At the request of the Otter Tail County (OTC) Board of Commissioners OTC COLA conducted a survey of OTC lake and river property owners on the Shoreland and Septic Ordinances. The survey consisted of multiple choice questions and opportunity to give extensive comments. Over one thousand responses were received and compiled.
Otter Tail County Coalition of Lake Associations (OTC COLA) has had a long and intimate relationship with Otter Tail County and its Board of Commissioners. OTC COLA was incorporated March 27, 2001. Since that time Otter Tail County and OTC COLA has partnered on numerous projects involving Otter Tail County Lake Associations and property owners. OTC COLA continues to work closely with the County on various projects and notifications. OTC COLA’s relationship with Lake Associations and OTC lake property owners has contributed to the alignment and coordination with Otter Tail County on issues and projects.
During a presentation to the Otter Tail County (OTC) Commissioners on July 16, 2019 by Sylvia Soeth, OTC COLA President, and Patrick Prunty, OTC COLA Director, the Commissioners made a request of COLA to conduct a survey of Otter Tail County lake and river property owners. The purpose of the survey was to collect opinions and comments on the Shoreland and Septic Ordinances.
With the input from the Commissioners OTC COLA created the questions for the survey along with the components of the system.
The mechanics of the system included post cards to be sent to OTC lake and river property owners. The mailing address data was sourced from the OTC GIS Department and filtered for targeting lake and river property owners. The design of the post cards was created containing instructions to electronically go to the OTC COLA (www.otccola.org) website to link directly to an online survey. The 15,530 piece mailing was done on October 21, 2019. 1,057 responses were electronically compiled, tabulated and reported to the OTC Commissioners in a slide show presentation on February 25, 2020.
The survey included four multiple choice questions and five opportunities to give comments. The Shoreland Ordinance multiple choice questions allowed for three choices as well as the opportunity to give comments on each question. A fifth question invited any additional comments on the Shoreland and Septic Ordinances.
Do you think the current Shoreland Ordinance is:
|Not Restrictive Enough||89||8.6%|
There were 1,036 responses to this question. 458 or 44.2% of the responses indicated that the Shoreland Ordinance was About Right in regard to restrictions imposed by the Ordinance. 89 or 8.6% indicated that the Ordinance was Not Restrictive Enough. 489 or 47.2% indicated that the Ordinance was Too Restrictive. The responses indicate a close balance between those who thought the Ordinance was About Right and those who thought the Ordinance was Too Restrictive.
Along with responses to this multiple choice question 559 comments were given. 247 or 44.2% were General in nature. 104 or 18.6% related No Concerns on the Shoreland Ordinance. Notably, 30 or 5.4% of the comments said that the Ordinance was About Right…..Except. The message was that the choice of About Right should be qualified by additional comments. 53 or 9.5% of the comments related that the Ordinance Is Inequitably Enforced. These respondents felt that wealth or relationships skewed the judgement of Ordinance application.
Do you think setbacks are:
Setback definition: The minimum horizontal distance between a structure, sewage treatment system or other facility and an Ordinary High Water Level (OHWL), top of a bluff, lotline and road right-of-ways.
There were 1,024 responses to this question. 597 or 58.3% of the responses indicated that the Setbacks were About Right. 47 or 4.6% indicated that Setbacks were Too Little. 380 or 37.1% said the Setbackswere Too Much. 21.2% more respondents indicated that the Setbacks were About Right than those that said Setbacks were Too Much.
Along with responses to this multiple choice question 459 comments were noted. 196 or 42.7% indicated No Concerns with Setbacks. 188 or 41.0% indicated that setbacks are in Need of Review.
Do you think variances or conditional use permits are granted:
There were 969 responses to this question. 467 or 48.2% of the responses indicated that the variances or conditional use permits are granted About Right. 195 or 20.1% indicated that variances or conditional use permits are granted Too Frequently. 307 or 31.7% said the variances or conditional use permits are granted Too Infrequently.
Along with responses to this multiple choice question 497 comments were noted. 99 or 19.9% indicated variances or permits Are Not Equitably Granted. These respondents felt that wealth or relationships skewed the judgement of Ordinance application. 113 or 22.7% indicated No Concerns regarding the granting of variances or conditional use permits.179 or 36.0% indicated the granting of variance or conditional use permits Needs Review.
View on Septic System Ordinance
|Not Restrictive Enough||92||9.0%|
There were 1,017 responses to this question. 642 or 63.1% of the responses indicated that the View on the Septic System Ordinance was About Right. 92 or 9.0% indicated the Septic System Ordinance is Not Restrictive Enough. 283 or 27.8% said the Septic System Ordinance is Too Restrictive. 35.3% more respondents indicated that the Septic System Ordinance was About Right rather than Too Restrictive.
Along with responses to this multiple choice question 465 comments were noted. 169 or 36.3% indicated No Concerns on the Septic System Ordinance. 244 or 52.5% indicated the Septic System Ordinance Needs Review.
Other Comments on Shoreland and Septic Ordinances
There were 440 Other Comments. 64 or 14.5% said that the Ordinances were being administered Fairly or that there were Concerns About The Fairness In Ordinance Administration. 251 or 57.0% had General Comments. 18 or 4.1% commented that as property owners they resented the Ordinances Imposing On Their Rights to do what they want to do on properties they own. 34 or 7.7% indicated that the Ordinances are in Need Of Review. 73 or 16.6% had other comments not categorized.