Special Session to Cover Parks and Rec Plan; Critical Vote Set for Lake Bloomington Docks

 The City's upcoming comprehensive parks and recreation plan will develop a 15-year road map for the department's future, including renovations to the aging O’Neil Pool. (Image credit: Breanna Grow)

The City's upcoming comprehensive parks and recreation plan will develop a 15-year road map for the department's future, including renovations to the aging O’Neil Pool. (Image credit: Breanna Grow)

Parks and Rec Department Plan

The City’s Parks and Recreation Department is in the middle of developing a 15-year plan for its facilities and programs. Council members will hear updates and discuss the plan’s progress during a special session 5:00 p.m. Monday.

Rewind: Last year the City hired GreenPlay Inc. to inventory and assess the City’s current facilities and programs, gathering public input to develop a roadmap for the department’s future.

GreenPlay Inc. also plans to conduct feasibility studies for renovations to O’Neil Park, including the aging O’Neil Pool, and a new recreation center.

Lake Bloomington Docks

The matter of 18 Lake Bloomington docks will get another City council vote after all.

Rewind: Council members voted during an April 9 special session for a resolution directing water department staff to order the removal of any docks violating City building ordinance.

A nearly identical resolution is on the agenda for Monday night’s regular 7:00 p.m. meeting, an attempt to formalize Council’s April 9 directive, according to City administration.

The Fine Print: Of the estimated 200 Lake Bloomington docks, the resolution targets the 18 docks belonging to “non-lakefront lessees”--residents who may own lakefront homes but don’t lease the City-owned property where their docks were built.

Water department staff say the distinction between non-lakefront lessees and lakefront lessees makes the 18 docks illegal, alleging it’s long been the department’s practice not to grant these residents permission to build docks on City-owned land.

Several residents believe their docks--some of which were built decades ago--should be grandfathered in under any new department policy, saying they obtained City permission, albeit informally, to build their docks.

While department staff admit the permitting process has been inconsistent over the years, the resolution sets a much-needed precedent going forward.

What’s Next: If approved, the City’s legal and water departments plan to conduct a final review of the docks before sending out compliance orders within a few weeks. Residents will then have 30 days to remove noncompliant docks, with those failing to do so receiving a violation notice and summons to appear in City administrative court.

According to a City staff report, “It should be noted fines will begin to accrue upon the issuance of the summons; however City staff, in line with comments from the City Council, is recommending any accrued fines be waived so long as the dock is removed by the Administrative Court date. At said point, the case would be dismissed subject only to the payment of court costs (i.e., $110).”

The report also notes staff will likely schedule the court appearances for August 29.