The Carver County Board of Commissioners met Oct. 19 to discuss a few community items. Among those were plans to conduct a public hearing regarding a temporary wake ordinance becoming permanent, as well as a discussion of FirstNet, a wireless communication provider.

The High Water No Wake Ordinance was established in 2014 and again in 2019 in response to heavy rainfall. Due to higher than normal water levels, the county installed the temporary measure on Lake Waconia, Lake Bavaria, and Reitz Lake to stop high wakes from buffeting the shore line and causing damage to the lakefront and properties.

Paul Moline, Planning and Water Management Director, presented the item to the commissioners. The permanent ordinance is still in the drafting phase, but the recommendation is for ratifying so is dated back to 2019, to avoid having to avoid instituting an ordinance whenever water levels rise - which is a fairly common occurence on the lakes in question.

With the permanent ordinance, this would no longer be an issue, and it would have the same effect as the temporary ones, though this time also expanding to Pierson Lake. For Lake Waconia, it would have a two-stage zone because of its size, with a separation between the whole lake within a specified distance of the shoreline. The ordinance would only be triggered by high water elevations, so while permanent, it wouldn’t be used constantly. The PWM would be the ones determining when the ordinance needs to be enforced, and the sheriffs would ensure that the rules are followed.

Not all lakes are included in the ordinance. Victoria and Chanhassen, for example, have city ordinances already in place, and other any lakes that haven’t needed the temporary ordinance or had the city or township interested in one aren’t part of this. Lakes that don’t have water craft use don’t need this kind of ordinance, either.

The proposed process for this draft is fairly simple. The first step is to notify the community about the upcoming public hearing. Once the hearing takes place and the draft has a few edits, it will be sent off to the DNR for review. After the draft review, a final ordinance would be submitted, with the hope of everything being complete by spring of 2022.

With all that said, the draft for the high water ordinance was motioned to a vote and approved unanimously.

Next on the agenda was a discussion about FirstNet, with County Information Technologies CIO Peter Henschel. After the county IT department determined that moving from Verizon to another provider was beneficial, officials selected FirstNet as their recommended provider. FirstNet is designed for public safety use by the government, and the sheriff’s office has already transitioned to it, so it’s a familiar provider already.

The reason that this is beneficial is because it was established as a safety line. For example, if a cell phone tower gets knocked down by a tornado - because FirstNet is designed with those kinds of emergencies in mind, the system is able to still connect with other devices, allowing law enforcement, county employees, and emergency responders to continue to communicate.

The employees for Carver County will also receive upgrades to their current equipment, including antennas in the court rooms in order to help receive signals there; and in the judicial offices nearby. All of this would be done by FirstNet itself, including the transfer from Verizon.

After thanking Henschel for his time, the commissioners made a motion to approve the transfer from Verizon to FirstNet, which was approved unanimously.

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