Lake Elmo kills erosion study

After contentious council discussions and public comment, the Lake Elmo City Council unanimously voted Jan. 3 to cancel a no-boat-wake erosion study on the city’s four major lakes.

Council members Julie Fliflet and Jill Lundgren — both members of the city’s environmental committee — brought forward a recommendation Dec. 6 that the city hire a firm to study the erosion on shorelines. The city currently has an ordinance in place that restricts the use of boats that cause wakes during high-water levels, and the city has seen many years of contentious debate among lakefront property owners regarding the ordinance.

At that time, the council voted 3-2 — with Mayor Mike Pearson and Councilmember Justin Bloyer dissenting — to allocate $25,000 to a study of the shoreline erosion on lakes Olson, Demontreville, Jane and Elmo. An additional $5,000 could be spent if needed.

According to meeting materials, city staff contacted Bolton and Menk, the firm that was selected to complete the study, for a cost estimate for additional services that the council expressed interest in during the Dec. 6 council meeting. These additional services included public eduction and field data collection. The cost of the project including the additional services is $41,500.

“Since that was higher than the $30,000 authorized by the council at that meeting, I am bringing it back for further direction,” said City Administrator Kristina Handt.

The restriction of boat use on the city’s lakes is a contentious issue among residents and brings many public comments to meetings. Pearson opened the meeting for public comment and the council received about 30 minutes of comments.

“I am truly sick of all of the animosity and all of this going on,” Lundgren said.

Lundgren made a motion to direct staff to stop work on the study and not enter into a contract with a firm doing the study.

With no discussion, the council quickly voted unanimously to direct staff not to pursue any contracts for the study of slow no wake erosion assessments on the city’s four major lakes.

Contact Alicia Lebens at [email protected]