Boaters, start your engines.
The Mendota Heights City Council has approved an ordinance to allow boats on Rogers Lake for a one-year trial.
The council last year unanimously rejected a similar proposal, citing public safety, noise and environmental concerns.
“About a year from now, we’ll look back upon it and see if it’s something we want to do permanently or if we want to make changes,” said Jake Sedlacek, assistant to the city administrator.
Members of the Rogers Lake Property Owners Association brought their first request to the city in the fall of 2012. The final approval allows for only small, quiet motors on the lake.
Boats must be 14 feet or less in length, and motor strength must be 48 pounds of thrust (equivalent to five horsepower) or less. All boats must be operated at “slow, no wake” speed, and motor boaters are limited to the hours between sunrise and sunset.
The trial period runs through May 31, 2014, to allow for an evaluation of next year’s fishing opener on the lake.
The approval came at a City Council meeting with a large turnout of residents showing support for the ordinance.
“When the council rejected our proposal last year, it disappointed the vast majority of our contingent,” Tim Carlson, president of the Rogers Lake Property Owners Assocation, said. The council asked the association to go back to the drawing board.
“We did that and we came up with a solution that we feel is safe, reasonable, enforceable and will promote healthy recreational use of the only lake designated for recreation in the city of Mendota Heights,” Carlson said.
Council members cite the limitations, including smaller boats, motors and restricted hours added to the ordinance as the reason for their change.
Council Member Liz Petschel says the trial gives the city enough time to evaluate water quality on the lake, public safety and noise.
The parking lot will also have “good signage” so that people are very clear of what can and cannot go in the lake.
“I think the key part of the trial is going to be if there appears to be any residents’ annoyance with it,” Petschel said. “If the residents seem happy that the boats are using the lake in an appropriate way and are not bothering any of the residents, then that, to me, will be a successful trial.”