ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Brainerd City Council: Stops put on right-of-way signs

The Brainerd City Council Tuesday decided to put a plug in its discussions on signs placed in the right of way and to simply enforce the existing ordinance.

1887043+0723_streetcorner_signs.jpg
City Attorney Eric Quiring said the existing ordinance is constitutional, as it dictates no right-of-way signs. Brainerd Dispatch file photo.

The Brainerd City Council Tuesday decided to put a plug in its discussions on signs placed in the right of way and to simply enforce the existing ordinance.

Council member Kelly Bevans said the existing ordinance is "functional," and while it's not eliminating signs in the right of way, "it's also very simple and clearly this issue is anything but simple."

Putting the issue aside for the time being allows the Safety and Public Works Committee to focus on more pressing issues, Bevans said.

Council member Mary Koep asked if setting the issue aside meant a moratorium on enforcement as the council comes up with a revised version of the ordinance. Bevans responded there will be no changes in the ordinance or its enforcement.

Koep said it was her understanding the existing ordinance is illegal, as it differentiates between garage sale and open house signs. The U.S. Supreme Court in June in the case Reed vs. the town of Gilbert, Ariz., ruled a right-of-way sign ordinance cannot regulate the content of a sign.

ADVERTISEMENT

"We can't control the content of the sign," Koep said. "We have to treat them all the same."

City Planner Mark Ostgarden said Koep was correct and "the ordinance says no signs in the right-of-way and we will enforce that to the best of our abilities."

City Attorney Eric Quiring said the existing ordinance is constitutional, as it dictates no right-of-way signs.

Council President Gary Scheeler said real estate agents are taught to only put a sign on the property they're selling, "so I don't think one Realtor is ever going to jump up and say, 'Hey.'"

Council member Gabe Johnson questioned how the city would go about enforcing the ordinance, "because we obviously can't take every single sign out of the right of way."

Scheeler recommended removing signs on a "complaint basis," which Johnson said he liked, "as long as we don't have an employee just walking around looking for signs."

At the tail end of discussing the issue, Ostgarden told the council he'd like to see the issue put to bed and, "from the planning department perspective, please, let's not go any further with this."

In other business, the council:

ADVERTISEMENT

Approved a bid from Minneapolis-based Preservation Design Works LLC in the amount of $10,000 to develop a historic structure report for the city's historic water tower and roof.

Developing a report is the first step toward determining if the city needs to do more work on the water tower, Bevans said.

"Without this, there's no way that this particular structure is ever going to qualify for historic status and the potential for grants," Bevans said.

City staff sent out for proposals for a historic structure report to four qualified firms, two of which responded with proposals. The other responding firm, Chris Hartnett and Associates, presented a proposal of $16,325.

Approved a bid from Hy-Tec Construction in the amount of $9,960 to repair the roof of the Gregory Park warming house, following damage caused by the July 12 supercell thunderstorm.

The repairs will be more extensive than simply replacing shingles, and will also include replacing the roofing with oriented strand board, insulating the ceiling, installing felt and a drip cap to meet code, replacing the soffit and fascia because of previous water damage to the roof and replacing two pieces of gutter over each entrance/exit doors.

The council had at its Aug. 3 meeting approved spending between $9,500-10,000 to make some structural repairs to the building's roof, in addition to new shingles.

Learned City Administrator Jim Thoreen would be contacting the Little Falls-based Contegrity Group about developing a comprehensive evaluation of city buildings and properties to figure out an action plan for the most pressing needs. Bevans said Thoreen had been trying to find a Brainerd-based company that could do the job, but had been unsuccessful.

ADVERTISEMENT

Thoreen's report to the council said he had previous experience with Contegrity when he worked in administration with two other Minnesota counties and "found their services superb."

SPENSER BICKETT may be reached at 218-855-5859 or spenser.bickett@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/spenserbickett .

Related Topics: GREGORY PARK
What To Read Next
Who are the people being held in custody in Aitkin, Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Todd, and Wadena counties?
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.
Inmates in-custody in the Mille Lacs County jail in Milaca, Minnesota
Inmates in-custody in the Hubbard County jail in Park Rapids, Minnesota