergus Falls resident had parked a boat and trailer on a city sidewalk.
There were also pictures of people parking vehicles on lawns instead of in driveways.
It was pointed out that there have been people living in campers in residential areas of the city for extended periods.
Mayor Ben Schierer asked about the relationship between the camper dwellers and the homeowners.
Zumach said it varied.
“Sometimes it is a friend of somebody who has parked there and they have plugged into outside utilities,” she said.
Zumach added that other times, the campers are occupied by people who have been evicted from a permanent residence. While they are only supposed to be living there a week or two, it has occasionally turned into 4-5 weeks.
Appearing to be a bit overcome, Councilman Anthony Hicks finally asked Zumach what she was asking the council to do.
The answer in a nutshell – give me some direction.
“How strict does the council want me to be?” Zumach asked.
Councilman Justin Arneson said he believed there was “a lot to review” and went on to propose a work session. Hicks added that he would like to see other city staff offer their input.
A time and date for the work session was not set Wednesday morning
In other business the board approved:
• A recommendation to re-engage USAquatics for a proposal to review and revise the aquatics park project.
• Authorizing Mickel Olson and the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) to levy a tax of .0185% of the estimated taxable market value.
• City Administrator Andrew Bremseth’s recommendation that the council contract with Sourcewell (formerly the National Joint Powers Alliance) to provide the city with planning services. Bremseth told the committee the decision could save the city approximately $54,000 in 2020.
• Accepting a donation of a 253-foot-long tract of land from Ward Uggerud on East Lincoln Avenue running beside Concord Street. The portion donated has been used as a parking lot and access road for apartments at 911 E. Lincoln Ave. and a home at 920 E. Lincoln Ave.
• A request by Bremseth to work with a developer interested in the memorial building on the Regional Treatment Center grounds.
Special meeting of
City Council held Monday
The Fergus Falls City Council held a special meeting at City Hall Monday to listen to rental property owners and renters interested in commenting on an amendment to rental registration.
Chapter 4.35 pertains to the city’s rental unit registration and inspection regulations.
According to one city staff member present at the meeting about six landlords attended the meeting and voiced their thoughts on an amendment. Written comments were also invited by those unable to attend.
The amendment is expected to be discussed by the council in the future.
The next meeting of the City Council is set for 5:30 p.m. Monday.