Photo by Tom Hintgen
Otter Tail County is revising its Shoreland Management Ordinance which will affect many lake property owners throughout the county.

Adoption of revised changes will be considered June 8

By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

Proposed revisions to the Otter Tail County Shoreland Management Ordinance were addressed during a public meeting of the county board of commissioners on Monday evening, May 10, at the Bigwood Event Center in Fergus Falls.

The county board heard several comments from the general public.

“Most of the changes are an attempt to bring the county’s shoreland regulations in line with Minnesota rules,” said Otter Tail County Land and Resource Director Chris LeClair. “Proposed revisions will ease some of those standards.”

The county commissioners will conduct a work session and address concerns of county residents at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 20, with the gathering available via livestream.

Adoption of the revised County Shoreland Management Ordinance will be considered at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, June 8, during a regular meeting of the five-person county board of commissioners at the County Government Services Center in Fergus Falls.

Vacation home rentals became a hot topic at the May 10 public meeting.

Other issues addressed by county residents to county board members included lake access changes, platting of lots down to 2.5 acres and other sections of the shoreland ordinance

“We at the county level want to use consistent terminology with state rules,” said LeClair in reference to the revisions of the County Shoreland Management Ordinance.

As for vacation home rentals, he emphasized that there can be no more than two dwellings on lake shore lots. Wastewater regulations, he said, are imperative on these lots.

“Guest cottages can be allowed, but with certain provisions,” LeClair said.

Here is a brief summary of some of the changes to the Otter Tail County Shoreland Management Ordinance:

1. Controlled Access lots will no longer be prohibited and will be allowed in accordance with Minnesota rules.

2. Guest cottages will no longer be prohibited and will be allowed per Minnesota rules.

3. Shore impact zone determination will be consistent with Minnesota rules and will be 50 percent of setback. This will only affect general development lakes.

4. Planned unit development dwelling unit increases will be consistent with Minnesota rules and will be allowed to add 6 units without a Conditional Use Permit.

5. Recommended is shore impact zone impervious at 15 percent of shore impact zone area. Impervious surfaces are hard areas such as driveways that don’t allow precipitation to infiltrate the ground, instead causing runoff.

6. The Water Oriented Accessory Structure (WOAS) setback to property line will be 10 feet in accordance with Minnesota rules. These refer to small structures near the lake that store life jackets, flotation devices and other items,

7. Bluff determination should be consistent with Minnesota rules.

8. Minimum earth moving requiring a permit from the county will be changed from 20 yards to 50 yards, in accordance with Minnesota rules.

9. Dwelling unit setback at a planned unit development will be changed from 50 feet to 10 feet, in accordance with Minnesota rules.

10. Duplex, Triplex and Quad will be changed from a permitted use to a conditional use in accordance with Minnesota rules.

11. Platting will be changed from lots under 5 acres requiring platting to Minnesota rule, standard of 5 or more lots or lots of 2.5 acres or less.

12. A change would require a compliance inspection on an existing septic system to apply for a variance from any of the ordinance standards, consistent with Minnesota rules.