Mendota Heights boaters, keep your engines turned off

  • Article by: LAURIE BLAKE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 3, 2012 - 6:03 PM

The City Council upholds ban on motors of any kind on city lakes, denying what residents considered a formality.

Motors -- even slow, quiet, electric ones -- are not welcome on Mendota Heights lakes.

The City Council refused a recent request from residents to legalize 10-horsepower electric trolling motors on Rogers Lake and reaffirmed the prohibition against motors of any kind on all city lakes.

"We were a little disappointed with the outcome primarily because we thought it was a reasonable proposal," said Tim Carlson, president of the Rogers Lake Property Owners Association.

Some other cities in Dakota County allow motors. Burnsville allows gas and electric motors on 89-acre Alimagnet Lake. Eagan allows electric motors on 47-acre Blackhawk Lake, 31-acre Fish Lake and 38-acre Holland Lake. Apple Valley allows gas and electric motors on 67-acre Farquar Lake and 39-acre Long Lake.

On the other hand, Rosemount and Inver Grove Heights allow no motors on city lakes.

The 70-acre Rogers Lake has sunfish, largemouth bass, channel catfish and the occasional crappie or northern. Some anglers regularly troll using electric motors now.

Lake property owners are not among those using motors because they do not want to violate the ordinance, Carlson said.

To have the option to use motors themselves, he said, association members asked to make what is already a regular occurrence legal. "We thought it would be more or less a formality."

But the council unanimously rejected the request at a July meeting.

Mayor Sandra Krebsbach said the city would not be ready to enforce proper use of motors because the Police Department does not have a boat and officers haven't had training.

Council Member Jack Vitelli said Rogers Lake is not big enough for electric motors and fisherman can move around easily now in small, quiet boats.

Approving motors on Rogers would open the door to requests for motors on August and Lemay lakes and risk undermining the purity of the lake by stirring up the bottom, Vitelli said. "It's not worth all the complications.

"I am not anxious to reconsider it either," Vitelli said. "We should leave the ordinance where it is -- we just don't have electric motors on any lakes in Mendota Heights, that is my feeling."

Rogers Lake does not have a boat ramp, but it's easy to carry a boat into the water at the fishing pier, Carlson said. There are no signs posted at the lake saying no motors are allowed, he said.

Council Member Liz Petschel said she would be concerned about damage to new pavement in the park from people creating an ad-hoc boat ramp if motors were legalized. People bringing in boats might also bring in invasive species and the city would have no capacity to inspect boats to be sure they were clean, she said.

Carlson said the association has not yet discussed whether to pursue the matter again next year.

Laurie Blake • 952-746-3287

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