Kovash Marine, EZ Load and Dock to construct businesses

By Jenna Esala


The first regularly scheduled Ottertail City Council meeting of 2023 opened up with two public hearings, both to review Conditional Use Permits (CUPs) applied for by businesses hoping to build on lots on Pottery Drive. The businesses that applied were Kovash Marine and  EZ Load Dock & Lift. 

City Clerk Amanda Thorson noted that feedback she personally received from a few community members expressed that they were glad to see the land was going to be put to use, showing favor for these additions to the community. 

Present at the meeting were both sets of homeowners who have property on Pottery Drive. They expressed concern about traffic flow and what the maintenance plan for the road would be with the extra traffic. Thorson noted that this is something they can and will look into in the future, a notion that was seconded by Maintenance Coordinator Justin Loshe who added that he will check in on the road and provide upkeep as needed. 

The Pottery Drive residents were informed by Patrick Kovash of Kovash Marine that the traffic flow at his property will be conducive for the best possible outcome and that security systems would be put in place as well. 

John Drewes of EZ Load Dock & Lift was also in attendance and expressed similar plans. Both business owners noted that they anticipate their clientele to be respectful and courteous and that the businesses want to maintain a well-kept appearance.

Thorson explained that one condition of both permits would be that the applicants combine their respective lots so that they become in compliance with the Shoreland Ordinance, which requires a standard lot requirement of 40,000 square feet. The council approved both CUPs with the staff recommendations for conditions, which also included applying appropriately for signage and Land Use Permits as well as keeping the property in an organized manner and upkeep of general property maintenance. Another condition for both CUPs was that they will be followed-up in two years for potential impacts to the residential area or prior to any new improvements to the property.

Also at the January meeting, the council reviewed and discussed the planned improvements to Maple Avenue and the alleyway north of the Community Center. 

Bob Schlieman of Apex Engineering was present to provide updates regarding these improvements. He began by requesting that a motion be approved to order the preparation of improvements for these streets, which the council passed unanimously.

Schlieman also presented two options for the water drainage solutions for the alley: using catch basins or using sheet flow. No decision was made, but both Schlieman and the council expressed favor for the sheet flow method. The council also discussed upping the quality of the avenue surface to account for the larger size vehicle traffic that it sees. 

Additionally, the council took time to review and discuss the various options to go about assessing the cost of this project. Schlieman presented and explained four different options the council could proceed with and the option of bonding for this project was also discussed, with no decisions being made until the public hearing. A public hearing is planned for February, at the regular monthly meeting, in order to move forward with the project and remain on schedule. 

In other news

• Heard the report from the fire department as chief Joe Ahlfs informed the council that as of the date of the meeting, there had been 13 calls in January, including nine medical. When asked by the council what the department needs, Ahlfs said they have a need for people to join the department. This led to talk of an open house to showcase what the department does and how busy they truly are, with plans for such an event to be held in the future. 

• The council approved a motion to approve the hiring of Scott Saehr from Saehr Consulting for the city’s planning and zoning consultant.

• A review of all of the 2023 committees and designations was held, with the appointments being passed by the council.