PUBLIC ACCESS COMMITTEE
LAKE MOVIL PUBLIC ACCESS - Task committee meeting notes. Tuesday, August 27, 2019, 3:30 p.m. at the Northern Town Hall, 445 Town Hall Road NW, Bemidji, MN.
Northern Township Board Supervisor Jess Frenzel opened the meeting and asked that everyone look over the notes from the last meeting and let Mary know if there is anything that needs amending. Committee members in attendance were; Jamin Carlson from the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Office, Jerry Pickett who is a township resident, Lake Movil residents Bill Joyce and Muriel Gilman, Bemidji Fire Chief Dave Hoefer, Gary Barnard from DNR Fisheries, David Schotzko from DNR Trails and Waterways, Mark Fuller from Freeberg & Grund Engineering, and Jess Frenzel and Mike Kelly representatives from the Northern Township Board. Brent Mason - DNR Hydrologist, Ernie Beitel - Beltrami County Sheriff, and Fulton Gallagher -Turtle Lake Township Supervisor, were the three (3) committee members not present at the previous meeting. Lake Movil resident Lee Warne, was not present. There were several guests also in attendance.
Brent Mason, DNR Hydrologist, had been out and observed the site. From the shoreline out, there is about 66 feet of wild rice growing, at that point the water was about 1.7 feet deep with about .6 to 1 feet of muck on the bottom and he is guessing there is a clay bottom underneath. When he got to about 170 feet from shore the water was about 3 feet deep and again about .5 to 1 feet of muck. He explained that there would be no permit required for work 36 feet wide out 30 feet from the shoreline, and anything after that point a DNR work permit would be required. When asked if he thought that this site might work as a public access, he indicated that it was not "a-typical" of the sites he has seen developed, since many of them are the lesser than desirable parcels on a lake. It appears that the smaller watercraft would use this site since many of the larger boats like to "power load" and that probably wouldn't be done here. Propellers usually create an access path out to the lake and the bottom does firms up. The lake will adjust to a new normal. When asked his opinion on dredging, he believes that a lot of times the area fills in again and has to be re-dredged. He also indicated that the wetland impact should be reduced on the property and there would have to be mitigation done if there are impacts, but there is a process for it.
Ernie Bietel, the Beltrami County Sheriff, re-iterated that there is no public access to use by his department for emergency needs on the lake. Currently, they would use a smaller boat and they would need to get permission to use a private access, which isn't great when time is so important. Their desire would be to have an access that could accommodate a big boat, with their boats ranging from 17' to 22' for recovery purposes. To address the concern regarding possible parking along Lake Movil Road, it would be the Township's authority to enforce any parking restrictions. There must be a 20 foot unobstructed path through a public roadway for emergency purposes, so they could step in if there was that sort of obstruction. Northern Township does have a parking ordinance that could be used in this area, and it would be up to the Township to enforce. He also noted that there are no records of enforcements on Lake Movil due to there not being an access, and they do try to touch a lake at least once during a season.
Fulton Gallagher, the representative from the Turtle Lake Township Board, stated that their Board has no position on this matter. Much of the lake lies in Turtle Lake Township and they will provide input when it is needed. He noted that there is one access on Lake Beltrami, and most of the time there is little use on it.
Lake Movil is about 900 acres, with a small lake considered to be about 150 acres, and Lake Bemidji being about 6,000 acres, for comparison.
Mike Kelly commented that after now receiving input from many entities and individuals, there is nothing that says "no, it won't work". He believes it is time to start looking at possible option for a layout of the property.
Bill Joyce stated that the Town Board received a petition with over 40 signatures on it asking the Board to reconsider constructing it and to abandon the idea. He believes that the more it looks natural, the better it would be accepted. He suggested being careful with structures in the lake, and to consider barriers on the sides of the property, to have grassy areas, and to keep as many trees as possible. This would help many of the residents accept it better. The plan is to conduct an open house event once a design is ready.
Muriel Gilman suggested that the shoreline 'best practices' guidelines be used as much as possible, believing that the main concern is the wetland area on the lot. She asks that the design be as close to what a resident is allowed to do with their shoreline property.
Jess Frenzel stated that the only way to determine what will be allowed is by submitting a plan. It's time to move forward, but to be respectful to all the input. His vision is to maximize the use for emergency and public uses, and at the very least is a turn-around, along with parking for at least two (2) vehicles.
Mark Fuller has some ideas for other options by incorporating more green space and fewer parking stalls, but will not be drawing up multiple options due to costs. The width of the turn-around needs to be 86-90 feet wide due to emergency vehicle use, and does not believe that gravel surfaces are feasible.
Jerry Picket believes that a lot of the concerns are "worst case scenarios" and for the most part, the use will be minimal most of the time.
Dave Schotzko suggested that consideration be given to fencing, toilets, dock, etc., because that is what people will be concerned with.
Kelly and Frenzel believe it is time for the discussion to go back to the Town Board regarding where to go with coming up with design options. No next meeting date was set for this group.