City council reorganizes for the new year

By Jenna Baker


A new mayor led the first Ottertail City Council Meeting of 2021. 

Mayor Ron Grobeck took office at the start of the year, filling the position that was held by Myron Lueders for the previous 10 years. Grobeck opened the council meeting with a light-hearted joke before moving into the only public hearing of the night. 

Present for the public hearing was Brad Carr, owner of the lot in question and requestor of the variance. Carr currently owns a parcel of land that he would like to split into two to be sold and used as properties for storage sheds. 

Jake Huebsch of Sourcewell explained that if the lot was split to create the two parcels, it would result in more conforming lots. He also noted that, if the variance were to be approved, there would be numerous conditions put in place. One of the conditions would allow for only storage structures to be built on the parcels. These conditions also include no addition of water or septic to the property, no business or livable spaces allowed on the property and no commercial activity. 

Huebsch also noted that a conditional use permit would not be needed in order to build a storage structure before a primary dwelling as these lots would not be able to house a livable space. Lastly, Huebsch explained that, for consistency’s sake, the land would also need to be rezoned from agriculture to single-family.

After some discussion, the council approved both the variance to split the parcel in two as well as the rezone from agricultural to single-family. 

Also at the meeting, and as is done at the beginning of each year, the council appointed and approved council designations and committees as well as the master fee schedule for 2021. 

In other news

• Bob Schlieman of Apex Engineering was present to give a brief update on the Tyler Wohlers Trail Project. Schlieman noted that the wetland application is currently in the hands of Otter Tail County and the Army Corps of Engineers for evaluation and that further progress is on hold until the reviewal is complete. 

• The council approved a motion to purchase the remaining three lots of Happy Acres owned by Stephen Sweere for $2,250 per lot. Once the purchase agreement is complete, the city will be able to move forward with creating the final plat for the Big Housing Initiative. 

• The council approved to call for a public hearing at the February meeting regarding an Interim Use Permit (IUP) for 201 Lake Avenue South, the home of Little Otters Daycare. If approved, this would allow for commercial business to be held in a residentially zoned area and would also be easily renewable.