Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Shawn Jansen
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

County to explore mini truck ordinance


August 24, 2017

The appearance of more mini trucks and golf carts on local roads recently has sparked discussion of possible regulation of special vehicles by the Pine County Board of Commissioners at its meeting Tuesday, August 1.

County Commissioner Steven Hallan of Pine City thanked County Attorney Reese Frederickson for compiling a proposed ordinance for the board to review.

County Commissioner Matt Ludwig of Sandstone asked if golf carts can be regulated with a separate ordinance, and Frederickson said they could.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Commissioner Steve Chaffee of Hinckley, who commented he has been seeing golf courts on main roads. He expressed concern that the practice puts people at risk.

Frederickson pointed out where the board can set permit fees and duration for permits. The permitting is through the Pine County Sheriff’s Office by statute, said Frederickson.

Ludwig asked Pine County Sheriff Jeff Nelson, “What do you think of that, the mini trucks going on our roads?”

Nelson replied he did not have a lot of information on the issue and wasn’t sure how many mini trucks would actually be on the roads but could see potential conflicts. “I’m not sure we need to invite more traffic on our roads,” he said. “I have concerns.”

“It’s the education that goes with it,” said Nelson for both the public and staff.

“I don’t know how many mini trucks there are in Pine County,” said Hallan.

Mohr asked Sheriff Nelson if there was a lot of enforcement with the special vehicles.

“I see a ton of golf carts all over the place,” said Mohr. Mohr said he thought the bigger issue would be with golf carts rather than mini trucks.

Chaffee said he sees golf carts a lot in the cities and wondered if cities would have to have their own ordinances, and Nelson said yes.

Ludwig asked, “What do you think is a reasonable fee?”

Nelson said he wasn’t sure, but the county would have to come up with how to produce a sticker, so the cost would have to be considered, as well as office time.

Hallan thought it could follow the same as his side by side.

Nelson asked if they should look at other classes of vehicles. Ludwig said the state will not license mini trucks so the county is in the position to do so.

County Engineer Mark LeBrun thought it could work similarly to stickers for riding on snowmobile trails. Fees compensate for damages, said LeBrun.

There was consensus to move forward on mini trucks, so the county commissioners will be holding a public hearing in September to allow time for further researching the fee.

County facility work

Commissioner Josh Mohr of Pine City reported the facilities committee met with Pine City’s City Council on the contract to lease the Pine City Government Center. He said the discussion clarified what improvements the county would like to make to the building and what it was not willing to do, with some points negotiable.

“We’ve given them every opportunity to tell us what they want,” said Mohr. Not owning the building appears to be a sticking point for some on the Pine City council, reported Mohr.

Mohr added he was excited about discussion of possible joint meeting space that could be worked on together.

Commissioner Matt Ludwig of Sandstone pointed out the contract with Pine City goes to 2019, but the city would like to pay for some of its own improvements. Ludwig said Pine City would like a 20-year lease agreement to be a foundation for the improvements they would like to make.

Mohr reported the committee was planning to tour the St. Croix River Education District’s building in Rush City, which is similar in size to the proposed Sandstone building. Administrator David Minke informed the board the architect of the new county building in Sandstone is scheduled to come to the August 15 board meeting to learn the county’s needs for the building.

Other business

The board appointed Dirk Nelson as a representative for District 3 to the Pine County Board of Adjustment. The term ends December 31.

The board approved licenses for two new waste haulers, Talon Sanitation, LLC and Quality Disposal Systems, Inc.

Finally, the board approved resolutions for tax-forfeit land auctions.


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