Nisswa: Lake issues draw residents to city hall

A dock on Clark Lake and a rezoning request for property on Bay Lake elicit concerns

Many residents got up to leave the Tuesday, June 15, Nisswa City Council meeting after their agenda item regarding a dock on Clark Lake was pulled. Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal

Around 60 people filled the Nisswa City Council chambers Tuesday, June 15, but most left right away after learning their item of interest was pulled from the council’s agenda.

That item was a request from the developer of Pine Trail Homes, a housing development on Clark Lake, to remove a condition approved in 2006 for the Pine Trail Homes plat specifying that no dock be placed on the outlot leading to the lake.

The condition was broken as a dock was placed there, and the developer requested to remove the condition.

The Nisswa Planning and Zoning Commission recommended the council deny that request, saying the concern was that more aquatic vegetation clearing would take place and the dock would continue to be extended since there are only inches of water above the mucky lake bottom in its current location.

The Department of Natural Resources echoed that concern, according to information in the council packet.


Mayor John Ryan explained at the start of the meeting that this agenda item was being removed. City Attorney Tom Pearson helped explain there are questions about the 2006 plat so the matter was referred back to the planning and zoning commission to get more information.

Ryan said he appreciated the numerous correspondence the council received, but said the procedural items must be taken care of before the council can take any action.

“It’s not being forgotten or pushed under the table,” Ryan said.

The council received many letters, including from the Clark Lake Conservation Association board of directors and CLCA members, opposed to the request to allow the dock.

“We’ll be back,” a spokesperson for the group said as they left.

About 18 people stayed for another planning and zoning matter, this time a rezoning application for Ray Lake Townhomes on Bass Lake. The application was to rezone a 17.2-acre parcel from open space residential to shoreland residential, which the council denied.

The planning and zoning commission recommended this application be denied because of a request for increased density on the sketch plan.

Ryan again said he appreciated receiving a lot of letters from residents.


“City government can’t do its job if people aren’t telling us what they’re thinking - good or bad,” Ryan said.

After that vote, people left and there was just one person in the audience for the rest of the meeting.


Between the planning and zoning matters, Parks and Recreation Director Amber Moon Peterson shared a presentation about her department. She talked about recreation programs, parks and trails in the city, and the community center.

The Parks and Recreation Commission identified three areas for strategic planning in the next one to four years, Moon Peterson said, and they are:

  • Ice rink: chiller system, lighting, concrete and Zamboni.

  • Camp Lincoln Road nature trails: Design, construction of trails, bathroom.

  • Gull Lake Trail: Construction and preventative maintenance.

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at

Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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