In the time of COVID-19, many Pine City property owners are staying busy improving their homes and yards – and that work is keeping Pine City officials busy processing permits.

In a memo to the Pine City Planning Commission, Pine City Safety Inspector Andy Luedtke the city has processed 28 permits as of June 15 – a number of permits that was not reached in 2019 until the month of September.

“Fences are the front runner as far as the types of permits being processed,” Leudtke said.

Leudtke said that technological improvements have offered new avenues for the permit application process. He noted that the city’s new phone system allows city hall direct dial numbers to be both voice and text capable, so photos can be sent over if clarification is needed. Similarly, if an applicant is in front of a computer, city staff can share what their computer monitors are displaying.

Leudtke said that all permits are followed-up with a site inspection upon completion to ensure compliance with city ordinances.

Permits this year include:

• 13 fence permits

• 5 accessory structure permits

• 2 variance permits, 2 minor subdivision permits, 2 sign permits, 2 site plan review permit

• 1 floodplain permit, 1 sidewalk/driveway permit

Fence issues

Leudtke said that with the number of fence permits coming into city hall there have been some difficulties due to some conflicts in the city code on fences. Specifically, residents have raised the subject of fences on corner lots

“We have been asked by applicants as to why they are only limited to a four-foot fence on what they consider their side/rear yard as it will provide no privacy,” Leudtke said. “In the case of buffer yard requirements between commercial and residential properties the city currently has two such cases in which the commercial properties are located on corner lots, therefore limited to four-foot high fences, and thus not providing any buffer to the neighboring residential property per the intent of the code.”

Planning commission meets

The Pine City Planning Commission will hold a remote meeting on Tuesday, June 30 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss fences and other city issues.  For information on how to attend online or offer input, contact Pine City at info@pinecitygov.com or 320-629-2575.

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